A Sneak Peek into Building My Self-Care Routine

As a small business owner, taking care of yourself is paramount. Here's a glimpse into my self-care practice and morning routine.

It's officially February, which means that now is typically the time we look back to see how we're doing with the goals we set for the new year. My intentions for 2017 are EASE | EXPAND | EMBRACE, and it's the EASE part that I've been exploring the most over the past month.

For me, this meant building in a morning routine to slowly break myself into each new day, and also working in a nightly routine to appropriately wind down. I've been doing really well with the morning routine, but I have some work to do with the nightly one (needing to break bad habits from years of being a night owl!). 

And if we're really digging into it, these daily routines were a mechanism I was implementing to deliberately spend more time with myself, alone with my thoughts, attempting to do a better job of tuning inward to really determine what it is that I need. Because ultimately, I realized that I have to take good care of myself in order to best serve my clients, and to be the best partner & friend that I can be. It's been an experiment for sure. There were days when I fell off the wagon, but my singular goal when facing those upsets was to not wallow in my guilt. 

So here's a peek into my exact morning routine, and the lessons I've learned from it: 

  • 6:00am: Wake up to have coffee in bed with the hubs

  • 6:45am: At my desk. Pull a tarot card for the day & write in my gratitude journal

  • 7:00am: Begin work for the day with a 90-minute sprint; keeping this one dedicated to only things I need to do for my business - no client work allowed

  • 8:30am: Hop in shower, get ready for the day, eat breakfast

  • 9:30am: Back at my desk for another 90-minute sprint; this time, typically it's client work

And the greatest lessons learned from doing this for a month: 

  • Starting each day with coffee & conversation with my partner is the best thing we've done for our marriage. We found ourselves in a horrible cycle of not really talking anymore during the week. We would both come home exhausted from work and neither of us were in the right head space to have a legitimate conversation. Starting each day feeling this connected with him has been profoundly positive for my mental and emotional well being.

  • Keeping my phone in the bathroom instead of right by the bed is exactly the cure I needed to beat my condition as a chronic snoozer. 

  • Learning about tarot and writing in a gratitude journal has helped me to overcome my negative self-talk, the awful shame spiral, and the inevitable comparison trap more quickly than I have been able to in the past. Having a written record of what I have done, what I was contemplating, and the people I have met, helps me put everything into perspective. It reminds me that life is a journey, and my journey is uniquely mine. When I found myself in this negative mental state earlier this week, I went back 6 months in my gratitude journal to see how far I've come, how some of the people I had just met are now close friends. It's remarkable, and the next time you're feeling that way - I highly recommend you do the same. Dust off your old planner. Scroll back in Google Cal. What were you doing 6 months ago? One year ago? Look how far you've come, and marvel in that for a few moments. 

  • Having non-negotiable time to work on my biz makes me feel like no matter what happens for the rest of the day - I accomplished something that I needed to. I found that I was never prioritizing my own tasks, which led to the harsh truth that I was harboring resentful feelings towards to my clients - by no fault of theirs! This was really hard to admit to myself, but I am so grateful for this knowledge because I find that I feel more generous & happy with the client work I'm doing.

  • Protecting my mornings is critical for my overall productivity. I don't like leaving the house before 11am. I like having my mornings to ease into the day, to do work in my stretchy pants, with my cat on my lap. When these things happen, I am happier, more focused, less resentful, and I'm showing up as the best version of myself for my clients - which means we can produce better work together.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Brené Brown's Rising Strong, "The most compassionate people I interviewed also have the most well-defined and well-respected boundaries." 

I have been working to establish these same boundaries for myself, and the morning routine really works for me. It has taken me about a year to get to this point where I feel like I have a semi-solid grasp on what I need to do for myself in order to show up as my best me. I'm still exploring new avenues for self-care, but these have been working for me so far. What about you? What are you doing to ensure you take time for yourself (and your business!) each day? 

If you are working to find a self-care practice that works for you, then I would love for you to join me for Amy Kuretsky's #28daysofcreativecare challenge.  In the month where we typically shower others with tokens of love, let's even the playing field and show ourselves that same compassion.

I'd love to hear from you about what self-care means to you and how you're hoping to take better care of yourself this month. Leave a comment below, and let me know what's been working for you.