create your life

3 Tips to Preserve Your Most Valuable Business Asset

By Laura Kalister

It’s Saturday morning. Your family is still asleep and you know you have a good hour before anyone wakes up. How do you spend the time?

A) Check email

B) Finish your latest project

C) Enjoy a cup of tea

D) Workout

If you chose A or B you are not alone. Being an entrepreneur is hard, especially when it comes to self-preservation. It’s easy to lose ourselves in our business when we are the boss, and success rides on our results. Add in the other hats we wear – mom, wife, partner, daughter, friend – it can be hard to carve out “ME” time.

Self-preservation can even come off as selfish, right? And sometimes it might even feel like we don’t have a choice – we go to the bottom of the list.

Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that when we don’t carve out time for self-preservation, we risk burnout, illness or other health issues, including depression. I would also offer that as entrepreneurs, we have an excellent opportunity to create a self-preservation model that is as individual as we are.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, I worked in corporate management, where long hours and intensity were expected. Despite the red flags going on in my head, I chose to ignore them, determined to be successful.  Only a few months in to my last job I became concerned about the toll it was taking on my mind and body. So I did the only thing I knew to cope. I turned to food as my form of self-care to numb out the stress of the day. I would overeat whenever possible, disconnecting from my body to keep pushing myself. Each night after 2-3 hours of “catching up” I crashed, exhausted and physically uncomfortable. Rinse and Repeat.

Do you see a theme here? It didn’t matter if I liked what I was doing. I was miserable because every waking moment was about my job. I was so afraid of failing that I ignored every signal from my body. More hours gave a false sense that I was that much closer to catching up…hamster on a wheel.

I gained over 80 pounds that year. I went from an outgoing woman who took really good care of herself to an isolated, depressed person just surviving. I was trying to pour from an empty vessel and nothing was coming out.

The intensity was part of the organization’s culture so I had a choice to take it or leave it. I was seriously worried about the weight gain was affecting my emotional and physical health.

After a disastrous “vacation” where I spent most of the time working and being a bitch to my family, I finally paid attention to myself and made the decision to resign. I took a break, redefined my priorities and made a commitment I would never erase myself again.

I offer this as a cautionary tale because now, on the other side as an entrepreneur, I can easily see how this could happen again. Our business and personal life often meld together and before you know it, we aren’t turning off the electronics and our “ME” time is pushed aside for time to catch up. We promise we’ll take care of ourselves later. Yeah, right.

Here’s the truth, though. I’ve learned that when I take care of my body, mind and spirit, I am actually a better business owner and provide a better service to my clients. I have the stamina to put on my other hats when the work is done. Self-preservation has become one of the necessary tools for me to be a successful entrepreneur. Self-preservation is now something I want to do, not must do.

Here are three key strategies, which still help keep me honest and tuned in:

Schedule it in ink

My standard lines used to be “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’m just too busy”, but I wouldn’t use these excuses to stand up a client so I began practicing the thought 'I am worth the time to take care of myself'. P.S. – notice I said practice…it takes time. But, what you practice is what you get good at.

Now, my self-preservation activities are scheduled, in ink, like any other appointment. Of course there are days I would rather put it off, but I always feel better when I’ve kept my commitment to myself. It is non-negotiable time and it is easier to show up knowing I have my own back.

Be willing to suck at it

Since my previous idea of self-preservation was a fast food binge, I knew the transition to making it a priority would not be easy. When I decided to take the first step I expected to suck at it. It felt weird and uncomfortable – I seriously had no idea what to do with myself other than eat. I got comfortable being uncomfortable and when I believe I was being selfish, I considered the perspective that taking care of myself was really a gift to others. Then I made a list of activities that recharged me, no matter how small and started actively doing them, whether I sucked at it or not. With more practice, sucking wasn’t such a factor.

Watch for Red Flag Warnings

With self-preservation a priority, I had to get real with myself. This meant telling myself the truths that could easily send me down the wrong road. I came up with a list of Red Flag Warnings, which are clues when I’ve made a detour. Here are a few examples of mine:

  • Two weeks without any exercise
  • No current book for pleasure
  • Eating out more than 3 times in a week (excluding vacation)
  • Isolating, napping more than normal

When I trip over one of these triggers today, I know it is time to spend some time regrouping with myself and paying attention. It has served me so well to catch myself early and I can get back to my preferred route much quicker.

Today, I rely on my self-preservation list. I decide at night what will work for the next day, depending upon my schedule. For example, I may take a 20 min break from writing and read. Or, if I am in between events, I will do a short meditation using a phone app in my car. Weekends when things are crazy and my family is home, I take refuge in my adult coloring books or a relaxing yoga class.

