With the holidays approaching, it feels fitting to address a topic I know my fellow creative entrepreneurs often struggle with: self care. We love our art and our businesses *so* much that it often doesn't feel like work, but I want to make a case for taking time to step back and care for our bodies and minds as a way to actually strengthen our work. Here are five ways to take better care of yourself and the benefit it can have on your business and life. I hope these tips are helpful. I am here rooting for you. - Kate
1. Caring for your mind & body through exercise. We all know self care is not always a fun activity like a relaxing pedicure. Sometimes it is doing the things you do not feel like doing. It is a weekly struggle to drag myself to yoga at the end of a long day, and I often get frustrated throughout my practice. But the lasting impact that one hour class has on my mind and body is the reason I go. Even knowing this benefit, I still struggle with feeling like I should be working (or playing with my kids or cooking dinner) that extra hour. But I know the peace that yoga brings me will help me think and focus more clearly on my business.
2. Time away. Whether it is an hour or a week or a month, if spent well, time away will give you access to a deeper level of strength and focus that far makes up for the time not working. I have always been a workaholic so this is still hard for me, but I have come to see the benefits. This business is beyond person to me, and - like many of you - it is just me, so I feel every high and low without any sort of shield that a larger company might provide. If I routinely take time away though, I have a reserve of strength to handle the lows. The time away may be as simple as a twenty minute afternoon walk when I am at my most tired and the days' stresses are starting to spin in my mind. Or it could be a weekend spent with friends who help me find a new perspective on a tough issue. The important thing is take the time regularly and before your tank approaches empty. If you let too much time go by buried in your business you may not have the strength to push through those inevitable low points in entrepreneurship.
3. Hobbies (that are not a business). You probably made your business out of something you love, which is amazing and we are really all so lucky to be doing what we love. But I have found that spending some time on outside hobbies only strengthens my creativity, brings new inspiration, or simply gives me a break. Of course there are nights that I need to catch up on work, but sometimes I am just too tired and doing something that gives me joy will actually make me more productive the next day. For me hobbies include working on our house or sitting at night with a glass of wine and painting (just for fun with no intention of selling my paintings). Where do you find joy that is not work or taking care of someone else?
4. Focus. Focusing & prioritizing your to-do list is a necessity on every level and component of your life as it actually creates time for self care. Every week I spend some time on high level planning and then write out my week of tasks, numbering them by priority. I estimate the time each task will take so I can make a realistic schedule. This efficiency (although not perfect at times) allows for time away, exercise, and hobbies, not to mention precious time with my family.
5. Space & distance from your business. Be obsessed about your business and art but also have the perspective to keep it at all at a distance where it can't grab ahold of you. It takes so much bravery to put your whole heart into something but not attach yourself to the outcome, but it is necessary because there are many thing you do not have control over. This is something I am constantly practicing, because it really is hard, but it is worth it if you are in this creative entrepreneurial journey for the long haul. Space means the lows cannot bring you down and the highs will not take your feet off the ground.