MY TOP 10 SELF CARE PRACTICES THAT WILL IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS + YOUR LIFE
I can’t do this anymore.
I remember the exact moment I had the realization. It was a rainy October Wednesday, and I was spending it just like any other— going on my sixteenth hour at my computer, eyes glassy, shoulders tense and tired. I had made a cup of coffee an hour ago that sat forgotten and cold on the kitchen counter while I ate a protein bar for dinner. I was so mentally drained that I had just emailed the wrong client back for the third time that week-- and I was getting tired of cleaning up after my own mistakes.
I remember asking myself, Is this “making it?” Sleepless nights and 80-hour workweeks? No time to drink a damn cup of coffee or even eat dinner, let alone put on a face mask or spend quality time with my husband?
That nagging, fed-up feeling began to pull at my heartstrings again-- the same feeling that propelled me to start my own business in the first place.
I wouldn’t let it take me down this time.
I knew that I’m worth more than that-- more than the sum of my work hours, more than my productivity, more than subscribing to this ideological idea of “the hustle” that neglected to include any mention of the things that make me feel most alive.
So I did a 180. Yes, it was that easy. Yes, you can do it too, girl.
Once my productivity coach taught me about the way my diet and morning/evening routines affected my business, I was sold on the idea of pouring more of myself back into myself. The old adage rings true when it comes to your business: you can’t pour from an empty cup.
I swear that once you start taking care of your mind, body, and soul, your business will follow suit. And what’s more: it’ll grow.
I’ve had a lot of time to hone in on my favorite self-care practices since that fateful day. Here are the ones that have impacted my life and business the most. Implementing these into your life regularly will bring you a more successful business and a deep, consistent joy you didn’t even know was possible.
If It's Not a Fuck Yes, It's a No
How many times have you agonized in front of the mirror, trying to choose the right color wedges for that summer dress? How many times have you pored over a business decision, weighing the pros and cons until your head was spinning? How many times has a simple decision like french fries or a side salad totally tripped you up?
There’s a name for that feeling. It’s called analysis paralysis. And it’s eating you alive.
Your frontal cortex, or the decision-making center of the brain, is not a great multitasker. When it’s engaged in overthinking a trivial decision, you can damn well bet that’s the only thing it’s good for at the moment. Spending all your time overthinking cheapens the best power your brain has to offer. And as you continue the habit of overthinking, those neural pathways are only strengthened, meaning you're digging yourself into a hole of indecision.
You’re worth more, and so is your time.
There are tons of ways to curb analysis paralysis, but my favorite is simple: go with your gut. If it doesn’t suckerpunch you, make your eyes light up like you just heard the ice cream man down the street, resonate on that soul level, or simply make you answer “Fuck. Yes.” then you have your answer.
Feed Your Mind
Your mind requires nourishment, just like your body. If you feed it junk food, it only makes sense that it won’t perform optimally.
Save your Danielle Steele novels for nights and weekends, and pick up a few inspirational books for your weekly reading. Because guess what? You’re not alone on this journey, girl, and others want to share what they’ve learned with you. Listen up!
A few of my favorites:
4. The Big Leap
Get Dressed for Work (Even If You Work from Home)
But wait… I thought one of the best perks of working from home is working in sweats!
That might be true for some, but for me it’s a total productivity killer. Northwestern University conducted a study on how your clothes affect your mental processes, and the results found that your clothes affect your habits big time.
I can attest to this myself. Dressing for work, regardless of whether or not you work from home, sets boundaries for yourself. Your clothes tell your brain to go into work-mode, thus eliminating distractions. Once your workday ends, changing into your at-home clothes signals your brain to relax, which reduces stress and helps you keep reasonable hours.
Bonus: no more scrambling to make your top half look presentable for Zoom calls while your bottom half dons just a pair of your boyfriend’s beat-up old boxers.