Finding the right self-care plan for you takes experimentation and may change depending upon changing schedules and evolving business commitments. I know, however, without a doubt, choosing the time to preserve your mind, body and spirit is the most valuable thing you can do for yourself, others and your business.

Laura is a Certified Weight Coach and self-professed “Shame Slayer” for emotional overeaters. As the owner of LK Weight Coaching Laura teaches women to find freedom around food, bringing wisdom and experience from her own journey. Laura’s passion is to show women that food is not the enemy and listening to the innate wisdom of our bodies provides us all the answers we will ever need. Find her on Facebook.

How to start meditating at work

By Mirjam Helder

We have all heard it many times before - the benefits of meditating. It releases stress, calms the mind and the body, connects you to yourself, you are happier and you have a good vibrancy surrounding you. The list of mental and health benefits goes on and on.

But then why is it so hard to stick to it, when there are only good things that come with a meditation?

Here are a few facts before you start so that you don´t stress about actually doing a meditation:

  • You don’t have to meditate 60 Minutes right away - start simple and small. Do 10 minutes every day - and then increase.
  • Find guided meditations. It is so much easier to meditate with guidance in the beginning. It takes practice to sit still and control your thoughts or even still your thoughts eventually.
  • Find a spot in your house, at work or outside where you can meditate in peace.
  • Don’t do anything while meditating. Just sit or lay somewhere comfortable. Combining taking a bath and meditating is not meditating. It will save you time, but that is not what we are striving for.
  • Find a group or a course for meditating. Teachers can help you with questions you have or give you good advice.
  • Have a smile on your face while meditating. Meditation and life is easier with a smile on your face.

Whether you’re self-employed or work at an office, bring your meditation to work. You spend so many hours at work, why not do a meditation at work?

Work is most likely stressing you out anyway and who doesn’t wish for a more calm and happy work environment. When you are your own boss it is easier to pick a time throughout the day to meditate. But as an employee you have to stick to the hours where you have to work or when you have a lunch break.

So, if you have a 60-minute lunch break, take 10 minutes to meditate. Take your phone, download a guided meditation, plug your earphones in and start. I recommend music, mantras or a guided meditation as the office or outside sounds can be distracting. I guarantee you, you will go back to your office relaxed, motivated and with a high positive vibrancy.

Meditation is also about mindfulness. A simple but yet effective tool is to go around your office and in your mind say something very nice and kind about your co-worker. For example: “Susan, I wish you a good result on the report you’re doing for our boss. Phil, you have helped me in so many ways this year here at the office - thank you.” Not only will you feel great, but you will send out amazing vibes at the office. Being mindful about your thoughts will have an amazing effect not only on others when you think something nice about them, but also on your own life. As you might know, what you think, you attract. So be more mindful about your thoughts and if your thoughts seem out of control, try to quiet your mind with a meditation every now and then.

Don’t forget to take a good deep breath every now and then. We tend to be short of breath all the time. When you get stressed, overwhelmed or feel confused, breathe. Notice how a good breath relaxes you and makes tensions go away. As important as your breathing is in a meditation, it is also important throughout the day. Set a timer on your phone to remind you every hour to take a deep breath.

If for whatever reason you did not get the chance to meditate at work, plug your earphones in while commuting. It might be too difficult meditating on a train or a bus, but you could look for a visualisation. Maybe you have had some issues with money, self-love or health. Look online for a specific visualisation where you mentally repeat affirmations to shift your focus and remove the blocks you had so far. As you focus on repeating those affirmations, you won’t necessarily notice the surrounding sounds. And you might find it useful to have a visualisation that has the same time frame as your commute, so you don’t miss getting off at your exit.

Here is a wishful thought: Maybe your colleagues will notice your positive change because of the meditation and want to join. Try not to convince them before starting your routine. Let them notice the change on their own. And if they like what they see, you have people joining your meditation and you mindful behaviour.

Go for it now – it’s never too late to make life just a bit more beautiful.

Mirjam Helder is the founder of Living Your Best Life Today, a website for women in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It is a website with articles, podcasts and meditations as well as visualisations that help you live a life beyond your wildest dreams. She believes we can create a life, a business and relationships we love. What we need are inspirations, tools and courage to go for it. It does not matter where you are in life right now or what has happened to you. You can make a commitment to change today, deal with the ups and downs better and ask for more in life. Start living your authentic truth today and become the unique woman you want to be. We need your voice, your love and your compassion. There is a reason why you are here - show us that reason. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram