These last few weeks has been HUGE for me on so many levels. My triplets celebrated their 14th birthday (which means cakes x 3, cupcakes x 3, extra cake for family dinner, events x 2 and so on), I got the world’s most persistent head cold-turned-cough-turned-snotty-face, and I launched Confident Pricing to the general public. There was more going on in my world too – my niece graduated college, my husband is changing jobs…basically, it’s been one hell of a ride and it’s not over yet. As a result of all this, for the first time in over two years I didn’t publish a new post last Tuesday. This might not seem like a big deal to you, but to me it was a HUGE deal.
Last Monday, as I lay in bed feeling like now was a good time to invest in Kleenex shares, I realized I didn’t have a post ready to go. I felt horrible about it. I kept thinking, “I should get out of bed and write something,” but then I’d look at the alarm clock and realize I’d dozed off for 30 minutes since I had that thought. I eventually made the decision that I needed to sleep and heal more than I needed to write a blog post and that’s exactly what I did.
When you own a business, it can be SO easy not to engage in any self care whatsoever. I suck at taking care of myself. I wear clothes that need replacing (and OMG my bras are ridiculously pathetic), I don’t always make the best food choices (hello there, Oreos for breakfast!) and generally I don’t take care of myself as best I should. When you’ve got orders to fill, blogs to write, kids to feed, marketing to do, events to prepare for and ingredients to buy, self care has a way of just falling off the To Do list entirely. Women are particularly bad at this, because it’s in our nature to care for others, nurture others before our selves, and sacrifice our own comfort or joy for other people. Financially too, when the decision is to buy groceries or pay for a decent hair cut, most of us won’t hesitate to cancel the hair appointment.
You should not underestimate the importance of self care because it’s the kind of small investment which pays off HUGELY. There is nothing which makes me happier or more motivated to kick business butt than getting a decent haircut and blow dry. I feel SO much better and lighter and much less exhausted and crappy. I swear that few hours I spend in the hairdresser’s chair make me feel like an entirely new woman. So we all KNOW we need to look after ourselves better, but with time and money in short supply, managing to fit in self care is hard to do.
Here are my top 3 tips for looking after yourself better:
1. Before leaving your appointment of choice (hair, massage, manicure, personal trainer, whatever your thing is), make an appointment for the next session. I guarantee that if you leave with the intention to call later and get it done, it won’t get done because life will get in the way. Make it a part of your usual routine, even if it’s 8 weeks between appointments. DO NOT LEAVE there without scheduling in another appointment.
2. Pre-pay for stuff when you can. If you see your hairdresser is having a special, or you come across a Groupon for a spa day – BUY yourself a gift certificate for that thing and hang onto it, so you can use it when you most need it (which is probably when you’re most cash-poor and feeling sucky.) Also, put money aside for self care. It doesn’t need to be vast sums, $5/week will do just fine. Make having money for looking after yourself a priority and find an easy way to make saving that money possible. My family uses YNAB software (which I highly recommend, it’s changed our lives) and in it there is a budget line for haircuts (because haircuts are my thing.) And while I can’t claim this is legitimate tax advice in any way, I’ve heard of hairdressers being listed as “consultants” on plenty of business tax returns.
3. Before I launched Confident Pricing, I knew that it was going to be something I wanted to celebrate, because I’ve worked really hard on it. I also know that I often forget to stop and give myself a “YAY YOU!” in the midst of the controlled chaos which is my life. When I made the “To Do” list for the launch of the class, I added in “make and pay for mani/pedi appointment” and I marked it as a high priority item and vowed not to ignore it. Last Friday, I went and got pampered for almost 2 hours – and walked away with sparkly fuscia toes and sparkly blue nails (no judging please. Secretly I am still a teenager. It’s an awesome way to live.) Every time I look at my hands or toes now, I smile and give myself a little mental, “Yay you! You did it!” and it’s making me feel pretty damn good – so step three is, if you KNOW something big or difficult is on the horizon, put self care on the To Do list as though it’s just another job that needs to get done as part of the event.
Self-care does not come easily or naturally to me. I’m not a ‘girly girl’, I don’t wear make-up (much to my Mom’s annoyance), I don’t get regular massages or waxing or whatever. I’m so low maintenance that I’m like the cactus of the female world – BUT I still know that I like to be rewarded once in a while, I do like to maintain standards, and that if I’m not looking after me, nobody else will. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do as part of your self-care routine, just DO IT. Make self-care an essential part of your regular business routine because it’s easily one of the best business investments you’ll ever make.