Set Your Morning and Evening Routines
If you work from home, you’re probably all too familiar with waking up and feeling like you’re already behind. Tell me if this morning sounds familiar: you make a half-assed piece of limp gluten-free toast, eat it standing up while fixing your coffee in the big mug, and march your ass straight to your desk. Your brain still feels fuzzy from sleep, but you sit down and get to work, despite hardly being able to remember why you’re even doing the work in the first place.
If that doesn’t sound like you, maybe this does: you hit snooze until ten, make yourself some pancakes, browse Instagram for an hour, open your computer, promptly become distracted, aaaand now it’s time for lunch so of course, it’s time for a break. By 2pm, you realize you haven’t gotten shit done today, and kick it into gear. The problem? You end up working straight through dinner to make up for it, and finally get to bed feeling totally drained.
If either of these scenarios sound too familiar, you’re in desperate need of a consistent morning and evening routine. Taking time for yourself starts and ends your day on the right note, which is essential for your growth, both personal and in business.
If you think you don’t have the time, you definitely do. Your morning routine doesn’t have to be an hour-long morning yoga session (although that’s awesome!). It can be as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee with a crossword for ten minutes, or journaling for 20 minutes, or taking a hot bath for 30 minutes. Your wake-up routine should be whatever you like to do that simultaneously inspires and relaxes you to get you into the right headspace for the day.
Your evening routine should help you shed any stress you experienced throughout the course of the day, internalize everything you learned, and reset for a new day tomorrow. It can be something as routine (yet gratifying) as cooking dinner with your partner. It can be as luxe as drawing yourself a bubble bath with oils and bath salts. What you do is up to you, but it’s essential that you build it into each and every day— your business is a direct reflection of how well you’re taking care of yourself
Journal, Journal, Journal
If you know me at all, you knew this would make the list!
Before I was introduced to the practice of journaling, my mind ran at a 100 miles per hour, fueled by anxious thoughts and probably a little too much caffeine. Journaling has helped me design my life and business on my terms, set all my goals according to my wildest dreams, and work through every anxious thought to find its root.
I’m not a “Dear Diary” type of gal— I’m a big picture thinker, and this is exactly what I use my journal for. If you’re not already, you should be, too. Don’t worry about documenting minute details of your day (unless you feel compelled to). Instead, focus on powerful journal prompts that’ll help you make sense of the mess in your mind to pull out your dreams and goals. Journal every morning or evening— it’s up to you, but I journal in the morning. It helps me clear my mind to prepare for the new day ahead!
Visualize Your Dreams and Goals
To some, it’s a new age-y concept without any clear definition. To me, it’s the key to unlocking your wildest dreams and reaching your biggest goals.
Today, the term “goals” is usually thrown around in one of two ways. It’s a verb describing a life that feels untouchable and unattainable (usually in an Instagram comment… “GOALS”) or it’s a benchmark that you fell short of reaching, usually followed by a “but.” (Well, our goal was to…. but…)
And dreams? They’re talked about as if they're just that. Dreams. Subconscious fantasies. Our heart and soul’s deepest desires, but not something that’ll ever become a reality.
If you want to get closer to your dreams and goals, you need to literally picture yourself as being closer to them. Envision the wind in your hair as you cruise around in the new convertible you want. Where are you going? What does it feel like to have finally bought it? What drink is in the cupholder?
Get inside of your dreams and goals. Get to know them— the good, the bad, and the ugly. Write about them. Talk about them. Speak them into existence.
Bubble Baths Every Damn Day
I mean it. And don’t skimp on the bubbles, either.
Stress: that joy vacuum, that mental succubus that grabs hold of your stream of consciousness and refuses to let go until it’s been fed with more worry.
Anxiety: that cyclical worry that keeps you from letting go, enjoying your work, and staying present.
If you don’t experience either of these, you’re in the minority of small business owners. If you do, you’re definitely not alone. Here’s the secret to combatting them: exercise.
In today’s society, the mind and body are discussed as two separate entities. Mental health is either considered a luxury or something to be fixed up by introducing a multivitamin into your diet. Your mental health, though, is largely dependent on your physical health; studies show that regular exercise decreases stress and anxiety.
