Self-care by definition is one of those things that people love to talk about but have a hard time defining or actually putting into practice. We've seen countless memes and quote posts that declare "Self Care is Important!" "You Can't Pour from an empty cup!" and so on, but rarely do we hear of tangible acts of self-care that are consistently put into practice as a part of someone's lifestyle. I dare think it's because we don't think self-care should be a part of our everyday lifestyle.
We treat self-care like a treat or something we have to earn instead of a natural part of our everyday life. I know I was one of those people. I'd ration out self-care like it was a prize for going through the ebbs and flows of life instead of making it part of my ebb and flow. I'd often say things like:
"Ooo I had a rough week, I'm gonna plan a self- care day" or "Ooo I've accomplished this big thing, I should have a self-care day!"
The conscious effort to "reward" myself with self-care often came as a result of digging myself into a work hole and needing a savior; something, anything – to release the tension of my responsibility. Self-care was a quick fix, a bandage over the bondage of my workload.
I'd functioned like this for 5 strong years while working from home until I got my office space. The added responsibility of taking care of a physical location, adding 4 new businesses to my daily operation and actually having to put on pants everyday was a shit ton. There is no other way to describe the enormity of the shift of responsibility. All of a sudden, the quick-fix, bandaid version of self-care I'd been trying wasn't working. I was always burnt out and feeling overworked. I knew something had to change.
The first thing that I had to do was put myself on a solid schedule. Oftentimes the freedom and lack of time constraint is seen as an upside to entrepreneurship, but I've found that to be the exact opposite- at least for me. I need structure. Boundaries. Systems. I need less things to have to think about and more things to have to just do and accomplish. When you work a job your responsibilities are outlined for you, but as an entrepreneur you have to take the time to outline your structure yourself. I can go on for days about creating structure in entrepreneurship but the point of it all is I actually gave myself work hours!
Once my work hours were established, I was able to separate my work and home environments completely for the first time in half a decade. This was a new, HUGE thing. Work being done only at work? Gasp! Then what do I do at home? Not work, that's for sure.
I've never been a morning person as most creatives aren't, so out of my own flexible boss-babe merit I set my business hours from 1-8PM Tuesday-Fridays. I use Mondays as a full personal day to plan for the week and take care of any personal responsibilities like phone calls, grocery shopping, meal prepping and errands. Having a day during my work week where I am able to get completely clear on my objectives for the week has literally made me a more productive person, a better boss to my staff and has improved the overall efficiency of my business operation.
Now to my coveted mornings- remember how I just said I've never been a morning person? Part of the reasoning behind that is because I'd work late into the evening and I would literally sleep through the morning and start my day a little before noon. Now that I have separated work and home, I am able to go to sleep a lot earlier which makes me wake up earlier. Each morning I wake up around 8:30AM and I listen to a 20 minute devotional on my phone. This sets my spiritual tone for the day and feeds my spirit before I even get out of bed.
Once that's over. I alternate going to the gym or taking a long bubble bath. Yes, I take a long bath every other morning like clockwork. I typically read a chapter from whatever book I am reading at the time while bathing to further feed my spirit. If I go to the gym, I take a shower before work and be sure to take my bubble bath in the evening but either way, I allow myself time to soak, relax and recharge every single day. I also make myself breakfast or enjoy my mealprepped breakfast and eat it on my balcony while enjoying the morning sun.
Waking up to to my own self-love routine has reduced my anxiety to non-existent. I'm no longer running behind the gun, rushing or in a haste- my mood is better and I walk into my office everyday feeling pretty, relaxed and stress free. It took a long time to figure out how to get to this point but self care, especially in the mornings, is the best thing that has happened to my work week!
I'd love to hear from you! How do you practice self-care? How often do you usually fit it in? Drop a comment below and let me know what's up!!