self-care rituals

Why Self-care Needs To Be In Your Business Plan

By Kit Cronk,

Self-care, mental health, treat yo self, me-time, chilling out …

We throw these buzz words around at each other when we’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and desperately need a break.

Unfortunately, the concept of self-care (my preferred buzz word) is too often used when talking about some reactionary, last minute decision to stop everything and give yourself some chill time.

Spoiler alert: This doesn’t actually WORK. Not in the long term, anyway.

Self-care is all about taking care of yourself (surprise!), which means you need a plan of attack. You don’t accept the responsibility of caring for something, like a pet, without planning when you’ll walk it, getting things ready to feed and house it, and being prepared to dedicate some time to the task!

Especially if you’re running a business, which usually means you are doing #allthethings, you cannot afford to push aside self-care for when you “have time” (ha!) or really need it.

Here are some truth bombs that you need to hear:

1. If you don’t take care of yourself, you WILL burn out. You’ll get physically ill, have a mental breakdown, or just loose the will to work. You’re no good to ANYONE if that happens!

Taking care of yourself NOW ensures that you’ll be able to keep going LATER. It’s an investment.

SIDE NOTE: I learnt this lesson the hard way, when I went overboard working crazy hours to meet some deadlines… At the end of it, my body was so run down that I didn’t recover to full health for six weeks. None of us can afford to be out of commission for that long! ESPECIALLY when you’re running / building a business!

2. It’s possible to burn out even if you LOVE your work. Busyness is still stress, even if you enjoy the tasks. Lack of sleep, exercise, human interaction, eating well, are all going to end up with you in a bad place.

3. Women aged 20 – 40 are suffering from more mental health issues than any other time in history. You’d be hard pressed to find ANYONE these days who doesn’t have anxiety / depression or know someone close to them who does. Self-care is one whopping big weapon in our arsenal to manage mental health.

4. It’s up to you. You are the only person who can take responsibility for your self care. It helps if you have people around you who’ll prod you when you look like you need a day off, but you are ultimately the only one who knows what’s going on in your head. Don’t wait for other people to give you permission to take time for yourself.

There are plenty of different ways to integrate self-care into your business life… I’m going to break down some ideas by “level” for beginners to experts! Pick a few and start implementing them THIS WEEK!

LEVEL 1: NO TIME FOR SELF CARE
You’re tired all the time and just want another day in the week. You’ve got a bajillion things going on and there’s no way you can just up and leave for the holiday you desperately need.

Never fear! There are super simple ways to start your self-care that will leave you feeling more refreshed.

GET. ENOUGH. SLEEP.
I can’t emphasise this enough! The very FIRST thing we all need to do is consistently get 7-8 hours sleep. If that means going to bed at 8pm and letting the washing go un-folded for a few days, that’s OK.

HYDRATE
Get yourself a water bottle and make sure you drink it all 3 times each day (or whatever the equivalent of 2 – 3 litres is). If you can manage it, try to have one less cup of coffee. It dehydrates you and makes your heart race.

UNSUBSCRIBE
Go on an unsubscribing rampage. Every email newsletter you don’t read, page that is clogging up your Facebook feed, and person whose constant selfies are driving you crazy on Instagram. You’d be surprised how much some digital “spring cleaning” can help your stress levels!

CELEBRATE
Pop some mini-champagne every time you get something done. Taking the time to congratulate ourselves and dwell on an achievement / success works wonders for your brain! Keep on filling your mind with positive reminders of what you’ve done – You can even keep a list somewhere you’ll see it regularly.

LEVEL 2: I COULD BE BETTER
You’re not constantly exhausted, yay! You might be getting by, but you know you could take better care of yourself. It’d be nice to feel like your brain doesn’t have too many tabs open.

TIME OFF
Plan a non-work day every week. Even if you’re side hustling, you can choose a night of the week that is purely to rest. Don’t even try to read blogs or just do one social media update. This is totally guilt-free time to NOT spend on your business.

FOOD SWAP
As a hot chips addict, I do not say this lightly. You need to look at what food you eat and consider if you can improve it. Swap out your 3pm chocolate bar for some crackers and cheese. It doesn’t have to be an all-out diet, but you can try some substituting a few things.

READ
Getting your head out of reality and diving into a good book will do wonders for your mental health. Research has found heaps of benefits to reading regularly – not the least of which is giving your brain a break from constant screen use. Try starting with a book every 2 weeks!

