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Archive for the ‘Self Care’ Category

Building a Healthy You and a Healthy Business

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Do you give much thought to how your general health affects your business? You may not think they are connected, but they are.

Truthfully, your own personal wellness should be a priority. Without a well you, your business suffers. In the extreme, you become run down, exhausted, and burned out — and so does your business. In the short run, you can lack focus and just aren’t as productive as you need to be.

In my own life I’ve seen this. I used to prioritize nutrition and exercise and sleep. At one point, I started down a slippery slope. I wasn’t exercising like I should. I used to have a personal trainer who came to my house, and when her schedule changed, I started to slack off. I used to go to yoga. When my personal schedule changed, I didn’t fit it in. Sure I was still walking every day with my friends, but that wasn’t enough. As I would learn, I was actually overexercising or doing the wrong kind of exercising.

On the nutrition front, I thought I was eating healthfully. And, while I probably was for the most part, I wasn’t eating enough. I’m sure you know the mindset. You must cut your calories to lose weight. And, of course, you have to give up everything that you love to eat!

And, this showed up in my business, particularly around focus and energy.

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Morning Rituals Are a Powerful Start to Your Day

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

 

Do you have a daily habits? I am sure you have some. A habit is a decision that you make. Over time you stop making the decision to do this thing but continue to do it anyway. Like brushing your teeth or starting your car or putting the dishes away.

How about rituals? I think of rituals as mindful practices that you make that can become habits. I am sure you have rituals. For me, a morning ritual is about self-care and setting myself up for a successful day. When I find that if my routine is altered somewhat and my ritual upset, my day can seem off. I do not feel like I have the same level of success.

How do you create a ritual? First, the ritual is personal. What works for me is not going to necessarily work for someone else and vice versa. The idea is to create something that sets you up for success and over time becomes a habit.

My morning ritual includes exercise, meditation, prayer, intention setting, and a cup of herb tea. It is what works for me, and is a mix of mind, body, and spirit. I also have an evening ritual.

Here are some ideas to help you create a morning ritual or even add to the one you have.

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Toot your own horn!

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

 

Do you toot your own horn? Or are you like many women – yes, it’s mostly women – who are reluctant to talk about their successes and talents? You probably don’t have any problem talking about the success of your loved ones. Why is it that we have that problem with ourselves?

This came up in a conversation with someone in our ICAP Members’ Studio. Beth felt uncomfortable about promoting herself. And she’s not alone.

When I ran a program called “When it absolutely, positively had to be done in 30 days,” most of the participants wanted help putting themselves out there. They felt a great deal of  discomfort about promoting themselves, whether that was in person, on the blog, Facebook, or Instagram.

It’s clearly okay to talk about others and share their successes, but you tend to downplay your own. Why? I think it is because you are not ready to step into your own power.

How do you get beyond this? Here are a few ideas.

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Evening rituals complete your day

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Some time ago I wrote about the power of morning rituals, and how they set you up for success.  Evening rituals can be just as powerful to end your day. They add a sense of completion, build confidence, and set you up for the next day. If you think about it, your evening rituals can have a significant impact on how your next day goes. A good evening can translate into a good morning. Unfortunately, a bad evening often leads to a not-so-good next day.

I think of rituals as mindful practices that you make that can be come habits. I have evening habits, or rituals, that make a difference. And, when I feel off one day, I can often trace the cause to the previous evening.

Here are some rituals to consider.

Review your day.

Take time to look back on the day and see what worked for you. At the end of his day, Benjamin Franklin asked himself “What good have I done today?” It was a follow up to his morning question of “What good shall I do this day?”

Consider what you learned. It’s not always something specific to a task, like a new way to use the software you just purchased or a shortcut to one of your art techniques. It could also be something that you learned about yourself.

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Escape to creativity!

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

What are you doing on your summer vacation? Yes, I know that as creative entrepreneurs you don’t really take a summer vacation. You are probably working in/on your business 24/7/365 and can’t possibly take time off.

Or maybe you do fit in some time because your spouse has a two-week vacation. Or maybe you still have a day job with vacation time and you don’t want to lose it all. According to Market Watch, the average American worker takes just over half his/her vacation time.

