Post Summary: Everyone can benefit from some self care, even busy creative entrepreneurs! Here are 8 of my favorite self care tips to help make sure you are taking care of yourself (and your business!) in the best and most healthy and nurturing way possible.
Let’s see if this scene looks familiar to you.
It’s 11:49 P.M. and you’re in your pajamas, which you’ve been in all day. You still haven’t brushed your teeth so your breath smells like your least favorite cereal — the only thing you’ve eaten (you’re not eating your favorite cereal because you didn’t have time to go to the grocery store last week, or the week before). You have a Netflix show going in the background that you’re not watching. This was supposed to be your hour to relax (after a 13 hour day) but you have an angry client email to respond to that can’t wait. Your partner is already in bed and has invited you to join him/her for the last 2 hours. You brush your hair back from your eyes and discover it is crusty with dried milk. You’d like to take a shower before bed but you’re too exhausted. And tomorrow you’re going to wake up and do it all over again. And again. And again.
If this scene feels like your normal routine, congratulations, you might just be a creative entrepreneur. And if you are a creative entrepreneur, chances are that you are in desperate need of some self care. I’m here to help.
When your partner asks you why you didn’t put on pants today or even run a comb through your hair, what’s your most common excuse?
“There’s not enough time!”
This might be the most used phrase of the creative. It’s either this or “Why can’t science just let me clone myself already!?” Since science is so slow in accommodating our needs and we can’t yet bend the laws of space and time, we’re stuck with the hours left to us in any given day, week or month. And in this period of time we are meant to accomplish a never ending list of to-dos that seem to multiply every time we cross something off like some entrepreneurial Hydra.
Time is a factor that we can’t just ignore. But if time always seems to be hanging over your head like a ticking clock of doom, it might be time to change your mindset on what the clock and the hours in a day mean to you. If you feel like you’re always running out of time or that time is your greatest enemy, it’s definitely time to rethink your priorities.
Sacrificing your health in a battle against time is not going to bring you success. It will bring you burnout, tension, stress, and it will lower your work quality. So, where do you start with changing your time mindset?
Let’s begin with self care. Taking the time for self care is not an expense, it’s an investment. If your work and your business are worth so much investment, what about you? If I can communicate one thing in this blog, it is this: You are worth it.
You are worth the investment of time. Your self care is worth it. Your body, mind and spirit are worth it. Stop giving up your health and wellness for deadlines.
I learned this a while back, after burnout nearly took me out. One of my biggest goals in my business is to create a thriving enterprise that is in balance with creating a sustainable lifestyle. I don’t want my endeavors and my life to be dictated by that “hustle” mindset. I can hustle and bust a move when a move needs busting, but I value self care so much that I know when I can say yes and when I need to say no. Self care is essential to the success of my business and it is essential for me to thrive as a human.
I hope that you will see the value in self care as part of the long-term plan for you and your business. Here are some self care tips to guide you on your journey.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is number 1 for a reason. Without proper sleep everything about you and your business will be adversely affected. Extreme fatigue will drastically compromise your performance, your work and, ultimately, your business. Being sleep deprived is like trying to work drunk. Studies have shown that sleep deprived people perform similar or worse than intoxicated people. Think about that the next time you try to pull an all-nighter and then work on an important project. Not only will sleep deprivation affect the quality of your work, it will also affect your imagination and creativity. As a creative entrepreneur, that’s like losing your vision. Get some sleep!
Figure out how sleep will work for you. Maybe you do your best work in the morning. In that case, it’s up to you to figure out to make that early bedtime happen. Maybe you’re the late night creative type. Try and figure out a way where sleeping in a bit longer in the morning to get your 7-9 hours can work for you.
If you think you hang with the likes of Da Vinci and Tesla, you could try the Uberman sleep cycle— taking 20 minute naps 6 times a day. But I wouldn’t recommend it. The body moves with the sun and moon cycles for a reason. Figure out the sleep pattern that works for you and stick to it. The body has a mechanism called the circadian rhythm that doesn’t like being thrown curve balls every other day.
Whatever you do, find a way to sleep. Sleep deprivation makes you behave like a drunk toddler. You can binge-eat more, you’re a danger on the road, you can kill your ability to learn and think creatively, and your brain will literally eat itself without enough sleep.
Enough sleep means better work, higher productivity, a sharper and more energized mind and better decision making.
Sleep on, sleepy head!
2. Drink, Rinse, Repeat
75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. That’s like taking out the majority of oil in your car and expecting it to run without breaking down. And guess what? Not staying hydrated is going to decrease your physical and mental capacity, much like sleep deprivation.
This is one of the easiest self care tips to implement. Just drink water! Don’t wait until you’re thirsty, make it a habit, add it to your routine. It may be easy to forget at first, but the more you keep up with healthy drinking habits the more your body will become accustomed to it and help you with regulation.
You can track your water intake with a reusable bottle. 2 liters is the general recommendation for the right amount of water, but this is without taking into account different body weights, body types and amounts of exercise. Aim for 2 liters at a minimum and eat your fruits and veggies while you’re at it. They’re full of water as well.
3 things you can avoid or consume less of to help with hydration are caffeine, alcohol and soda.
Am I starting to sound like your mother? Eat your veggies! Drink your water!
3. Find the (Work) Flow! aka Time Management
If you run your own business, you probably started it because you wanted the freedom of setting your own hours. In the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget that as creative entrepreneurs, we actually get to create our schedule. This can give you a lot of freedom to dedicate time for self care during your day. Schedule it out just like you would any other task.
