When we go into business for ourselves one of the primary goals is to create freedom; financially and personally. So how are you doing so far?

The quest for freedom is certainly an uphill battle at times. Small business owners sacrifice more time and energy in exchange for flexibility and the opportunity to make their own choices on their own terms. And life balance, what’s that?

Yet, just as we give of ourselves to those we love, we continue to invest wholeheartedly in our dreams. This investment can take a toll, however; especially when we add the stress of the holidays to an already demanding schedule. And when entrepreneurs forget that it takes a healthy body, mind and spirit to bring their dreams to fruition, they often fail – or pay a very high price.

So begin this holiday season with a gift to yourself: a commitment to yourself to indulge in a few small, yet manageable, rest and relaxation practices. Not only will these R&R tips help you to feel a step closer to the freedom that you are working hard to achieve but they will actually make you a more effective and productive entrepreneur and help you to enjoy life that much more!

Take naps.I know, I know. Who has the time? I once interviewed ten highly successful business women to see what they all had in common and I wasn’t surprised when most of them confessed to a ten to fifteen minute afternoon nap on a daily basis!  It clears the mind, helps to minimize challenges by allowing a fresh perspective, and physically energizes the body. A great habit to pick up on going into the New Year.

Bonus: Not only will you feel better after a quick nap, you will look more relaxed and in control; a sign of a true leader.

Take the time to look good.People often make the mistake of believing that it’s only what’s on the inside matters. Wrong! Human beings are highly visual creatures by nature; like it or not, people respond to your physical appearance.  If you want to be successful you must look and feel the part. Take a little time to get a new look at the hair salon. Do your nails for the holidays, and toss out those old “mom” jeans!

Bonus:  When you feel successful your confidence and productivity levels will rise. The few extra minutes that you spend on yourself in the morning will easily find their way back to you later in the day.

Eat breakfast.An interesting fact about metabolism: If you don’t eat a bit of protein shortly after you wake up in the morning your body will begin to store fat. This makes you sluggish and can add to your waistline. Guess how bears gear up to hibernate; they stop eating breakfast! Try a few bites of protein (animal protein is the best) within 30 minutes of opening your eyes every morning and add energy to your day.

Bonus:  A touch of protein will make weight loss easier if you want to keep those holiday pounds off!

Take a few extra steps.Business owners are notorious for rushing everything, even things that are supposed to be fun! Purchasing holiday gifts is meant to be a meaningful experience and if you’re going to take the time away from work you may as well slow down and enjoy it!  Give your shopping excursion some extra oomph by adding a little workout routine instead of taking short cuts. Try walking across the long parking lots instead of moving your car from store to store. Also, take a stroll around the entire department store instead of the shortest path to your destination.

Bonus:  Some of the most interesting gifts are found where you least expect them. You may find a little store that you didn’t even know exists or the most fabulous present for your husband in the ladies department!

Forego the shower for a lovely bath.There is something about relaxing in or around water that brings out the most creative side of us. Instead of rushing through your morning shower, lock the doors, add your favorite essential oil and soak in the tub for twenty minutes. Allow your mind to effortlessly wander; you may be surprised at the ideas that pop up!

Bonus: Beginning your day with a bit of relaxation will change your state of mind from the intense,
problem-solving mode to the creative, allowing mode. The creative brain actually excels at resolving challenges with far less stress so don’t think you are slacking off when you calm your mind! 

Marla Tabaka is an entrepreneurial coach who inspires entrepreneurs around the world to attain what she calls, The Million-Dollar Mindset. As a result, many of her clients have achieved – even surpassed – the million dollar mark in annual revenues and are living the life of their dreams. In addition to running a thriving practice, Marla is a columnist for Inc. Magazine on-line, and hosts two international on-line radio shows, The Million Dollar Mindset and Million Dollar Mindset Tapping. Marla wrote this feature article exclusively for Debbie (, an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed. If you would like to consult with Marla to learn how she can help you grow your business and better your life, contact her at