STRETCH
Set aside 10 minutes a day for stretching. Preferably away from your desk. Really focus on deep breathing and stretching SLOWLY. Your body will thank you for it, and there are plenty of youtube videos that will take you through a little set if you’re not sure what to do!

LEVEL 3: FEELING LIKE A TOTAL BOSS
Not that you’d brag about it, but you’re doing pretty well. Some days you don’t even NEED coffee, and you’re good at switching off your “work brain” when you need to. This is the big leagues now.

GET A HOBBY
Wait, what? Start doing ANOTHER thing? Yes. Find a fun hobby you can get stuck into. Personally, I love knitting. It really relaxes me and is a great little skill to have. Working on a creative project OUTSIDE of your business is a great way to keep your brain active, but still taking a break from the every day.

EXERCISE
We all knew this one was coming. Regular exercise is proven to have a positive effect on both the mind and body. It doesn’t have to be strenuous – You could do Pilates, go for a slow walk, or take a stretch class. Experts recommend 30 – 60min a day… But there’s no shame in starting smaller than that! It will get easier to increase and form a habit over time.

UNPLUG
Try to go totally technology free for a while. If you can manage it, do at least half a day each week or maybe a completely unplugged holiday for a few days! I promise you that all the latest news will still be on your Facebook feed when you get back to it.

TREAT YO SELF
Do you plan treats for yourself when you hit milestones? Maybe it’s a financial goal, you finished a project, finalised a collaboration, or just survived another quarter. Set a date and treat yourself. Go see a movie, get a facial (my personal favourite!), or schedule a weekend getaway!

Kit Cronk is a freelance graphic designer and letterer. Her retail line, Ruby & Pearl Press, is full of funny cards, cute stationery, and inspirational quotes. When this Brisbane girl isn’t working, you can usually find her watching re-runs of 90’s sitcoms or reading another fantasy novel with iced mocha in hand. Follow Kit’s work on Instagram or browse all the awesomeness on her website.

Image: Camille Styles

Love Yourself First And Everything Else Flows Into Balance

By Sinead Dunne

Stop everything else you are doing right now, shut down all those distracting tabs you have in your web browser. And pay attention to these words you will read. Your self-care is the most important priority right now. This saying “your health is your wealth” is not just a saying but a true fact that most entrepreneurs ignore.

There is always just one more thing that needs to be done. Who has time for a relaxing bath right? Even if you had time for a bath you would not stop thinking about your to-do list. And self care is just something else to be added to that endless list.

Burn out
Time and time again I have treated entrepreneurs for burn out. Who work tirelessly on their business till late at night. Or get up earlier before the family wakes up, just to get some extra work done.

Your business is you. Just remember if you burn out then there is no business. The same way you invest in your business to keep it running you need to be added to the invest column.

More focus & energy
So I ask you how you would feel to have, more focus, more energy, more clarity and even get your mojo back and be a siren in business and life? By adding some self care to your priority list you can have all this. And you might be surprised that you actually get more done in less time.

Mindset
Entrepreneurs’ with a strong self care mindset are more productive in their work. They attract more opportunities. Why? Because putting your own needs first make you happier and healthier. There is nothing more attractive in a person that is HAPPY.

In business we learn so much about mindset. The main focus is on confidence, sales, marketing and even money. The first thing we should learn is our self care. When we value ourselves this shows up in our businesses and life.

Self care does not have to be time consuming by just adding in some of my top tips you can reap the benefits fast.

My Top Tips:

  • 10-20 minutes mediation (there are lots of guided ones on You Tube if you find this difficult).
  • Eat regularly three main meals with some small healthy snacks in between. Eat away from your desk. Taking time out to enjoy your meals and chewing well. We waste most of our energy on digestion; remember that our stomachs do not have teeth. When you do not chew foods till it is like liquid we give a stomach more work to do and this wastes energy. Chew well and gain more energy!
  • Get out for a daily walk. Even if it is just a short one, we need fresh air and vit.d from the sunshine even if it is in the winter. Some of my clients have gone days without leaving there house.
  • Take seasonal detoxes. We become more focused and clearer by giving our bodies a clean out. There a several types of detoxes chose one that suits your needs.
  • Add some extra nutrition in your diet by having a smoothie you can get so many nutrients in one serving. I like to call mine my cup of health. I add my good fats and omegas in to my smoothie (we need to keep our brains nourished)
  • Juicy juices just go down a treat. A glass of juice power! Your body has to do no work here, just enjoy all the benefits. When we juice all the hard work is done for us by the juicer. We get instant nutrition with no energy waste.
  • Move your body! Exercise even if it is only twenty minutes a day just move. There are plenty of videos of home routines with no fancy equipment needed.
  • Take a nice long hot bath with candles burning, relaxing music playing and some up lifting essential oils burning (this just sounds so seductive).
  • When you invest in yourself you are making an investment in your life and business.