It can help to create a physical schedule of your day. Try out this type of schedule and stick to it for a week or two. See how it reshapes your productivity and your self care habits. Mark out specific times when you start and stop tasks and if you don’t finish something within the allotted time, be OK with that. Whatever you do, develop your day with intention. You’ll find that intention can be a huge driving factor in both productivity and your health and well-being.
Here is an example of my workflow. This is what I’ve found works for me, but remember that your workflow needs to fit your life and lifestyle. And especially remember to add in some self care!
My example workflow:
Morning routine (coffee, stretch, read)
Batch photos for Instagram & Pinterest
Plan TikTok videos for Thursday
Post to Instagram
Post to Instagram
Record TikTok videos
Edit TikTok videos
Post to Instagram
Saturday / Sunday:
Either Shooting OR making time to spend with husband / family / friends
Cull & edit previews
Plan Instagram posts for next week
Research next blog
Exercise and movement are one of the best things you can do for your body, mind and spirit. Coupled with this is the benefit that an active body is more productive and efficient with work. I don’t need to tell you all the benefits of exercise, it’s proven, studied and common knowledge. Now, you just have to figure out what kind of exercise and body movement works for you.
You could start your day off with yoga in the sun. You could schedule a regular walk after breakfast or lunch. I’m a big Crossfit fan, so you’ll find me in the gym most days. It’s what I found that my body loves doing most. You could swim, lift weights, go to spin, play tennis, ride a bike, go on a hike, parkour, whatever floats your boat. The options are nearly limitless. The point is to get out and get active. If you make time for some kind of physical fitness each day you will notice a marked improvement in your productivity and workflow.
Even if you can’t get to the gym every day, at least try and get outside, breathe in some fresh air, soak in the sun and get that Vitamin D. You could work on your patio or balcony. Find a way to incorporate your body into your mind’s productivity schedule and you can see added benefits of memory boosting, increased learning and focus.
5. Cleanliness is Entrepreneurial-ness
Keeping a neat and tidy work space isn’t about adding to your entrepreneurial OCD, it’s about minimizing distractions and creating an environment that is the most conducive to productivity and happiness.
Got a disorganized and messy workspace? Maybe it’s time to take a trip to Ikea and get some storage bins with labels. You’ll feel so much better just knowing that everything is in its proper place. Sometimes the organization needs to happen on our computers. Use those folders and clear up that desktop and you may find yourself opening up additional mind space.
You spend so much time in your office or wherever your work environment is, make it a clean, welcoming space that you actually enjoy being in. You’ll find that work can be so much more enjoyable. You can take note on your productivity and the less measurable happiness that can come from an organized work space.
Design matters. Think of your work space as an extension of yourself and treat it with care. Bring in some light and make sure it’s ventilated. Bring in some house plants. Liven the place up with art or pictures. Do whatever you can do to add a touch of beauty and warmth to where you work and you will reap the benefits.
6. Nourish Your Body / Eat well
I’m going to keep the Mother vibe going here and remind you how much a healthy, well-balanced diet factors into everything in your output, health and self care.
Eating balanced, regular meals (not cereal for dinner) is going to help you maintain your energy all day, boost your mood and keep you laser-focused. But remember that just because you’re eating doesn’t necessarily mean your eating the best foods for your body and brain. Not all food is created equal. Fast food might help you save time but there are costs. The wrong kinds of foods can make us sluggish and actually affect our focus dramatically. The wrong kind of foods can give you a hard rise in blood sugar then make you crash later so your productivity is shot.
Again, eat your fruits and veggies! Think of whole foods when you think of foods and avoid the processed stuff that is more food-like than actual food. And hey, when you’re crunched for time I know how hard it is to meal prep. If you don’t have time to make every meal consider making bigger meals that you can eat throughout the week. The slow cooker and Insta Pot can work miracles. Meal prepping once or twice a week can save time and money. And there are plenty of meal prep subscription services out there.
You are what you eat. If you want to stay productive and focused, remember to nourish yourself as part of your self care regimen.
7. Treat Yo Self
You work so hard. You deserve to be rewarded for all the hard work! Sometimes it’s time to treat yo self. As part of a routine, this is one of the most fulfilling ways to practice self care.
Book a spa day, get a facial, main-pedi time, or get a massage. There are so many things you can do to treat yo self. Maybe it’s brunch with friends or carving out time just to read a book, journal, do a puzzle or take a bath. It doesn’t have to be expensive and lavish (but it sure can be!). And it doesn’t have to be time consuming and take up an entire day. Incorporate treating yourself into your weekly routine and see the benefits.
Just think of the things that bring you peace and joy and give yourself time each week for some of these joy practices. It will work miracles on your mood and you will see the benefit in your performance.
8. Check in with your Mental Health
Remember that in addition to taking care of your body, you need to take care of your mind. Research shows that entrepreneurs, by their very natures, are more susceptible to depression, anxiety, mood swings and other mental health issues.
As the saying goes” Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Give yourself consistent check-ins as part of your self care. You are worth and your mental health is worth it. You can’t do your clients much good if you’re holding back a breakdown. It’s past time that we drop the stigmas associated with mental health. You are mind, body and spirit and each part of you deserves to be heard and treated with care.
Entrepreneurs have a way of putting others’ needs ahead of their own. But you can’t our into others from an empty cup. Remember to fill yourself regularly (this is where steps 1-7 all come in) and remember to give yourself some mental health days along with regular health, wellness and treating yourself.
Well, I hope I’ve convinced you that you matter enough to practice self care. You matter. You’re so worth it. And I hope that by incorporating some or all (definitely try all) of these tips you will notice a massive difference in your health, happiness and sanity.
Wishing all the success in your business and in your life. One last time, say it with me…