Happy 2017, y’all! It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me as I’ve been wrapping up end of year planning for some clients and helming a huge media push for KC & Co’s newest client, real estate experts turned soon-to-be HGTV stars. It’s been a lot of fun… but I am tired. Post holiday fatigue paired with the bustling excitement of a new year and new opportunities has me wishing I could escape to someone’s island for a long week.
But it got me thinking about something people often overlook in the entrepreneurial journey. Back in 2015, I came across the idea of self care and it changed my entire existence. For those of you who aren’t aware, self care refers to the very active choice to engage in the activities that are required to gain or maintain an optimal level of overall health (emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual, etc). Becoming intentional about self care plays a really big part into maintaining a positive work-life balance.
Actress Kimberly Elise wrote about the importance of women integrating self care into every aspect of their lives. She writes, “If you’ve ever traveled by airplane, you’ve likely heard the flight attendants state, “Remember to put your oxygen mask on before attempting to help others,” during their speech on safety procedures. I believe this little axiom has always served as an important metaphor for womanhood…I often experience a twinge of guilt and feel a bit selfish when putting my needs before the needs of others.” She goes on to explain that practicing self care allows women to be a better friend, daughter, girlfriend and coworker to those you care for.
As both a woman and an entrepreneur, I found myself pouring time and energy into everything and everyone but myself. The result was that I became drained and less passionate. Thus, taking time to recharge has become incredibly crucial. Over the past year or so, I’ve started to implement a few practices that help keep me zen. A colleague of mine, Jenelle Coy from Coy+ says that she takes a daily morning stroll to clear her mind. Additionally, she doesn’t bring laptops or work into her bedroom.
Before I get into my list of self care suggestions, I should note a few things:
- The self care movement is not limited to people from a certain socioeconomic background. While some people won’t necessarily be able to replicate the items I list out below due to budgetary concerns, self care looks different for everyone. Find what takes you to your happy place
- Self care is more than just doing nice things for yourself. Beyond finding ways to relax and taking care of yourself physically, it’s important to take care of yourself mentally. According to INC, “A study from last year by Dr. Michael Freeman at the University of California San Francisco found that 49% of entrepreneurs say they have struggled with some form of mental illness in the past. 32% say they have a lifetime illness.” Personally, I deal with generalized anxiety – so my self care routine helps me find ways to stay calm throughout the chaos (including going to my therapist or pinging my support system when things get too crazy).
Make sense? Good.
So, without further ado, here are nine ways I practice self care.
- Making sure my house is clean at all times, even if I have to call on a cleaning service.
- Cooking meals for myself at least three times per week. If I can’t find the time to pull together a nutritious meal from scratch, I’ll use Galley Foods.
- Scheduling mandatory nightly bath time, complete with a bowl of Talenti’s mango sorbet, ice water, some wine, candles and a good book.
- Setting healthy boundaries with clients. Unless there is an emergency or pre-planned activities, I don’t answer client calls after 8pm at night.
- Trying to go to bed before midnight and wake up by 7am.
- Planning a good breakfast. My go-to is scrambled tofu, an english muffin and some greek yogurt.
- Practicing mindfulness. Whenever I’m particularly stressed out, 5-15 minutes of meditation really helps.
- Spending an hour each morning just catching up on news – no email and no social media. Still working on this part.
- Planning a long weekend getaway and unplugging for 1-2 days
What are some ways you practice self care? Tweet me with your thoughts and suggestions – @prgirlindc.