Ah, the infamous “I don’t have time to take care of myself.”
As business owners, entrepreneurs, wives, husbands, parents, cousins, neighbors—we often are the last person we take care of. And why is that? Because not caring for ourselves seemingly doesn’t affect anyone else. It’s not letting anyone else down.
The truth of the matter is, by not caring for ourselves we are quietly letting down everything around us.
This week on The Gutsy Podcast . . .
We’re going to talk about how the health of your business depends on the health of your mind and body. It’s really challenging to run a successful business and put your all in when your mind and body are busted as hell. We live in a society where being busy and running ourselves into the ground is glorified. We equate success with having to be busy.
And I’m going to put you guys on the stand here and say you—perhaps—glorify the shit out of your busy lives, too.
“Oh, I had to go here and drop this person off there. And then I had to work late. And I had this dance class there. A violin class here. Gosh, and I had three different meetings today. Then a conference call until midnight. And, and—I didn’t even have time to eat today.”
“We wear that like a motherfucking badge.”
Like at the end of the day we expect some sort of trophy for being so busy that we couldn’t even feed ourselves. So it becomes this glorious role in life that people look up to and think, “Oh my gosh, Amy is so special. She does so much stuff that she can’t even feed herself.” Now everyone wants to be like Amy because she looks like she has it all together. She wears nice clothes, her business is operating great and growing. So we assume that to achieve what she has, we have to do what she does.
Now, I don’t know who that quote-unquote Amy is in your life, but I want you to stop idolizing them today because what you’re probably NOT seeing is—that person doesn’t feel so great. They’re not taking care of themselves. They’re tired all the time. They have put on such a strong front that now they feel the need to maintain it.
You can be successful without running your health into the ground.
Yes, sometimes there are seasons that require more of you. Yes, sometimes you are going to be way busier than you normally are. But none of those are a good enough reason or excuse to put your health in a hand basket and send it to hell.
Look, I’m just as notorious for this as anyone else. In fact, one of my biggest areas of slip-ups, when I get busy, is FOOD. When I have a lot going on at work, a lot of mental saturation, the last thing I want to do when I get home is cook. So from time to time, AJ and I get in these ruts and routines where we just go out to eat because guess what? Then we don’t have to cook. We don’t have to clean. We don’t have to figure it out. We don’t have to go to the grocery store. Boom, problem solved. Right?
HA, uh, no. It snowballs.
“Well, now I don’t have lunch for the next day. So I’ll just go out and grab something while I’m at work.” Then that night I go home and we’d go out to dinner again… Thus the cycle returns. Over and over and over again.
Not only is that not physically healthy, but it’s not financially healthy, either. We all know you could cook the same meal at home for probably a third of the cost as if you would go out. AND in the time it takes to go out to dinner + go out for lunch the next day, one of those trips could have been spent on a grocery trip. And then making the dinner could be maximized by planning out our week.
By saying “I don’t have the time or energy to make dinner,” it’s just an excuse to justify a comfortable and bad behavior I’ve just grown used to.
Guys, I know it’s a lot.
Exercise here and go there and eat this way and don’t do that and sleep more and take better care of yourself and do a nighttime face regimen. Look, you can’t master everything. But you can start with a couple of small things. Which areas are affecting your health the most? What are some small changes you can implement on a regular basis to make a positive impact?
When you neglect your body—it will get louder and louder and louder.
Ailments, sicknesses, fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression—you name it. It’s not going to go away until you give it attention. And if you don’t, eventually, your body is going to be like, “Hmm, well if you’re not going to help me have a timeout, I’m going to put you in a timeout.”
And there’s nothing worse than having to be down versus choosing to be down.
And guess what? Your body’s not going to choose the most convenient time. Like, “Oh look, Sally has this Saturday through Monday open. We should just completely fall apart then.” No. It’s going to wait until you’ve got a bunch of deadlines. You’re supposed to travel somewhere. You’ve got a big project coming up. It’s going to explode at the time where you need YOU the most.
A good friend of mine, Mary Kate McKenna, owner of Mary Kate McKenna Photography, said: “If you are doing well, that’s not the same as being well.”
You, your business, your life, your family—could all be doing well. But if you’re not physically and mentally feeling well, performing at your optimal level, then you are robbing yourself and everyone around you of a higher version of who you are.
