5 self care rituals to thrive as a solopreneur. Boston photographer Joy LeDuc.

It’s so easy for your days to lose shape when you first begin working for yourself. They can too easily become filled with things that require a lot of energy but aren’t actually moving you forward.

And as a solopreneur wearing many hats, continuing to operate in reaction to things rather than thoughtfully creating a plan for the way ahead will quickly lead to burnout.

Then you’ll begin looking for a job, thinking it has to be better than working 24/7.

And the cycle begins again.

I know this cycle because I’ve been through it over and over, myself. However, after leaving a creative and well-paid corporate job the last time, I knew that I had to make some changes in order for my photography business to thrive for the long haul.

It involved taking care of my own needs as a human first, in order to show up for my business with more energy. In doing so, I’ve been able to surpass my old salary, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve been able to find greater meaning in my work by connecting with my “why” on a daily basis.

Get all those thoughts out first thing in the morning

When you work alone, all of your tasks, plans, ideas, and worries can get jumbled into a big knot in your brain, making it difficult to understand your next move.

Rather than diving into your email, getting distracted by someone else’s priorities, and looking up to find that it’s 4pm and you haven’t done a single useful thing yet, take the time to dump everything that’s on your mind onto the pages of a journal.

As you do, you’ll find that you have answers to many of your own questions. You may see the other side of a sticky situation more clearly. The things that will really help you to move the needle will separate themselves from the busy work.

See friends even when your to-do list is calling

It’s all to easy to get caught up in your own world as a solopreneur, so venturing out to see friends is one of the healthiest things you can do for your business. Even if you aren’t talking about your work, being around other inspiring people will give you valuable perspective, which will likely influence both big and small decisions that you make down the road.

As the owner of a local business, my connections within the community are one of the primary reasons that I was able to smoothly transition from a corporate job to becoming a full-time photographer.

It all comes down to the giving and receiving of energy. Even as an introvert, I receive so much energy from spending one-on-one time with people who are as excited as I am about cultivating heart-centered businesses focused on a rising tide that lifts all boats.

Commit to powering down

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had nightmares about your work!

Let’s face it: there’s so much to do when you’re a solopreneur that it’s easy to work right up until bedtime.

Allow your brain to transition into rest mode by putting your screens away at least an hour before bedtime. Rather than mindlessly scrolling or manically responding to one last email, take your time easing into the transition.

Some things you can do instead of gazing at your rectangle: that multi-step skincare routine that always seemed overly-involved (until now!), gratitude journaling, meditation, reading, or taking a warm bath.

Schedule in restorative time

When you love what you do, it can be hard to stop working. Hold yourself accountable by scheduling the things that you love into your calendar.

You’re no longer beholden to the 9-to-5 life, so give some thought to how you work best and then prioritize the things that give you energy.

Yes, this may actually mean putting things like journaling, yoga, and date nights into your calendar. It also means scheduling massages, hair appointments, and getaways ahead of time so that the hours don’t get eaten up by work.

By investing in your energy, you’ll show up in your business stronger and more focused than before.

Celebrate your wins

As a solopreneur, wins can seem like blips on the radar because you may be the only one who’s really excited about them. But that’s exactly why you need to celebrate each and every one.

You made something happen and each win, big or small, was once just an idea or a dream on the horizon that you’ve since ushered into reality! Savor the moment. As your own boss, you need to show your best employee (that’s you!) that they’re appreciated and valued, and that you expect more good things down the road.