If you’re a mompreneur I know your work and your family light you up. They fill your life with purpose and meaning. But how much time do you actually spend on yourself?
I ask because I’ve found myself caught (more than once) in the mode of striving to do more and be more and deliver more for everyone around me – at the expense of my own self care. I had strategies to handle everything else on my list, but I was missing one essential one for myself. It was the little things at first that didn’t seem to matter that much, but my neglect of myself coupled by the stress of running a biz and family quickly snowballed.
Here’s what happened.
I was never a big primper in the morning – I haven’t worn makeup for years – probably to my detriment. Despite that fact, my personal time in the bathroom to attend to beauty, skin, dental health and overall presentable-ness since having a child, has diminished from a solid 20 minutes to about 5. And that included my bedtime rituals.
First thing to go was moisturizing on a regular basis, then things like eyebrow maintenance – which shitty lighting has allowed me to get away with for longer than I’m necessarily comfortable.
Showering got reduced to an every 2 – 3 day occurrence (I do work from home 2 out of 4 days/week so, well…). Shaving followed showering in importance because no one really looks that closely anyway (until you’re sitting in a restaurant or meeting).
But when things degraded to the point of fatigue, and burnout really set in, that was a signal to become focused on my health which was taking a massive hit. Sleep wasn’t happening and exhaustion set in. I started dropping balls all over the place and couldn’t figure out why I was working so hard but failing so badly.
And while a glass of wine takes so much less time to prepare than a smoothie – I needed greens. So I started packing my daily greens into the smoothie and making one despite playing race-the-clock every morning. In fact, I now make the whole family drink a smoothie every morning and then if we eat nothing but french fries for the rest of the day I know we’re primed with the essentials. Plus it’s the source blood of my energy.
What self care looks like for you is entirely personal – but negating your own needs to tend to those of others is a one way trip to PitsVille. You end up resenting the life you’re creating and struggling to show up for it.
I’ve never been one for the gym but I run, hike and bike regularly. It provides me with both mental/emotional and physical healthcare – until it didn’t – which was when shit really came crashing down. It was one thing to be suffering extreme burnout, but I was doing NOTHING to replenish my well.
All of this to say – if you’re not attending to your self care either your shit is starting to fall through the cracks or you’re well into overwhelm and probably not feeling emotionally or physically all that great. I know. I’ve been there.
Since getting back on the self care train my habits vary but include getting outside at least 4 times/week.
Today my self care included meditation and journaling. I’d like to claim both as daily practices but I’m mom to a toddler so all those things that the other incredibly successful entrepreneurs spout as a regime, I fit in with as much frequency as I can. When I finish this post, I’m taking Hank, my dog and me, for a swim.
Yesterday self care was in the form of connecting with a heart-centred mompreneur friend before we picked the kids up from daycare.
The day before was a trail run with Hank.
And 2 of the 3 days included starting the day with my morning smoothie. (Today we were out of ingredients and I need to go shopping).
To run a business and a family (which is essentially like running two competing companies), you have to make your health and self care essential.
So whaddya do?
Simple. Schedule it in.
This is perhaps the biggest and most helpful thing I ever learned from some of the top entrepreneurs I have as mentors.
If you use a paper day timer, write in a self care activity for yourself like you would a meeting – and treat it with the same sense of importance. Or put it in your Google calendar, or that big erasable wall calendar or anywhere else you organize your day.
Commit to that time, commit to yourself.
Sometimes when I’m in a big client launch phase with deadlines looming, I ask my husband to be my accountability partner. He’s seen me on the other side of this equation which is enough motivation for him to get onboard. I ask him to check in with me to see if I’ve done my “thing” yet that day. And then he kindly rides my ass until I concede and head out with the dog for a quick ride, run or walk. Sometimes I just go out and weed the garden.
The point is – I take time for myself.
When I return to my work I’m happier, more relaxed, creative and efficient – all by taking a break. Incredible to think that taking breaks can make you more productive, but it does. It’s science backed and Julia tested.
So what are you going to do it attend to your self care or how do you already attend to it?
And if you’re looking for a super awesome smoothie recipe here’s mine which you can totally adjust to your own tastes and whatever you have in the cupboards. Just get those greens in you!