Self-care is somewhat of a buzzword right now.
I am personally a HUGE fan of self-care.
I know that when I look after myself, when I feel GOOD, that everything keeps going well for me. Relationships, motherhood, health, and of course, business.
But self-care isn’t all long walks and bubble baths. Though those things are nice too.
There is the other aspect of self-care that is less popular. The unsexy side of self-care if you will.
I am all about helping you to make it as easy as possible for you to achieve your vision of success on your terms. And while the more standard view of self-care is definitely part of that (I don’t think it has escaped you that I am MASSIVELY convinced of the power of daily mindset work), I want to talk to you about the other side.
The often forgotten activities that ARE part of looking after yourself.
Taking care of these somewhat surprising self-care activities, making them part of your daily/weekly routine, building them into your business even, will help keep you on the path to success.
1. Aches, Pains, Niggles and Appointments
How often have you just put up with some kind of health complaint?
Maybe you got fobbed off by your doctor one too many times (just me?!) so stopped going for the small stuff.
Maybe you’re anxious about things like smear tests or breast exams so avoid thinking about them, booking them.
I think this is a common one for us mothers. With so much to consider/worry about for our kids and their health, it is easy for ours to take a back burner.
But have you thought about what kind of message this is reinforcing in your subconscious?
By not immediately dealing with a health complaint, something being kind of off, an ache or pain… By not scheduling health check ups, smears, dentist appointments and the like…
You’re doing some powerful self-signalling. You’re telling yourself you aren’t worthy. That your health isn’t a priority. And that’s some dangerous territory as it just further feeds any other feelings of unworthiness you might be harbouring.
And I don’t want to hear any excuses.
The “I can’t afford it”s or the “I don’t have time”s. Rubbish. Both are choices. You can choose to afford it. You can choose to make time.
Make your health a priority. Make feeling great, without any niggles, aches and pains, a priority.
If you do, your business - and family! - will thank you. Because guess what? Both need you in tip top condition.
MAKE IT A HABIT: Check in with yourself regularly. Listen to how your body is feeling and swoop in to address anything that is off kilter.
2. Your Financial Health
Have you been burying your head in the sand?
So easily done. I have totally been there [raises hand].
I used to avoid checking my bank balance like the plague. I didn’t want to face the cold hard facts.
Guess what? That didn’t work out so well. Ignoring my bank balance definitely didn’t do anything to improve it.
If you’ve been avoiding talking a long hard look at your financial situation, let me ask you something:
How’s that working out for you?
Well, rather than kick yourself for it, just make a decision. Decide that today is the first day of a new financial future.
And it all starts with checking in on your financial health.
If you don’t feel like you are great with your money: educate yourself. Mend your relationship with money (get on the waitlist for Manifest Like A Mother ™ which will help you do exactly that, if you like). Find out everything you need to know about managing your money smarter.
Then start setting some financial goals and tracking your progress against them. As the saying goes “what you focus on expands”. So your financial situation will never improve if you keep that head firmly planted in the sand. Come up for air, and start paying attention to your money and soon you will be amazed at the change.
MAKE IT A HABIT: Set yourself reminders to check in with your bank balance and track your progress against your money goals. Check your bank balance AT LEAST twice a week. Commit to doing it for two weeks, see how that feels and then just keep adding a week on until it becomes second nature.
3. Get Protected
Do you have legal protections in your business? Contracts, terms of purchase and the likes? Do you have business insurance, personal liability insurance?
This is definitely one of the unsexier sides of self-care but it is so so soooo important (maybe even warrants a fourth “so”).
The last thing you need is to build your business up only for it to come crashing down around you.
One of the very first investments I made in my business was getting my contracts drawn up. Second after that: liability insurance.
As lovely as the vast majority of people are, don’t stake your whole business on the honesty, integrity and ethics of others. Do the smart thing and make sure you are protected.
Please don’t scrimp in this area. If ever there was a place to invest wisely in your business, this is it. No cobbling together something you think “will do”. Pay for sound legal advice and act on it.
MAKE IT A HABIT: Once you have your various protections in place, set reminders on your phone to re-evaluate. This could involve re-newing insurances, revisiting contracts to determine if any changes need to be made. And if your business is expanding and/or you are introducing new revenue streams, make sure you consider the legal implications.
4. Life Admin
What has life admin got to do with business? I used to think: absolutely nothing. But I fell into a trap.
I constantly put off certain life admin in favour of working on my business, spending time with my daughter or general down time.
The result was a mounting To Do list that was cluttering my mind and giving me a feeling of being overwhelmed even when my business was ticking over quite nicely.