You don’t need to run out and buy a gym membership right this minute. Instead, get up and stretch for five minutes. Go for a walk.
I’m a firm believer in home yoga and exercise practices. Here are some of my favorites:
For yoga, I adore Allie (The Journey Junkie). She has a huge variety of yoga videos to suit all sorts of practices.
For home workouts, these are the ones I frequent the most!
- This dance to burn fat workout by Danielle Peazer will have you forgetting you’re working out
- This 15-minute strength training video requires no equipment at all, and is great for beginners!
- This is a ten-minute booty burn workout that also requires no equipment and will whip you into SHAPE
Regular exercise can be an intimidating habit to get into, so start small and don’t beat yourself up if you have to tap out earlier than you wanted. Honor your progress.
Eat Nourishing, Whole Foods
How many times have you eaten a huge meal that’s landed you on the couch afterward, groaning about how full you are? I won’t pretend I haven’t been there, girl-- sometimes you need to indulge!
Food is fuel, though. It should keep you going, not slow you down. When it comes to your daily diet, you need to keep it clean.
Think of your body as a machine. Your business’ output is 100% dependent upon you. Your mental power, your mental health, your physical health; it’s all you. That means if you’re fueling yourself with shitty foods, it only makes sense that you’ll have shitty output. How can your creative energy flow if it’s clogged up with high fructose corn syrup and overly processed fake food?
Your gut health plays into this big time. If you know me, you know I talk all about the importance of adrenal and gut health, and it’s not for nothing.
Called the “body’s second brain,” your gut plays a big role in almost every single critical function of your body. Gut bacteria affects your body’s absorption of minerals and vitamins, digestion, hormone regulation, immune system response time, capability for eliminating toxins, and your mood. No big deal!
Here are some of my favorite supplements that support gut and adrenal health:
Besides daily supplements, I also recommend throwing some superfood goodness into your smoothie every morning. Here are my favorite add-ins:
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides For Glowing skin + strong muscles
- Spirulina for overall health and a great source of veggie-based protein
- Maca Powder for hormone health + B vitamins
Find recipes for my morning regimen including bulletproof coffee and my favorite smoothie combos in the resource library (it’s free!).
Trust me; changing your diet will change your mental power and physical energy, which your business relies on to keep moving and keep growing. Indulge every now and then to satisfy those soul cravings, but during the workweek, limit that shit.
Stick to 3 Musts per Day
I saved the best for last.
To do lists are fucking exhausting. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. Keeping a running tab in your Notes app or journal feels like having the most stressful, overbearing boss breathing down your neck 24/7.
Before I started sticking to 3 must-do’s per day, I literally spend all day with my to do list running through my head. In the shower, during yoga, even while working-- it was like a mantra. Unlike real mantras, though, it only served to derail my mental focus and stress me the hell out.
Fuck that noise. At the beginning of the week, make your to-do list. At the beginning of each day, pick the three things you really need to complete that day. Once those are done, don’t look back. Don’t consult your master to-do list again until the end of the week.
Guess what? By the end of the week, everything will be done, and you won’t have had 50 things swirling around in your brain every day. Chunking up your to-do list like this will free your mind to focus on your real work instead of borrowing trouble over abstract worries.
Embracing Self Care to Improve Your Business
I swear that if you adopt even one of these self care practices into your daily life, you’ll see results. Before you know it, you’ll be checking out at the grocery store without one headphone in your ear, simply existing and buying food mindfully. You’ll have time to do yoga again. Your breaths will feel deeper and your mind will feel less cluttered.
When you’re a small business owner or creative entrepreneur, you are your brand. You are your business. Investing in yourself will give you the freedom to enjoy your life more while your business grows in your sleep.
And that’s the whole point, right?
Get in touch to talk all things business, self-care, and how I can help you improve both. You’re worth it, girl. I shouldn’t have to convince you, but I won’t stop trying until I do.