How to prioritise your mental and physical wellbeing amidst a busy schedule
As I lifted my camera kit into my car I felt something go pop in my back and I realised I had a serious problem. After years of relentless seven day work weeks and attempting to push through severe burnout because I was too scared to take a break, my body called time on the crazy schedule.
This was back in February 2016 and it was a massive wakeup call.
Thankfully my back injury required nothing more than a couple of weeks of bed rest. But it was at that point I realised how much my physical and mental wellbeing affected my ability to work and how terribly I’d been taking my health for granted.
If, like me, you’re a self employed entrepreneur, your ability to serve your clients and deliver creative work depends on being able to mentally and physically function, focus and show up fully. If you can’t, you’ve got a big problem and your lack of profit will likely be a symptom of it.
Many creatives operate under the false belief ‘if I don’t work, I don’t get paid’ and this, coupled with the hustle and grind mentally we’re surrounded by and the celebration of being busy, doesn’t leave much room for enjoying life, having fun or heaven forbid, resting.
Even after being laid out flat on my back (literally) it took quite some time for my mindset to shift from ‘busy equals success’ to ‘it’s ok to rest’.
And it is ok to rest.
When I was at my busy peak, I was simply getting through one photo shoot so I could get to the next one. Hardly a conducive state of mind for coming up with creative ideas or delivering a great experience for my clients. Post the back injury I made some changes. This included: hiring a business coach, doubling my prices, rebranding my business to appeal to a higher level clientele, making the time to create new work and scheduling time off.
I changed my business set up so I could take control of my time and look after myself better.
Self care is vital to your creative success and it’s easy to be lulled into thinking you have to book weekly massages, lie in the bath for hours at a time or jet off for weekends away to do it. Looking after your wellbeing is something you can attend to daily in small, manageable ways and I think taking the time each day to check in with yourself and attend to your physical and mental needs is far more effective than the odd getaway.
Here are some ideas for daily self care:
- 5 mins of meditation
- 10 mins of yoga, walking, stretching or dancing
- Drinking an herbal tea instead of a coffee
- Getting a good nights sleep
- Taking an afternoon off
- Going to bed earlier
- A coffee (or herbal tea) in the garden
- 10 minutes playing with your dog or your child
- Taking a nap
- A phone chat with a friend
If you’ve read this and the thought or fitting even a small 5 minute meditation into your schedule seems impossible, please book an exploratory call with me. Working seven day weeks and crazy long days isn’t healthy and it’s a sign that there are some business pieces not quite working. Being busy isn’t necessarily a sign that you’re successful. I’m here to help, please get in touch.