Alternatively, you might be finding time for business and the life admin but at the cost of your own downtime. Either way, we need to find a way of fitting it all in.
I have overcome this by building in small pockets of Life Admin time into my BUSINESS DAY. This has been the best way for me to ensure things get done.
Know what else I did? I made a list of the kind of life admin activities I was typically doing and got out my machete. Ok, so a pen, but you get the idea.
I went through each item and asked: what would happen if I NEVER did this again? I got super honest with myself.
As it transpires, there were lots of things that I could just stop doing without the sky falling in.
One of those activities? Thank you cards. Now before you throw something at me for being an ungrateful b*tch, let me explain. First, there was finding time to buy cards, then the ongoing hassling of my daughter to write them out, then remembering to take the bloody things when we were seeing the gift givers in question. I’ve been known to find written and sealed thank you cards in a handbag or floating around the car MONTHS after the associated birthday or christmas. Shocking.
So now we do video thank yous. We have fun recording them. We send them immediately. DONE. One less painful thing on my life admin list.
Then I took a second pass at the list. I picked off a large handful and made them my husband’s responsibility.
And ooooooh this can be a tough one for us, can’t it?
We think they won’t want to do it. Won’t do it right. Just won’t do it at all.
Well, time to get over that. Pick the ones you can most easily delegate and then delegate away.
Turns out, my husband is better at ironing my daughter’s school uniform than I am. Happy days.
And lastly, I went through the list and figured out if I could pay for someone to take care of any of these things or somehow pay for a service that made them easier.
The remaining list was much more manageable. And I just knock the priortiy ones off in my small pockets of built-in time.
MAKE IT A HABIT: Make yourself a list like I did and do the three-pass approach to see how far you can reduce it. Then schedule regular small pockets of time into your day, with a reminder of course! And knock a few of those babies off the list.
5. Mental Health
OK, so mindset work is a great way of maintaining a sunny disposition and setting you up for success.
But your mental health can go beyond that. Sometimes there are things that a journaling session or spot of meditation just won’t fix.
In the same way that I urged you to priortise your health, I would love to encourage you to do the same with your mental health. Don’t put it off. Don’t tell yourself excuses about how you can’t afford it or don’t have time.
See a professional. Find someone to help. Feel great about investing in yourself in this way.
You deserve to feel great inside and out.
Prioritising yourself in this way is a great way of modelling positive behaviour to your kids too if they are old enough for a chat about it.
MAKE IT A HABIT: Check in with your mental health regularly. Yes, do lots of great things like moving your body, practising mindfulness, eating great foods to give yourself the best chance of great mental health. But also feel ok about addressing your mental health as and when the need arises. Your brain is part of your body, it needs the same care as the other parts.
This can take on many forms but I think an essential part of taking care of yourself is tending to your own growth. That means setting aside regular time for it and allowing yourself to enjoy it.
Only you can decide which part of yourself you want to work on, and it isn’t about fixing yourself as such but more of giving yourself some space to evaluate the way things are and how you would like to change. Changes could be small or large but can be anything that you think will ultimately make you happier or otherwise empower you to lead your fullest life.
As an example, an area I am currently working on is my propensity to be a people pleaser. I don’t feel like this is something I want to “fix” as I honour this feeling and know it comes from a well-intentioned part of me. But I am giving myself permission - and the time - to work on seeking more validation from within, noticing when my need to please gets triggered and finding better ways to respond.
I am happily a work in progress. I don’t intend to ever be done.
As growing is what life's all about. When we are stuck, unchanging, we stagnate. Life becomes dull.
Committing to your personal development is a great way of self-signalling that you are worthy of the time investment involved and any financial investment that comes with it.
Not only that, committing to your growth will help you to remember that this is all a path, we are never supposed to be “done” or “complete”.
And with that, we can relax a little and stop trying to be perfect. We can stop delaying happiness until we have achieved X or become Y or obtained Z. We can ENJOY the journey, enjoy the growth.
To me, this is one of the best ways of taking care of myself.
MAKE IT A HABIT: Start small if it makes it easier. A small window of time each day dedicated to your own pursuit of growth, whatever that may be. Block it out in your diary to make it happen. Better still, marry it with an existing habit. For example, I always listen to some kind of self-development audiobook in the gym. Because I go 4 mornings a week so I know that I can definitely commit to those windows of time.
I would love to know which of these less sexy sides of self-care has most resonated with you. Maybe one, in particular, is more notably absent in your life?
Let me know inside Self Made Mothers, I’d love to hear which one of these habits you’re excited to implement first.
If you are interested in finding out more about how I can help you set yourself up for success, then book a FREE Discovery Call with me here and let’s chat: