Self-care is more important than you think + why you must pay attention to it as a creative entrepreneur.

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Self-care is not my thing.

I’m not a wellness expert.

I’m not a fitness guru.

I barely even fit the bill as a hobbyist.

But, as an entrepreneur I learned the long (and hard) way that self-care is more important than:

  • Refining client workflows
  • Developing workshop content
  • Marketing and business development strategies

Self-care is the single, most important area in your life that can and will impact how well you can serve your clients and customers. It also will impact your level of success as an entrepreneur, good or bad.

Yet, it’s not often talked about in entrepreneur circles because instead…we discuss business. That’s fair. 

Self-care came to the forefront of my own journey because as my business was seeing some serious expansion, behind the scenes I was feeling sluggish, more often than not. Sure, I could sit up straight and zone out when it was time to work but I had very low energy for much of anything else. I knew that I didn’t eat as well as I should (My best friend jokes that I put gravy on everything). This might be true. That said, I started paying more attention to how I felt and took some key steps that were necessary if I wanted to carry on with being a great service provider.

More recently, my business besties and I all got sick at the exact same time. We live in different cities but got sick in sync  and with totally different symptoms. Weird right? Nope. There’s this monster called upper limit syndrome and I believe that’s exactly what we experienced. Are you familiar?

This monster rears its ugly head when you’re undergoing rapid growth in business or life. It shows up because mentally you start to question whether you’re deserving of the opportunities coming your way, whether you’re ready and those worries and doubts manifest physically. In other words, it’s self-sabotage.

Gay Hendricks addresses upper limit in The Big Leap and has a great article on it here. Marie Forleo talks about her solution for it in this video.

I believe upper limit and self-care go hand in hand because if you’re making yourself more of a priority in your business then things like upper limit wouldn’t have as big of an impact as it did on my friends and I.

Here is what I’ve learned on self-care…

one.

Awareness is critical.

As entrepreneurs, we spend most of our time taking care of our clients, our customers, our teams, our business itself, and our families. If we manage to squeeze out any extra time we might spend it on our own care. More often than not, we just whip up a new to-do list and carry on with the business of everyone else.  We have to slow down and when we do that we will be more aware and in tune with our bodies. This sounds very basic. I know. But, it’s easy to miss what’s going on with our bodies when we’re constantly on the go and taking care of everyone else’s business.

two.

Get your support systems in place.

There is no right or wrong support system. I chose to invest in working with a wellness coach because I knew a lot of my issues came from my lack of good nutrition. Instead of googling and piecing it together on my own I’d rather have a professional just tell me what to do (and why), and help me shortcut my wellness path. I hired her 1:1 for four months and was one of the best investments that I could’ve made in my health and business. I now have a better understanding of what I need to eat to improve my energy levels and how to cook meals that provide incredible nutritional value but are tasty as well. She provided great accountability for me as well.

My other support system is my former mastermind group turned business besties. Three of us purchased the same fitness tracker (although I can’t find mine at the moment – I’m a work in progress) and support each other with step challenges. All of us encourage each other to take breaks and engage in more physical activity or doing things that we love.

Even if you already place a pretty high value on self-care, if you are new to entrepreneurship, I encourage you to still get a support system in place. It’s so easy to fall out of rhythm when you’re starting a business and spending most all of your time on that.

What support system can you put in place to help your self-care journey?

three.

create space in your schedule.

Way easier said than done. I know. But, a while back Amy Porterfield had an excellent podcast episode on how she preps for the new year. One of the things she does is blocks off time on her calendar. It’s her personal time. She won’t commit to anything during those three or four weeks and her team knows not to schedule her. Amy explained that as employees we have our employers to hand us time off, but as entrepreneurs we have no one managing that part of our work. So, what do we do? We work right on through the year. Uninterrupted.

This is bad for us personally, and for our businesses. 

I was inspired by this podcast episode and tried the same thing in my business – blocking off my 3 or 4 weeks of me time. It didn’t work this year but I did end up taking a day off per month to just go do something for me. That’s 12 days more than I took off last year. Next year, I’ll try again until I hit the mark. I think most of us will struggle with leaping into Amy’s method but there’s no reason why we can’t try now. Mark that time off. Protect it and then slowly make it happen.

Is there a time of year that’s typically slower for your business? Start there and block those days off on your calendar. Set that intention and go from there.

The lesson in all of this is that we cannot take care of other people (clients or customers) unless we are taking care of ourselves. Let’s get to it.

 

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