What’s your version of self-care? A regimented skincare routine, no phone after a certain time, daily runs, and yoga? All of those answers are great ones!
But truthfully, self-care can’t be narrowed down to one specific practice.
In light of our pandemic and subsequent lockdown, I think we’ve all realized just how much care we need (and deserve) to get through life. It’s important to note that one pilates workout or self-help book isn’t the key to healing our whole selves.
During my hiatus from work to move and settle in my new home, I made a major investment in myself. I got a team of therapists, nutritionists, and coaches to guide me through this new phase of physical and mental transformation! I craved to feel like my best self on the cellular level, which meant making some serious decisions to change my life!
But my health is more than the number I see on a scale, going to weekly therapy, or devising new business strategies. It’s about aligning my values with my goals to make the most empowered decisions I can with the resources available to me.
This exciting time in my life has encouraged me to deep dive into what self-care really is.
Not just how I indulge my laziness or make myself feel better on the bad days.
But what boundaries I should uphold, my non-negotiables, and the outlets that nurture every facet of my being.
Stepping away from work to focus on life was quite the transition, to say the very least. I had to get used to the idea that things outside of my job were just as (if not more) important! Although I will say getting around to that powerful realization was a very full-circle moment for me.
When I first created I Heart My Life, it was to excite every woman to live her most aligned life imaginable! That meant learning how to better work, love & relationships, and even mindset and confidence! IHML was a movement that inspired others to cultivate a multi-passionate, multifaceted lifestyle and create something beyond their dreams!
But as this business flourished I lost sight of the original mission. I started launching packages and programs, cranked out podcast content, and so much more. It blurred the line between life and work because I was so invested in telling others how to create their dream life.
But that left very little room for me to reevaluate what my dream life looked like as well.
Once James and I decided we were moving, it gave me the opportunity to reflect on what I wanted going forward. Settling into our first permanent home has been a grounding experience, forcing me to think long and hard about a very crucial factor in this transition: how to care for myself.
We all experience transitions and changes that push us to exhaustion. So many things in life require our love and attention, but what happens when it drains us to the point of burnout?
That’s why today I want to take the plunge into self-care as not just a trend, but a lifelong practice. Not only how to implement it, but mold it to fit our unique lives.
What Is It and Why Is It Important?
Influencers, coaches, and entrepreneurs alike post about the importance of self-care as much as possible. Don’t you see it all over social media? I know I do!
But let’s be real, snapping a selfie in a robe and face mask from the brand you’re sponsored by isn’t going to heal your deeply-rooted fear of failure or limiting beliefs.
What self-care actually means is the practice of preserving your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. It’s a mindful, empowering decision to improve your overall health.
It’s an active role you have the responsibility of taking on to protect your peace, happiness, and autonomy. In reality, self-care is more than just a choice or social media hashtag.
It’s a lifestyle that encompasses self-forgiveness, accountability, and abundant healing.
Self-care includes every individual step you can take to make your life an aligned one. And everybody’s journey with it is unique! So what is and what isn’t your version of self-care may not look the exact same as someone else you know. My self-care routine doesn’t look the same as my husband’s or client’s, and that is okay.
If there’s one golden rule to navigating self-care, it’s this: focus on what brings you sustainable and genuine joy in the long run.
Aside from the obvious benefits, self-care invites us to reflect on the deeper meaning of our lives. Not only does it help foster resilience and manage stress, but it gets you to deeper connect with who you are. What you value, what you want to make time for, and what you love.
Self-care is the practice you need to make your life a meaningful and well-rounded one!
What Does Real Self-Care Look Like?
There are many self-care practices you can adapt to suit your desires and needs! As someone who knew of self-care for so long, I’m still learning how to best practice it (I’m only human after all)! One important factor in your self-care routine (that I’ve come to appreciate myself) is how it aligns with your current state.
If you’re feeling uninspired, then it’s your creative wellbeing that needs a boost. But if you’re feeling chronically fatigued and uncomfortable in your own skin, that’s a whole other ballgame! There’s no one kind of self-care— but that’s what makes it so inspiring.
Self-care is so crucial to us as human beings because it’s so multi-faceted. Much like us, there’s an infinite amount of tiny moving parts all working together to fuel one life force.
One of our clients shared this massive reflection with me about her own self-care journey that I felt compelled to share:
Today I’m celebrating a massive shift from a call with Emily Williams. She asked me when I was making the most money and I realized it was when I was at my very best. I had just landed my first COO position for a growing practice that I was hired to help expand across NC.
