What Self-Care Looks Like When I’m Busy.
Self care is & has been something I consider to be crucial to my productivity, creativity & ability to be my best for my friends, family & business.
But, as a solopreneur, certain seasons of my business’ cycle require more from me… which ultimately leads to me giving less in my personal life, & my commitment to self-care tends to look a bit different as well.
We’re all busy, right? That’s no excuse to slack on our commitments to taking ridiculously good care of ourselves, like we need & deserve. Taking proper care of myself allows me to bring my best to the table in all areas of my life. So, for all you busy boss babes reading this, here is what self-care looks like for me when I’m at my busiest:
But first, this piece of advice:
Don’t let self-care become a burden.
I have found that sometimes, the best form of care I can give myself is being compassionate, giving myself permission to do absolutely nothing at all. I realized this recently, after go-go-going… until my body literally crashed & couldn’t take anymore. The day after Christmas I woke up more sick than I have ever been in my life. Fever, body aches, the works. I had no choice but to take a few days off of everything. I slept & slept for 8 days straight. While my body rested, my mind did too, & I realized I was overdoing it in all areas of my life. Even the areas I thought fell under the umbrella of self-care. Heading into this new year & new decade, I promised myself this: I will scale back completely. I am cutting back on work. I am spending more time at home & less time saying yes to things that don’t resonate with who I am aspiring to be & how to become her. Most importantly, I told my husband how I was feeling. Being able to talk about how I was feeling with someone who wanted to support me mattered so much more than another meeting held over happy hour or trying to fit one more social event on the calendar.
Another tid-bit worth noting:
Skip the beauty treatments, if you wish.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good beauty product. Facials, manicures, & other beauty treatments seem to be the main form of self-care that people talk about. It’s totally fine if you find your zen in a salon chair, but I found myself counting my manicures as “self-care,” when in actuality, I dread being unavailable for 2 hours in that way. In many ways, it can feel like popular forms of self-care promote trying to make yourself look better. When I’m feeling really run-down, I’m lucky if I can muster the energy it takes to get out of bed to brush my teeth & wash my face. On my best busiest days, I’m happy if I can just close my eyes for a minute & try to clear my mind. Aka: NAP.
What makes you feel more pulled together? It may be purging your closet & taking the cast-outs to Goodwill. It could be scrubbing your house from top to bottom. Maybe you need to watch Sex & the City for five straight hours & not think about anything but whether you’re Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda or Samantha. Whatever helps you clear your mind will probably be more beneficial than having clear pores from that sheet mask or perfectly manicured fingers.
Self-care doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive.
Let’s try something… sit down & examine what you’ve been taught is “relaxing.” What one person considers to be soul-soothing self-care might now be what serves you. Make this a weekly habit: every Sunday evening, look at your upcoming week’s schedule & try to identify what is going to stress you out ahead of time. What do you need & crave to feel healthy, happy, & balanced? If a “traditional self-care activity” doesn’t appeal to you, don’t force it into your schedule.
Self-care efforts can be smaller than you think. If you feel your best when eating clean, but hate the thought of meal prepping for hours to get ready for your week, spend that time stocking your fridge & pantry with fruits & vegetables that are easy to grab & go, that require no prep time. Does getting lost in another reality sound like an enjoyable break from what you have going on right now? Head to the library for a few hours & stock up your cart with some good reads for free. Girls Night Out feel like chicken soup for your soul? Schedule a coffee date with your bestie & get lost in girl talk for longer than you feel you should.
Having something on the calendar to work towards & look forward to is an important part of self-care for me. I struggle to fully relax & unplug from the daily grind, unless I’m fully removed from my normal daily life. Putting a trip on the calendar, whether it’s a quick overnight getaway or an international vacation, is something that Hubs & I have agreed to make a priority in or marriage. We have a standing agreement around what boundaries are when traveling, & we do a great job of sticking to them.
Oh, & by the way…
Being tired doesn’t mean you aren’t practicing self-care.
If you’re doing something you love, then being tired is a good thing. Sometimes self care is a great expenditure of focus & energy, so feeling tired is an obvious side effect. For me, hitting the gym every day for an intense workout is what does the trick. My sweat sessions are much more about my sense of peace, than the physical transformation of my body. Having a packed schedule isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you’re following your passions. I’ve never handled free time well, so the more I can fill my days with things to do that I love, the healthier & most myself I feel.
Alright, busy girl… now for the stuff you came for:
Decide what self-care looks like for you.
Try to forget about what you think self-care looks like & instead think about what you really need to rest & recuperate. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a list of simple self-care methods that work particularly well for me, especially in my busiest times:
- Turn off your devices: (does even the thought of that give you hives? A sure sign that you need exactly this!) A clear mind will come easier with less alerts & distractions.
- Prioritize health: At the end of the day, exercising, eating well, & going to therapy will always be a good choice. A great read on therapy, written by a therapist, is Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, by Lorie Gottlieb.
- When in doubt, go to bed & get a little extra shut eye. I’m a self-professed #NapQueen, but I always wake up in a better headspace. & sleep does the body good.
- Tell someone how you’re feeling: That could be your therapist or a trusted friend. For me, it’s often my husband or even my Instagram Fam. (I find that sharing in my most vulnerable moments building real connections with other like-minded women.) Being able to communicate what I need, what is bothering me, or what I’m looking forward to is a skill that I’m constantly working on, & it’s so important.
- Celebrate the small wins: Don’t wait for just the big stuff. What have you accomplished this week or this month that moved your needle forward? Cheers to you, Sis!
- Snuggle a puppy: Seriously, Osman is my soulmate. I swear, he saved my life.
- Wash all of your bedding: Is there anything better than clean sheets? It’s one of my favorite feelings: crawling into a freshly made bed. Another bedtime routine I love is diffusing essential oils. Lately, 4 drops of Lavender + 3 drops of Raven + 2 drops of Frankincense has been my bedtime go-to.
- Try a new athletic activity that will challenge you: Learning to meditate & how to slow down via yoga are topping my list of ways to practice self-care this year, in hopes of finding a new healthy way to clear my head.
- Do a brain dump: Grab your fave notebook or journal & a pen, the settle in to write down everything that is worrying you & everything on your to-do list. Make time to write down what you’re grateful for, all the good things that happened today & what you’re most looking forward to tomorrow. Out with the bad & in with the good. Do you love the idea of journaling, but every time you sit down to write, you struggle with where to start? Someone once told me to set a timer for 2-3 minutes & just draw circles. Big circles, small circles, whatever you want. After the alarm goes off, write down the thoughts that came to you during your circle drawing. There’s something about doodling that makes your mind move forward…
& lastly, know this: it’s OK to not have it all figured out. I often feel the need to up my self care game with I feel myself struggling to find answers, & it goes against everything that feels right & natural to just sit in that space. Lately, I have to keep reminding myself to have faith & trust the process. There’s a lesson to be learned in this season I’m in & it will be unveiled to me in due time. I can only control the controllable, & learning to give it all to God is much easier for me to say than do. But in these moments, I’m reminded of a mama I met in Uganda… one that said she had prayed for nine years for there to be church on her land, so that she & her people could come together in faith & community. Nine years, you guys! & God answered her prayer. She got her church, & do you think that even in her wildest dreams, she thought she’d welcome 30 Americans to worship with her there?! Stay the course, Friends. & even in your busiest times, make sure you show yourself some love.
What do you do for self-care that makes you feel like the best version of yourself?