I am sure you've heard me say it before self-care is the foundation of your process/journey and your destination. Self-Care is significantly tied to your entrepreneurial journey in that it's a mirror of your mental health and entrepreneurial health. Your health status is a byproduct of your self-care efforts. Have you assessed your mental health status lately? Often in our community, (African-Americans specifically), implementing healthy mental health strategies is typically frowned upon or shunned away from due to social negative connotations. Self Care is seen as being selfish. But strategies such as diet-change, exercise, adequate sleep, pampering and possibly therapy are key to improving your mental health and regular practice of self-care. Thus having a direct impact on your entrepreneurial goals. As women, small business owners, mothers, wives, etc., it's way too easy to forget these things critical to improving your mental health. Well, it's time to Reclaim Your Time and protect your Mental Health. Here's how I reclaimed my time and maintain a regular practice of self-care.
Reclaim Your Time and Show Yourself Strong: Nearly six years ago, I reclaimed my time incorporating 4 components of Self-Care: meditation, diet, exercise, and pampering.
- Meditation-By carving out time every morning to meditate and journal, I took the time to pray, journal and listen to God and to my angels in the quiet of the morning. This time helped me to quell anxieties about the day, about my family and about my own dreams and visions. Calming the anxieties in my mind allowed me to think clearly and align my goals with resources and community. This step helped me to develop my vision and map out my plans to be successful.
- Diet-In 2010, my doctor told me that my diet was causing me to develop a dependency on medications in order to live my best life. He mentioned that I needed to take a look at my life choices for not only mine but my family's sake. High cholesterol and hyperglycemia is not the legacy that I wanted to leave for my daughter. I began to cut out meats from my diet and incorporate more green veggies. I also cut back on the size of the plates I used for eating. Instead of a regular full-size plate, I ate on a saucer. If the food could not fit on the plate without hanging off or being piled on top of something then I didn't put it on the plate and I didn't consume it. It was difficult and required discipline.
- Exercise-As a stay-at-home mother at the time, 1 hour a day, while everyone was out of the house for the day, was a great way to jumpstart my exercise regimen. But if you can't do that try 20-30 mins of youtube videos to get you started. I have had to cut my workout time back also but when I can get in some extra workout time, I am there. Currently, I start my day around 4am so that I can get that workout in. Take the stairs more often than the elevator or go out for a walk on your lunch break. Increasing your movement helps not only your mental health but your physical health. They go hand in hand and are directly connected to one another. A strong heart is vital to all your efforts being successful when you think about it. As Michele Obama says, "Let's Move".
- Pampering-Now this is the piece of my plan that I really had to honor if reclaiming my time would be worth all the effort. There would be times when I felt that pampering myself was a selfish act. Selfish in a negative aspect, where I actually felt that I was shortchanging someone else, particularly my family when I pampered myself. But I soon learned that if I didn't reward myself for my efforts that I would soon regret those I was serving for depending on my efforts. I realized that I wasn't a hostage of my family and that I was not a victim of circumstances. I was a viable member of this family and if I rewarded my daughter and her father for their efforts periodically, then surely I deserved the same opportunity to be rewarded. And more importantly, I shouldn't wait for someone else to do the pampering/rewarding because that's no one's obligation but my own. My pampering started out as the purchase of cute nail polish and one day a week when I would give myself a mani/Pedi including a foot bath soak.
These changes in my life helped me to preserve my mental health and focus on goals important to me (family, business, health). I reclaimed my time! My family, of course, was supportive and noticed the results of my life changes. These changes had a clear, positive impact on my entire life. My mind was stronger, more focused and agile. Before I knew it, my business took off and I was in St. Maarten conducting a week-long conference where I was the sole presenter and the entire check was mine no need to split with a co-speaker or presenter. The aforementioned steps are not written in stone. There may be somethings you are already doing and somethings that you need to add in order to increase your mental health status and reclaim your time. My advice is simply don't be afraid to do it for yourself. Your family and your future self will be so appreciative of your commitment. Reclaim Your Time and Love on Yourself, Pearls!
Mother Of Pearls