"You can't pour from an empty cup. You must take care of yourself first." - Eleanor Brown
I'm hardwired to take care of others. It's my love language. That said, I've learned that when I don't stop to make time for myself, my normally unending patience begins to wane.
Historically, taking some time “away” included the following: a) getting lost in a book by one of my favorite authors like Lee Child, Lisa Gardner or Harlan Coben, b) watching one of my favorite Youtube channels (Laura in the Kitchen & Emily Noel), and/or c) taking a nap (who doesn't love a good nap?!?!).
Lately, I’ve ramped up my self-care game by joining two business/social groups. Now, to be completely honest, I’m an introvert at heart. The idea of going to an event or joining a group where I didn’t know a single soul was not at the top of my list of things to do...it actually didn’t even make the list! However, over the past year I’ve noticed something interesting about me - I’ve clearly entered a new season of life and have become far more daring and brave than I’ve ever been (who knew that was in there?!).
In January I joined The Business Women's Circle. We meet once a month to talk about business, leadership, and life. It has been good for my soul to connect with other women from a wide range of businesses who are different stages in their own growth and development (personal and business). Additionally, there is a level of accountability that I appreciate.
Around this same time, I learned about a local group for moms - the Minne Mama Meet-Up (@minnemamameetup). It's the perfect excuse to get out of my sweatpants and connect with other local moms. I've attended two meetups thus far and have loved the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations that I would have otherwise missed out on. I’ve also made a few awesome connections and started to build new relationships with some incredible women.
“Vacation, all I ever wanted. Vacation, had to get away.” - The Go-Go’s
I don’t know if it’s the 5-foot tall snow pile at the end of our driveway, the endless list of to-do’s for Hands & Feet, or my lifelong crush on Belinda Carlisle that led me to this inspiration today, but those ten words are a perfect summary of how I’ve been feeling for the past couple of weeks.
Since we’ve made the decision to go full-time with Hands & Feet, Susan and I have enjoyed all of the benefits of running our own business: chasing our vision, setting our schedule (mostly), being meeting-free most days, and spending a ridiculously awesome amount of time in sweatpants working from home.
The flip side of this is that there really isn’t an ‘Off’ button. Because we do so much out of our home, the business is all around us, all the time. It’s on the kitchen table because we often use that as Conference Room K. It’s in the dining room, which Susan uses as one of her three home offices (she’s very mobile). It’s consumed nearly half of the basement with the shipping department and warehouse. And that’s just the physical part of the business. When I add how much it consumes of our conversations, and how much time we spend on our phones and laptops taking care of “just one more thing”, it truly never leaves us.
As I write this, we’re three days away from leaving (escaping) for Arizona, and the sense of anticipation is palpable. If I’m honest, it’s more than just the normal pre-vacation excitement - my mind, body and soul is screaming for a timeout. I’m tired and need to come out of the game for a few minutes. Time Out!!
Making the switch from the corporate world to starting our own business wasn’t so much a job change as it was a lifestyle change (see above). To be clear, in all of the roles I’ve had over the course of my career, I’ve never felt passion, alignment, and motivation like I’ve experienced with Hands & Feet. Never. It’s a glorious set of feelings and emotions. However, it’s clearly time to hit the ‘Off’ button to be present with Susan, our girls, and myself for a few days. Ultimately, our business, our partners, and our customers will benefit from Susan and I taking time to catch our breath under the sun and palm trees of AZ!
Neither of us will ever be mistaken for self-help gurus. Thankfully, both of us were blessed with just enough self-awareness to know when we need to do a better job of taking care of ourselves. Interestingly, both of our examples above included some amount of discomfort that guided each of us to make changes. Our individual challenges aren’t unique. In fact, I would bet you have an area (or two) of your life that could benefit from a little self-care. What is making you most uncomfortable right now? Let that discomfort be your guide, as it’s undoubtedly the universe trying to grab your attention to administer a little self-care in your life.
“Take time to do what makes your soul happy.” - Unknown