This summer try something different. Take time off and use it as an opportunity to open your mind, spice up your creativity, and see the world in a new way. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Get out your coloring books

We all know that coloring is still on trend, so grab your crayons or colored markers and get to work. You can find coloring books anywhere today. Or you can draw your own design — something easy for quilters — and start there. Studies show that coloring has therapeutic results.

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The Certainties of Life

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Benjamin Franklin said, “… in this world nothing can be said to be certain but death and taxes.” This is tax week, with federal taxes due, or an extension filed, by yesterday. While no one enjoys paying taxes, as an entrepreneurs, you have greater control on the income you make than if we went to a “day” job and clocked in. I like to think of that blessing as I gather all the numbers to complete the return.

Other than taxes, death is the other certainty in this world. I’ve been thinking about how we grieve our losses due to death of those we love. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been touched by the death of two of my aunts, a friend, and my mother-in-law. As one of my wise sisters pointed out, this is what happens as we get older. So, definitely a certainty, but painful nonetheless.

One of the essential doctrines of Buddhism is that of impermanence. And, our difficulties dealing with that concept is what leads to our suffering. Everything is impermanent — our work, nature, our possessions, and, yes, people. I can appreciate this concept, yet I can still struggle with it in my life.

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Do You Have Self-Care Practice?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

self-care

Have you ever thought about how important it is to take time for yourself on a regular basis? Do you connect this with the health of your business?

This week I’m on a “business vacation.” It’s a retreat with friends in the business. We are all taking time to work on our business, and we are all taking time for our own self-care. We’ve treated ourselves with nice home prepared meals. We are sewing for ourselves. We’re enjoying the beach setting with walks on the beach and yoga/stretching inside with views of the water. We have hired a masseuse to come three times during the week. That is really taking care of yourself!

This is great for this week and we’re all supporting each other. What happens when we go back to our regular lives? I, for one, admit that while I might give self-care attention, I can get wrapped up in what’s going on and not make it the priority I should. And, when I don’t take care of myself, I’m not at my best when I work on my business. If you are in the same place, here are some thoughts.

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Secure Your Own Mask First

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

securemask

This week I am in Dallas on business and am fitting in a visit with one of my cousins. This required an airline flight from Baltimore. Of course, on the flight I heard the safety warnings, including the following:

“If cabin pressure should change, panels above your seat will open revealing oxygen masks; reach up and pull a mask towards you. … The plastic bag will not fully inflate, although oxygen is flowing. Secure your own mask first before helping others.”

When I first heard this years ago, my initial thought was that it seemed selfish. Shouldn’t you take care of those who can’t take care of themselves?

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Do You Practice Self-Care?

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

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Did you ever get the message to slow down? Well, I got it big time last week when I fell, requiring eight stitches at my elbow, only to have most of those stitches pop out and get restitched with nine more. I know I tend to be full steam ahead at times, so this was a not-so-subtle hint to take a break.

 

If I go and look back over the past couple of months, I have not paid as much attention to my own self-care as I have in the past. Perhaps the biggest problem is that while I might give it attention, I do not make it the priority I should.

 

What exactly is self-care and why is it important?

 

Self-care includes any intentional actions you take to care for yourself on a physical, emotional or spiritual level. It is individual and what works for me may or may not work for you. I also think of it as doing things today that will make me feel good now and later.

 

Self-care is important because if you do not take care of yourself first, you are no good to others. Remember the oxygen mask talk from airline travels. The flight attendant tells you to put your mask on before helping others.

 

How do you practice self-care?

 

For each of us that looks different. One of my favorite resources when I talk about self-care is The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson. Cheryl offers you 12 strategies (one for each month). Here are three.

 

1. Find Your Own Rhythm and Routine. Routines add stability and create balance in your life. Even routines at work make you more productive. Do not think of routine as boring!

 

To create your own rhythm and routine, Cheryl suggests asking yourself this question, “What one routine could I put in place this month that would improve my life the most?”

 

Next, write the routine down on an index card. Make a plan of how to incorporate this into your life. Keep the card in view where it reminds you of your commitment. After a week, consider if you feel more relaxed, balanced, or less overwhelmed.

