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Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

The Necessity of Self-Care for Solopreneurs

July 6, 2015
self care solopreneurs

When you start your own business, it’s almost guaranteed that your self-care (and much else) will suffer. Running a business takes all the heart and soul you can give. twitter icon

While self-care is important for everyone, solopreneurs often need a reminder. We have to work both IN our business and ON our business. We spend long days on client projects then weekend mornings on admin + advertising our own business. Self-care gets pushed to the back-burner.

But have you considered what those moments of self-care are really buying you? That massage, 15 minute meditation, pedicure, yoga class, etc.?

Negative energy from stress uses up space in your brain (among other negative side-effects). But the increased circulation, endorphins, relaxation, etc. from your self-care act will free up creative energy. Think of everything you could accomplish if you had more space to breathe.

I say this all the time:

When you feel your best, you’ll do your best. twitter icon

I’m an advocate for:

One of the biggest struggles I’ve found so far as a solopreneur (meaning I’m mostly a one-woman shop) is the difficulty of taking vacations. My goal for this year is to take at least 2 weeks worth of vacation. Complete time off away from work. It can be really hard to do in the beginning (I went two years without a vacation) but they’re restorative and vital.

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” -Eleanor Brownn

eleanor brownn self care

In the Comments:

What’s one self-care act you’ll do today?

Business, Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

Slowing Down: How being mindful can help you and your business

July 1, 2015
slowing down

Today’s post is from Samantha Russell, blogger and Eating Psychology Coach in training. She approached me with the topic of how mindfulness can help your business, so of course I said YES immediately. I think you’ll really enjoy the insight she has to share.

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As wellness entrepreneurs we not only want health and wellness for ourselves but for our customers, clients, and patients. One way we can do this is by being wellness role-models. By modelling – with authenticity – actions, thoughts, and beliefs that can really heal, we can do our job at a truly deeper level. One key that will help your health, business, and clients is the practice of ‘slow’.

This idea has been around for a while, and was popularized in the book ‘In Praise of Slow’ by Carl Honoré, and today I’m going to dive into this concept a little and how it can really help you improve not only your own well-being, but that of your wellness business too.

Why ‘go slow’?

There’s a quote from poet Stephen Dobyns that sums up how most of us do our days, “Each thing I do, I rush through so I can do something else.” I know I’ve found myself doing this more than I’d like to admit. I’m sure you have too.

This is no way to live! And it’s certainly no way to be a successful wellness entrepreneur. So, what’s the answer? You guessed it! Going Slow.

So, what does it mean to ‘go slow’?

Well, it doesn’t actually mean that you have to move slowly, or necessarily take more time over things – though in our busy, rushed schedules, this might be a good idea! The core of the ‘slow’ concept is that we should take enough time to be really mindful and present in our lives in all our activities and interactions. Rather than mentally rushing through to get to the next thing, we go mentally slow, focusing on one thing at a time.

Why should I do this? Won’t it just mean I get less done?

Quite the contrary. By being mindful of the present moment and taking as much time as you need to get the job (whatever it may be) done properly, you set yourself up to not only create real quality in you life and business, but to put yourself into a full-body relaxation response.

The benefits of this simply can not be overstated. Coming to life or work from a place of stress sets you up (through increased cortisol, inflammation, decreased calorie burning, and a host of other less than great body responses) to be a lot less than you could be – both in terms of your health and your business performance. When you are relaxed, which is helped a lot by being mindful, present, and slow, you counteract this and can show up in the world with vibrant authenticity.

What are some of the benefits you can expect from ‘going slow’ in life and work?

Continue Reading…

Business, Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

Self Care: The Ultimate Return on Investment

June 1, 2015
self care ultimate return on investment

Today’s post is from Sophie Crooks, a Tasmanian based blogger and coach. She has important insight to share on the importance of self-care for entrepreneurs. The topic is very timely as I’m starting to re-prioritize self-care in my own life.

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As an entrepreneur you are most likely familiar already with the concept of Return of Investment or ROI. For those that aren’t you are probably already applying it but just by a different name. Do you look at your to do list each day and pick your priorities depending on which ones will reap the most profit or rewards in return for your dedicated time? If so then you are running your business by the Return of Investment principle.

