We are having the wrong conversation about Self-Care right now.
It’s come to my attention recently because I experienced one of those weeks that demands a little extra self-care for recovery.
But most individuals seem to think that self-care is bottles of wine, pedicures & long baths! That’s pampering, but it is not self-care.
What Self-Care Actually Is….
First and foremost, self-care is listening to what your body needs and then giving it to your body!
It can be wine and pedicures and long baths, if you're into that. But it's also taking time to fulfill your inner creative, or to take a nap, or let yourself go to bed early or sleep in a little. Even letting yourself end work early on the days your head is swimming and you have a six-page to-do list is self-care.
Even further, self-care is doing that thing you keep promising you’ll do. For me, it was things like taking time to hire an instructor to improve my violin skills, practicing conversational level Spanish, or painting. I decided I was done promising that “this is the year” and start making time to do the things I knew I’d enjoy. Whether I am great at any of these skills is irrelevant. I enjoy the process, and that supports my mental health.
Self-Care is Supporting Your Mental Health
True self-care is finding what you need to do, when you need to do it, to take care of your mental health and allowing yourself to be 100% present in that moment.
After that crazy week I discovered that I needed to decompress, to disengage and not feel like I had to sit down and knock out my work goals. So I made the decision to sleep in on Saturday, take time for a nice breakfast with my husband, painted a couple new pieces, refreshed my nail polish, putzed around on the violin and then took a nap. It was refreshing. Not just doing all the things I love (yes, I love to sleep in sometimes!), but also not having an agenda or a To Do list to knock out.
It was exactly what I needed for my headspace to take the break it needed to reset itself. I needed the lazy day. I’d worked hard the entire week to hit some huge goals, and then turned my team lose on finishing those goals by our deadline so I could do what I needed most: rest.
Self-Care is Giving Yourself What You Need, When You Need It.
Self-care is also about not depriving yourself until you reached the breaking point.
I get it.
Entrepreneurs are the people who are “working today like others won’t so we can live tomorrow like others can’t”. Lori Greiner has the quote every entrepreneur lives by:
We often tell ourselves that by pushing ourselves to work harder today, eventually we’ll get to rest. The problem is, we will never be interested in kicking back indefinitely on a beach with a pina colada. So why wait for ‘someday’ to enjoy yourself? By making that decision, we set ourselves up to fail because we never taste the fruits of our labors to keep us motivated!
Approximately a year ago I went through “hell week.” In six days I received word of five emergencies and tragedies from people very close to me.
I was a mess. It could have caused me to completely buckle and lay down and cry. I pushed through to hit the deadlines that I had to, and gave myself permission in between to take care of myself. To take time and do the things that cleared my headspace so I had room to process!
I get it. Sometimes we do just have to “push through and get it all done.” But I believe that most of us know ourselves better than we think we do. We know if we’re letting ourselves off easy, or pushing ourselves too hard.
As a rule of thumb, I find that when people I’m speaking too are patting themselves on the back to talk about how much they’ve earned this break before they’ve even taken a break, they probably have further they can push. Conversely, when I find individuals who have 101 reasons why they shouldn’t take a break right now, it’s usually time to step back and breathe.
It’s not bad to take time to care for your physical and mental health!
The Reality Is…
Self-care is about not depriving yourself. The reality is that if you constantly deprive yourself, you end up hating the work because it’s all you do. There is no reward or fun in it and you end up hating your job and even your whole life.
One of the perks of being an entrepreneur is that our work is fun. Most of the time we get to do something we love, and get paid for it. Most other people don't get that. But we also can't push ourselves to the breaking point. It's important to be able to recognize that in ourselves and in others, so that we can both take care of ourselves and help others to do the same: creating a balance between work and health in your life.
Self-care is not necessarily about pampering yourself. Sometimes, it’s just about putting yourself first.
If you’re starting to get a handle on this balance and really want to take your business to the next level, I’d strongly suggest checking out the 2020 Grow Retreat website to see if that’s something you’re interested in. It’s going to be an incredible 2-day retreat like nothing you’ve experienced before, designed to help YOU grow your business beyond those ruts in the road you just can’t seem to figure out.