 

Some of the routines I have are a walk each morning with friends, a meditation practice, breakfast and dinner with my husband, an evening walk with my husband and our dog. I know I need to work on getting my yoga practice back to a routine.

 

2. Create an Absolute No List. I imagine I am not the only person who has ever said yes to things she does not want to do.

 

It is just as important to know what you are willing to do as it is to know what you are not willing to do! Try to create a list of what you will not tolerate in your life. You do this to honor your own self-care. When Cheryl asked her friends for their examples, she got such “no’s” as live without pets; eat meat; finish reading books that lose my interest; feel bad about saying no when it is the best thing for me; do my own housecleaning; do my own taxes; and take phones calls during dinner. Your life will work better if you set these boundaries.

 

Cheryl suggests that when you start to put together your Absolute No List, you pay attention to how it feels in your body. Do activities cause tension or make you feel edgy? This is a sign to consider. Post the list where you can see it and imagine how it will make a difference in your life.

 

What is on my absolute no list? It includes not traveling early in the morning back from trade shows or other events. I used to take the early morning flight thinking I did not want to waste all the day, and I only ended up tired the next day. Now, I get a good night’s sleep and arrive home refreshed and ready to face the next day.

 

3. Learn to Disappoint. Is the reason you say yes (when you really don’t want to) because you do not want to disappoint? Do you take on tasks that don’t add to your life because you do not want to let someone down? My guess is we have all done this.

 

Cheryl offers three guidelines to help you “disappoint” people the right way:

 

    • Buy some time by telling the person you need to get back to them and let them know upfront that you may not be able to oblige.

 

    • Ask yourself if it is really something you would like to do using a scale of 1 to 10. I love Cheryl’s questioning that if you knew the person would not be angry or disappointed, would you say no.

 

    • Tell the truth with grace and love. She suggests being honest about how you feel, telling the truth directly in one or two sentences, asking how you can get the person the help they need if it is appropriate.

 

While I gave you some strategies and a resource, it’s important to remember that much of self-care is about the attitude that you you matter and that your needs matter.

 

How are you treating yourself with compassion and caring for yourself? I would love to hear from you and what your techniques are. Just leave your thoughts below or on the ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.

 

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Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

 

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How Do You Handle Criticism?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Several weeks back I had a conversation with a colleague about her distress over a poor review of her book on Amazon. “But I want everyone to love the book,” she said, really meaning, “I want everyone to love me.” She believed that if someone did not like the book, they did not like her.

 

I think we can all fall into that trap, wanting to be liked. I can remember exactly when I decided I didn’t care if everyone liked me. I was working in the offices of an ad agency, and one of the men in the office told me he didn’t like me. Well, how could that be? I am truly likable. Then I thought about it and realized that I did not really like him. He had poor work habits, always sloughing his work onto someone else, and I generally did not like being around him. Why did I think I cared anyhow?

 

It is just not possible to avoid criticism. And, hey, it does hurt sometimes.

 

So how do you handle it? Here are some my thoughts.

 

  1. Only one opinion really matters, and that is yours. If you choose to take personal responsibility for yourself, then you will be open to criticism. You just have to accept that it happens, and as one of my friends says, “Get on your own horse and live your life.”

 

  1. With that said, I will look at the criticism and look at the critic. Do I know this person? Do I respect this person? Only then is it time to ask if there is some validity to their criticism and whether it is constructive.

 

  1. Try some journaling. Why is the criticism so hurtful to you? Does it bring up past hurts that you have not dealt with. Does it start you on a negative spiral? Why? Understanding how the criticism impacts you can help you in the future.

 

  1. Protect yourself from the criticism. I said that your opinion is the one that matters, so do not open yourself up to naysayers. If you are a book author, do not look at your reveiws on Amazon. If you get negative emails, have someone else handle your emails. Your job is to keep yourself in a positive, growing place so you can focus on what is important — and those negative reviews definitely are not!

 

  1. Remember the criticism is not about you. It is about them. It doesn’t make it not hurt, though it is nice to have the reminder.

 

Finally, remember the words of Zig Ziglar,

“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.”

 

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