                                    As in the words of Loreal “because your worth it”

Sinead Dunne is a mindset/health/business coach for new mompreneurs who want to uplevel their life and business. Through her totally addictive blogs, 1-1 coaching, free challenges, high energy online courses and face book group. She’s here to show you how to get more money, be the boss in YOUR business and live a sexier, healthier, happier lifestyle while kicking fear in the ass! She believes that you can have it all.

And when she is not mentoring momprenuers and manifesting, you can find her: hanging with her family, living the beach life in warrior pose, indulging in a tasty green juice or on Facebook.

Self-Care For The Pregnant Blogger

Self-Care

By Loveday Why

Self care has at last, beautifully and naturally, come into my life during these last months of my pregnancy. I had a reasonably precarious start to this wonderful and surprise baby journey and, at one stage, was put ‘on rest’ for two months. Got to say, not even that slowed me down fully. 

I’m a naturally high energy person. The positive side is the get-it-done attitude and the creativity high; the not so helpful stuff can be the random afternoons spent feeling strung out or wiped out and, more seriously, on the brink of burn out. But today and yesterday have been self care days. Straight up. Ritual usually assists me, but these past couple of days I haven’t done anything in 

particular. A little light stretching, meditation, some relaxation tracks designed for hypnobirthing, spending time cuddling and connecting with my inside baby, writing a little, napping a little, getting outside into the sun a little, filling my body with hydrating smoothies and watching a trashy TV series. The union of zen and modern life with, at its core, carelessness. 

Because sometimes I think (for someone like me) even ‘self care’ can feel like a bit of a standard I need to live up to. If I note the warning signs and think: ‘Lovers, slow down. Go do the self care thing’ I can feel quite pressured about maximizing that time and really making it count. Whereas if I simply roll a rug out in the garden and gather some books and notebooks around me, often I’ll not open a single one. 

I’ll just stare at the sky, watch the leaves lifting, listen to the comforting chatter of the chickens, let a bee alight on me. These moments of total unstructured daydreaming stillness are the most pure form of self care for me. And I feel the relaxation pour through my body like a soothing drink for my soul. My grandfather used to say: ‘it is very important to just do nothing.’ After the war, he would sit staring out of the window for whole afternoons sometimes. Who knew what he was seeing? 

I expect if we had asked him though, he would have simply said: ‘I am seeing what is there.’ Because self care is private and it is exactly what you want and need it to be at the time. I have come to follow the moon in my self care, especially now baby is here. Full moon and new moon are intense periods of growth for this small bean, so these are naturally my slower times. I don’t rush now because there is someone else whom I simply cannot rush. Someone else who is doing more important work than I am. Someone who is co-creating their body with mine. To connect to the earth rhythms and the moon cycles is to see clearly that all things require periods of dormancy in which to regenerate. 

To have my baby guiding me already to a path of greater stillness, flexibility and pure carelessness or surrender, which to my mind is true self care, is a wonderful gift. 

Three top tips: 

  • Throw out the self-care guide book. Trust that your body will guide you into a state of complete surrender. If that means a day of absolutely nothing, so be it. Your self care doesn’t need an end game. 
  • Spend time outside in nature, walking slowly along a Winter beach while the waves roll in and out, or lying in a sunny garden while the clouds drift by. To change your perspective on life is key and nature is the best place to feel loved and wanted, yet wonderfully small. 
  • Relaxation meditation tracks on YouTube will help kick-start your self care and will wonderfully rapidly slow your mind, release adrenalin and allow for full body regeneration. 

Loveday is a writer, cook, dancer and coach, offering nutritional and spiritual wellness services from Dunedin, New Zealand. Specialising in helping those challenged by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, on her blog she shares healthy recipes and simple shifts into vibrant, heart-led living. Always on the move, always with an eye on the ocean, she is currently nesting in anticipation of her first baby coming into the world. You an find her blogging here, on Facebook or Instagram.

Image: Unsplash