This really is a note to self, and if this is all TMI, just feel free to move along. But if I’m up to my neck in this issue, many of you may be as well.
I’m a hard-charging kind of gal. Type A for sure. But I’ve had to completely reframe that in the last year and pull way back.
My husband has had several strokes, one quite recently, and is no longer able to do much for himself. I’m the caregiver, and I do so lovingly and very willingly. But with his latest stroke, He needs help with everyday activities and as a result, my caregiving responsibilities have gone through the roof. Again, I’m happy that I CAN take care of him; one of the benefits of being an entrepreneur!
So yes, as an entrepreneur, I have a lot of flexibility. But as a caregiver, I have to remember that the work I do on my business has to wrap around my husband’s health needs right now. So, I can only get done about half of what I’d like to get done on any given day or week. Even though it shouldn’t, it frustrates me. Sometimes a LOT.
This is not unlike having infants and very small children at home. With so much work to do at home and serious constraints on my time and energy, it is tempting to scrap self-care and use that time for work instead.
As I’ve heard so many times, the caregiver has to take care of herself. This was all theory until the last few months.
I used to spend some afternoons or whole days out with girlfriends for lunch, exploring new neighborhoods, or doing a little retail therapy. But that’s not an option right now, as I can’t take that much time away. However, I still try to have every Saturday be MY day as much as possible.
That starts with NO BUSINESS. I don’t check email, social media, Asana – any of it. In fact, the only reason I open a laptop is to binge-watch something entertaining. I find if I can spend a day away from a screen and my business, I’m totally refreshed the next day. Truth!
Give yourself permission. Ah, this is a big one. As women, we tend to be the caregivers in general. As entrepreneurs, we are in “go mode” most of the time. In fact, many entrepreneurs I’ve worked with tell me that they believe that if they are not VERY busy, they are afraid that they are not producing, and therefore may fail.
Pretty big mindset issue right there: NOT doing is against our nature.
What does self-care look like for you?
Put some time into figuring out what will make you feel rested and refreshed since that really is the objective.
It may be an afternoon with a good book, lunch with friends, a day at the spa, time alone, or a visit time with close friends. Yoga? A bike ride, a hike, spiritual reading time? Self-care is different for everyone.
Block out dates on your calendar. Really. I’ve already talked about the power of managing your calendar. It may seem ridiculous to actually schedule playtime, but I’ve learned that if it’s not on your calendar, and you don’t’ protect those time slots, they will slip away and may never happen.
Make self-care blocks unmovable! I schedule blocks months ahead, and then insert the details of what I want to do as something comes up. I would suggest scheduling one block per week to begin so that you are consistent.
Want some additional inspiration? TedTalks has a number of great videos on the subject of self-care.
Like anything else worth mastering, this is a process, and it takes practice. I started out by saying this was a note to self because I’m still grappling with this. I hope you can at least start your practice of self-care and make it a non-negotiable in your life sooner rather than later.