It is a great practice for women running an online business. We are so surrounded by distractions and things that seem important, maybe because other entrepreneurs are doing them, but aren’t really that important to our own unique business and brand. Keeping your primary focus on what will have the biggest ROI for your business is a major key to entrepreneurial success.

But while the ROI actions you take in your business are undeniably important, there is one mistake I see women make again and again and that is to think of Return of Investment as purely short-term profits. What will make you money in the next week, month or year. Maybe you even have a five or ten year plan of the things you will do to keep that financial freedom rolling in.

That is awesome! Do not stop doing that.

Continue Reading…

Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

15 Benefits of Massage Therapy (+ Why Every Entrepreneur Should Get Massages)

April 13, 2015
15 benefits of massage

Growing up, I only heard massages spoken of as luxury services and sometimes even frowned upon as frivolous. I remember for my 20th birthday I decided to treat myself to a massage and facial and thought that was a huge deal.

Over the past few years I’ve been experiencing increased general muscle tension, high levels of stress, and some repetitive stress injuries from working on the computer. Massage therapy has been the only thing that has made a real difference so far, so I’m definitely a firm believer now. I try to go at least once a month. I still haven’t gotten to a maintenance point yet (each therapist shrieks and tells me how bad the knots are….ugh!) but eventually I will.

So today I feel obligated to share the benefits of massage therapy. As entrepreneurs, we deal with high levels of stress from the roller-coaster nature of our trade to the long hours we sit hunched at a computer. If you’re like me, you’ll finally look up from your laptop and realize it’s 9pm and you haven’t eaten and may not even know what day it is. But I digress…

Self-care is absolutely vital to living a healthy life, let alone running a successful business.

If you want to learn more about what massage therapy is and the different types, click here.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

  • Increases blood flow
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves posture
  • Improves circulation
  • Promotes deeper and easier breathing
  • Improves flexibility and range of motion
  • Relieves headaches
  • Strengthens the immune system by increasing white blood cells
  • Reduces pain and inflammation
  • Increases alertness
  • Reduce symptoms associated with PMS such as bloating and mood swings
  • Improves sleep by affecting delta waves in the brain (those connected with deep sleep)
  • Helps to manage depression and anxiety by lowering the stress hormone cortisol and increasing serotonin and dopamine
  • Relieve symptoms associated with cancer treatment

Benefits pulled from Massage Envy and Huffington Post.

Continue Reading…

Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

Listen to Your Body + 8 Ways to Reduce Stress

November 3, 2014
ways to reduce stress

My sleep was interrupted by squiggly, flashing bursts of light, slowly growing in intensity. I managed to fall back to sleep until about 7am when my pounding head demanded attention. I took some medicine and drank coffee (usually helps the medicine kick in faster). Then I made a huge mistake. I got ready for a day of errands and went on my way, despite a protesting head. By the time I got to Destin, about 45 minutes away, the flashing aura was back and my head was going into migraine-round-2. Continue Reading…

Business, Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

38 Ways to Simplify Your Life + Feel More Peaceful

September 24, 2014
38 ways to simplify

We’ve all heard “less is more,” but it’s a powerful little statement when put to the test.

After completing a “get rid of 100 things challenge” recently, I realized simplifying can, and should, be applied to many other aspects in life. I’ve also found that the more I simplify, the easier and more refreshing it becomes. I run my business from my home and noticed a connection between my physical environment and my mental state and productivity. This was the biggest motivator to get started. Once I started, I didn’t want to stop. It soon went from “do I need these items in my home,” to “how can I streamline my business?” and “who can I hire who actually enjoys doing this task?” Continue Reading…

Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

A Lesson in Being Present

August 25, 2014
be all there

Nothing will test your patience quite like flying. And in my case, traveling for business in general.

I love the idea of traveling, but I’m a very anxious person. Navigating layovers, delayed flights, airport shuttles to hotels, etc. is exhausting and leaves my nerves feeling fried. Follow that up with a business dinner, and I’m almost guaranteed to get overwhelmed. Continue Reading…

Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

27 Ways to Recharge Your Batteries

August 18, 2014
recharge your batteries

Everything these days is go-go-go. We live in a society that celebrates being busy and stressed.
But what is that stress really costing you? Exhaustion, quick meals and no time to play aren’t leaving you fulfilled, that’s for sure.

When you feel your best, you’ll do your best. Start carving out personal time to recharge and you’ll be surprised to find you accomplish more work during a shorter period of time. Continue Reading…

Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

It’s Okay to Take a Mental Health Day

July 21, 2014
mental health day

Whether you’re in school, working in the corporate world or running your own business, I’m a supporter of mental health days.

These aren’t days where you skip out on responsibility just because you feel like it. These are days when you can’t focus, feel exhausted and know you need a break.

Taking a day off is especially challenging for entrepreneurs. Each hour we don’t work, we miss out on money. Most entrepreneurs don’t take vacation days, personal days, or sick days for the first 1-3 years while they’re getting their business up and running. It took me almost a full year to feel comfortable taking a 3 day vacation, and I still scramble to make up the hours and feel guilty for not being available for my clients.

There was a day last month when I knew I needed a mental health day. I woke up feeling down, irritable and unmotivated. My writing was uninspired, so I worked on little tasks. I had two appointments (dentist and orthopedist) who both told me my pain is caused from stress. I’m grinding my teeth at night (despite wearing a mouth guard) and irritating my tendinitis by working too much. (Stress and working too much are likely not the cause of my tendinitis, but is keeping it inflamed.)

So I took the day off, for the most part. I tried to exercise to boost endorphins and then ended up going to our local frozen yogurt bar and ate nothing but sugar for dinner. I read a new book on my kindle and took 2 naps.
But you know what? By 8pm I felt rejuvenated. Was it just a hormonal thing? Or did taking the afternoon to relax help? It’s hard to say, but when I woke up the next morning inspired and raring to go- I didn’t care which it was that helped me.

I know there’s a lot of advice out there saying that the only way to make it as an entrepreneur is to push through the days you don’t feel like working, write even if you’re uninspired, etc. I want to challenge that just a little.

[Tweet “Take days off to get re-motivated + rejuvenated. Mental health days are vital.”]

Do something different from your normal routine.

If you’re sick, take the time off to get better. Build vacations into your schedule. Block them out in advance. Set your blog and social media posts up in advance, or ask for some guest post while you’re out.

You NEED this time. It’s too easy to burn out, between trying to keep up with writing, advertising, connecting, learning.

Stop feeling guilty for taking time off. New experiences and relaxation open you up to new ideas and possibilities, and those are what will take your business to the next level.

 

Do you take mental health days? If you’re an entrepreneur, how do you handle vacation time?

Image Credit: Kate Powell
Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

Regain Control Over Anxiety (Free Worksheet)

July 16, 2014
Regain Control Over Anxiety Worksheet

I’m pretty open about my anxiety in case I’m able to help anyone else who experiences it. I suffer from general anxiety and probably some social anxiety. On top of being an introvert, it can get pretty overwhelming.

Generalized anxiety disorder is “…a mental health condition in which a person is often worried or anxious about many things and finds it hard to control this anxiety.(PubMed Health)” Basically, if it interferes with your every day life it’s most likely generalized anxiety.

Social anxiety is defined by Psychology Today as, “…an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations.”

WebMD states, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 18% of adults, according to leading specialists in anxiety treatment.”

As I’ve gotten further into studying holistic health, I’ve come across a few natural ways to deal with anxiety. I’ll save the herbs, teas, and foods for another post. Today we’re going to explore the psychological aspect. While I am not against medical intervention for these disorders, there are a few other ways I recommend trying first. To me, aside from calming techniques, feeling like I have more control over the situation helps tremendously.

 

Use these four prompts to help you feel more in control:

List the facts about the situation.
What about your anxiety is true and part of the present moment?

List the worries that are hypothetical.
What about this situation is based in the future? What do you have no control over?

List 5 things you can do right now to relax.
This might include taking deep breaths, exercising, taking a bubble bath, meditating, etc.

List 3 things you can do to take control of the situation.
Maybe you can call family and friends to help you work through the situation, make a list of ways to save money if that’s what’s bothering you, etc.

This article from MindBodyGreen gives 5 ways of coping with your anxiety that are actually making it worse.

 

Use this worksheet to regain control of your anxiety:

anxiety worksheet

If you suffer from anxiety, how do you ease it? What are your go-to ways for feeling more in control?