When I landed the position, I received my highest salary ever. It was when I was treating myself the best! I was running most days, doing half marathons, eating the healthiest, getting my hair done every 2 weeks, my nails monthly and I was dressing cute everyday. I was treating myself like a Queen (as Emily put it). I wasn’t putting myself last.
My significant other was helping more because I was focusing on me and my health. It was truly when I was at my happiest. I don’t do that now. I’ve put my family first, my business first and I’m picking up the crumbs of what’s left over and telling myself it’s just for a season.
That changes today!! I might not be able to go all in, but I can do small things that will allow me to feel good about myself and my appearance. I have my recipe for success.
This woman is tackling so much at once, and she’s recognizing that many things have shifted. I find it incredible that she gently reminds herself that she possesses the power to make the changes she needs, and understands that her shift in focus is purposeful.
But you want to know what’s even more amazing? She forgave herself. I think so often we are critical of ourselves for not being perfect all the time. For not showing up each and every day with the same energy and outlook.
Should that be the grounds for restricting yourself, overworking, and not resting? Absolutely not. If anything, you should be honoring that very human part of yourself!
When we experience stress and chaos, it’s easy to go into survival mode. In the end, that only drains us more! So when it comes to discovering what self-care should look like, I believe the first step is this: reflect on what feels abundant and what feels scarce.
Ask yourself: What do I need to feel taken care of?
Your self-care should look like a mindful embodiment of your deepest, most important needs. And guess what? That practice will evolve and change— just like you.
Self-Care for Entrepreneurs
Everyone can benefit from self-care — even the high-impact high-achievers!
For me, self-care has become an outlet to explore my whole self. As a CEO, it’s easy for me to get caught up in the chaotic nature of everyday life. Tackling every goal and task is no easy feat, especially when I’m trying to balance every other aspect of my life!
I’m not excused from self-care just because I run a business. If anything, I might need it a little more! Entrepreneurs pursue their paths because of the freedom and fulfillment it offers— but that doesn’t come without a little effort!
How do I make myself a priority as an entrepreneur? Here’s how:
- Creating “me time” in my everyday schedule: Leaning into my desires is one of my favorite ways to feel taken care of. That may look like a spa day, time with friends, or my therapy sessions! I am the focal point of all these amazing things happening, which means taking a step back and focusing on myself!
It’s important to do things for yourself regularly. That allows you to replenish your energy and keep the momentum continuous.
- Investing in meaningful relationships: Who I surround myself with is just as important as the alone time! James and I have done our work as a couple and continue to make our bond a priority. But outside my marriage, it’s crucial I welcome people aligned with my values into my space.
Self-care should be isolating or egotistical. If anything, it should encourage you to become a better person. So don’t turn away from the company, it may be the support system you need to make it through the tough times!
- Make sleep and rest a priority: We all have the same twenty-four hours in a day. And how we choose to maximize them is up to us! If you know me, you know I’ve talked about how James and I will sleep in separate beds to regulate our sleep cycles during retreats or hectic business times.
Rest is crucial for our mental and physical health, so don’t deprive yourself of that basic necessity for the sake of completing a task! You’ll perform and show up much more authentically if you pace yourself, believe me.
- Be Present: It’s easy to overwhelm yourself with the hypotheticals, and what’s supposed to come next. I myself used to be a victim of that cycle. But NOW, I like to move leisurely and appreciate what’s happening in my life! James and I even planned extra days before and after our Bora Bora retreat to maximize the experience I’ve been dreaming about for years!
A great way to be more attuned to the moment is to acknowledge how it aligns with you. What values does this experience embody, what are you learning about yourself? What does this inspire in you? Don’t be afraid to stop and smell the roses (or crystal blue seawater in my case)!
- Learning to say no: I pride myself on building meaningful experiences for my clients. However, there’s only so much I can accomplish before I become drained. Which is why I find it essential to create my own non-negotiable boundaries!
Non-negotiables are things you do not compromise on, specifically in daily life. It can be a workout class, an hour of no technology, or a walk around the neighborhood. The point of non-negotiables is to honor the intentions you put out for your life— and claim them as yours.
Self-care isn’t meant to be trendy or materialistic. It’s designed to uplift your spirit, keep you grounded, and align you with the best version of yourself!
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You’ll learn directly from James (our Certified High-Performance Coach) about what it really looks like to put yourself first.