13 Ways to Slow Down and Prioritize Self-Care (Even as a Busy Entrepreneur)

Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.

For better or worse, “hustle culture” has become popular among the entrepreneurial community. It’s sometimes viewed as a badge of honor to be constantly busy and “hustling” to grow your business. However, when you don’t take time away from work, you run the risk of inducing health- and emotional-related issues that could set you back.

That’s why it’s important to take time for self-care, especially if you’re always on the go or constantly feel the need to be productive. To help you find balance, 13 members of Rolling Stone Culture Council give their best tips for busy leaders who may have to “force” themselves to step away from their jobs.

Exercise First Thing in the Morning

I make sure that I get my 13-mile bike ride in by investing in myself first thing during the top of the day. This allows me to get my energy right for the day and allows me to respond to the pressures I encounter appropriately throughout the day. It helps me manage my multifaceted schedule. – Keith Stephenson, Purple Heart

Rely on Someone Close to You

Practicing self-care is very hard at times, especially in the last year plus. Having a strong, supportive partner is what works for me. Anyone close enough to you to remind you to take time will help. Committing to taking time, making it part of the weekly routine and really enjoying whatever it is can make a difference, balancing things out. – Scott Brennan, Fifth Quarter Charcuterie

Schedule Time Off in Your Calendar

Making time for self-care when you are busy is very difficult, so my strategy is to schedule time off in my calendar as if it were a business meeting and before I schedule anything else. During that time, I turn my phone off. I also schedule a massage every week, which is difficult to cancel without having to pay for the cancellation. – Marietta Ulacia, Afro Latin Jazz Alliance

Wake Up Earlier

Get up earlier. If you wake up before the world has a call on your time, you can use it for yourself. Clear your head. You also have extra hours for exercise, eating a good breakfast, etc. Early to bed, as the saying goes. – Michael Polk, Billboardology.com

Take a Phone-Free Walk

As a person who runs two different tech companies, it’s not always easy to disconnect. I have found that if I go for a walk, typically with my dog, once a day and commit to putting my phone away for the entire walk, it becomes a reward instead of a challenge. This is important because the walk takes place outdoors, and connecting to nature, even in small doses, is crucial for our health. – Julie McQueen, CarbonTV

Keep Electronics Out of the Bedroom

The best ideas come during your time off. You are forced to “see the forest through the trees,” meaning the big picture. Whether you are working on your business or in your business, it is difficult to be creative. One way I have forced myself to unwind is to never bring a TV, computer or phone into the bedroom. This forces me to unwind each night and to separate work time from my time. – Matt Campbell, My Wedding Songs

Create Nonnegotiable Routines Throughout Your Day

Create nonnegotiable, daily self-care routines that you stick to just as firmly as work engagements. With the growing work-from-home flexibility becoming a standard, find ways to integrate self-care methods throughout your day to break up your workflows, such as a midday meditation or a quick home workout before or after your lunch break. It will help keep your day feeling interesting and varied. – Carlos Aybar, Mishu Music

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Look at Your Personal Goals

Self-care should not be forced. If you’re forcing yourself to take care, you have to look at why you’re doing what you do. If your goals are ego-based, you can work yourself to the ground and still feel empty because the external world isn’t filling your internal void. It never will. If your goals are soul-based, self-care becomes a key ingredient of your goals — no forcing necessary. – Shirin Etessam, OML

Get Out of the House Before You Start Working

Unfortunately, it’s too easy to start your workday the second you get up. We check our phones and respond to emails immediately. If I don’t force myself to get out of the house in the morning, then I never will. So, I walk my kids to school (we live six blocks from their school) and then continue with a three-mile walk. It saves my sanity, provides a nice workout and a healthy dose of vitamin D. – Jacquelynn Powers Maurice, JDP Rocks

Plan a Family Outing

Everyone is feeling added pressure to keep it together while working from home because we’re hustling 24/7. That full-on commitment makes it hard to find time for relationships, family and friends. Get out of the house and plan something, even if it’s an evening family walk or a picnic. Accept that you’re not superhuman — and that’s OK. – Lynn Rosenthal, Periscape

Make Self-Care Social

I find a self-care activity that I enjoy and look forward to. I then try to make it social if I can. For example, there are so many ways to exercise that are fun and that you can do with a friend who has similar goals. Although it’s so easy to cancel exercise plans for work, I just remind myself that without my health, none of this success matters. – Ash Avildsen, Sumerian Records

Follow a Morning Routine

My morning routine is sacred self-care time. Hydration, movement and sweat, meditation, sunshine, in that order, are the first priorities of each day. If for some reason I miss any of that, I find 15 to 20 minutes at some point in the day to go sit in silence to let my brain detach. It’s critical hygiene. – Ryan Tomlinson, Language Media

Enjoy the Outdoors

Taking the time to disconnect and get outside has been crucial for me this year. I’m a mom to two girls, and life gets hectic sometimes. In a perfect world, prioritizing a daily walk while I listen to my podcasts is the perfect way to relax and recharge. I’ve realized that it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. – Karina Michel Feld, Tallulah Films

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