Before you dive in to this post, make sure to check out Part 1, Why Don’t You Take Care of Yourself? so you can start by removing the biggest obstacle to serious self-care.
As you may not know, an official part of building a business (at least according to me) is building in support for YOU.
And, it’s much more nuanced than simply taking care of your body. There are at least five categories of self-care that I’ve found to be important when managing a business.
How are you doing on them?
Here’s a quick exercise: For each category of self-care below:
- Write down what you are currently doing for yourself
- Write down what you’d like to be doing for yourself
- Write down the ONE thing you’ll add now to this category
1. Nourish Mind, Body, and Spirit
This is the obvious stuff. Remembering to eat good food (remember to eat for some of us!), exercise, meditate, get massages, or do whatever else you need to fully show up emotionally, physically, and spiritually for your work (see the next section for ways to build this in to your life).
2. Delegate and Systematize
Decrease pressure and increase support for yourself by offloading some of your work to others. It can be anything from an administrative assistant to a baby sitter to a house cleaner. Whatever will produce the most ease for you. Create better systems and automate processes like client intakes or finances to save yourself valuable time.
3. Get Paid Properly
Your work takes energy to perform. If you are not getting paid at a rate that is nourishing and sustainable to you, then work feels like it takes even more energy. And then resentment builds. Resentment takes up even more energetic space and weighs on us and doesn’t feel good. Charge people for what you actually do and what you actually need, and don’t forget to include things like travel time.
4. Stop the Energy Drains
Speaking of energy drains, let’s do some plumbing: What are you doing in your business that if you stopped it right now you would immediately feel happier? Give this stuff up (I know, it might take a little planning, but it’s possible). In what ways is your business misaligned with your values and vision for your life? When you come into alignment, you will feel more on purpose, excited, and generate more energy to do your work each day. That is true nourishment.
5. Practice Serious Self-Compassion
Make a list of everything you’ve accomplished in your business in the last month. I bet you accomplished quite a bit. Appreciate this for a moment. There is no reason to add insult to injury as you tune into your self-care needs. Don’t beat yourself up because you’ve been working too hard. And don’t beat yourself up for not working hard enough either. Just be nice :)
Tips for Nourishing Body, Mind, and Spirit
Here are a few of my best tips for integrating "classic" self-care into your business and life.
- Put self-care activities into your calendar. I even put my meals in my calendar so that I stop and eat.
- Make dates. I make walking dates with friends so that we can both get our self-care in. I’m more likely to do it when I commit to someone else. Accountability helps!
- Implement one new thing at a time. You should have five actions from the exercise above. Choose ONE of them to start with. It takes 30 or more days to create a habit, and it’s hard to do more than one or two new ones at once. Integration really takes time.
- Figure out your make-or-break. Know the ONE THING you have to do each day to feel sane. For me, if nothing else, I need to go on a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood.
- Know your own rhythms. Life is easier when I don’t try to make myself work at night or too early in the morning. When are you at your best? Take advantage of those times for work. When are you typically distracted or tired? Try to practice self-care during those times.
- Know nature’s rhythms. Sometimes your rhythms follow nature’s rhythms, but if not, it’s helpful to tune in… for example, in the winter, I get much less done because I just want to hibernate. I adjust my goals for that time and make sure I have enough vacation time to truly replenish.
What do you do to make sure you are taking care of yourself?