So, we have adopted this mindset that by caring for yourself, you’re being selfish. I’m going to stop you right there. We’re going to flip that table around and say, “By not taking care of myself, I am robbing myself and everyone around me from something. Everyone in my business, my family, and in my immediate circle will benefit greater when I have invested in my own self. ”
And if that’s not enough for you to change a habit, I want you to reframe it even further. I want you to say “By not caring for myself, I’m accepting to not care about my clients, my employees, my family, and my friends.” Because not caring for you doesn’t just affect you—it affects everything and everyone that you touch.
I don’t have time to take care of me . . .
If you have convinced yourself that you don’t have time to take care of you, I want you to take out a journal and just for two or three days write down every activity you do. This includes pulling up the settings on your phone and documenting how much time you’re spending on social media, how many hours of TV you’re watching, how much time you spend eating out or traveling to go to those places, and any other activities you spend your time doing.
You’re going to find out real quick that you actually have quite a bit of time. You have just chosen to use it differently.
I was reading an article on Huffington Post about how your health affects your business and they had quite the mic-drop quote. So we, particularly when it comes to working out, say things like “I’m too busy. I can’t go to the gym. I can’t do this.” Well, this article laid down the law and said, “You’re not too busy to work out. You’re just unwilling to sacrifice your lazy time to work out.”
It’s way easier to lounge on the couch, to stay in bed too long, or to just not do anything than it is to get up and physically move your body to the point where its sweats.
Veg-out time is great, BUT, you carry A LOT of stress on our plate. Right? You do a lot of things. Have to make a lot of decisions. So your brain is always going. Give your body the time it needs to release some of that. Working out is an enormously healthy way to channel anxiety and turn it into something productive that will ultimately help you and your body.
What You Eat
When thinking about your health, the foods you put in your body have an enormous impact. So I want you to really start evaluating what you’re eating and how you’re feeling after.
As much as I love going to get fajitas, chips, salsa, and cheese dip—after I eat that, I feel like a freaking ton of bricks. So be mindful of the way food makes your body feel and consciously think about the stuff you’re eating.
Now, you don’t have to change your entire diet. You don’t have to cut out entire food groups. You don’t have to get all a-wall and start only eating spinach because that’s the new thing. We’re talking about little adjustments, like maybe it’s two extra bottles of water a day versus the coke that you were going to go grab. Maybe it’s taking the leftovers versus going through the drive-thru. You don’t have to uproot and change everything in your entire house in order to eat and feel healthy.
Sleep Sleep Sleep
One of the other big ones, sleep. I love sleep. Sleep is my friend. I welcome it into my heart and into my arms and I have learned (especially as I start to get older) that my body shuts down and HAS to sleep. Now, if you’re one of those crazy, awesome people that can run on four hours of sleep, more power to you. But me, I need a solid seven or eight hours to even be able to function.
One of the most important parts about sleep is not only going to bed at a reasonable time, but what we do right before and after it.
Look at the habits you have prior to bed and even waking up in the morning and say, “How can I start to change some of these habits so that I can give myself a little bit more rest time?” Maybe it’s going to bed a half an hour earlier or plugging your phone in the kitchen versus on the nightstand. It might be not grabbing the phone as soon as you wake up in the morning. Whatever it is, there are some small changes you can make to allow yourself time to sleep.
Your mental health is a serious matter and I need you to start treating it like that, guys, because it’s impossible to function and run a business when your mental health is off.
There are lots of different ways you can utilize healthy mental-health habits. Sometimes it’s just as simple as having fun, right?
If you haven’t laughed in a while, I want you to find a scenario where you can just laugh unapologetically. Because when you laugh, your brain literally sets off all the feel good, happy chemicals that are in your brain. Give yourself permission to be silly, have fun, dance—whatever it is that makes you happy, I want you to give yourself time and space to do those things.
It could also just be downtime. Reading a great book, lounging on the couch (because we all need those times as well). If it’s something deeper, something more mental that needs worked through, seek out trusted advisers, therapists, business mentors, executive coaches. Allow people in that can help you shift whatever is holding you back.
The Point Is . . .
You are worth your time, money, and effort to care for your own self. At the end of the day—you are the only thing and person you have. So take care of the body you have been given, the mind you were blessed with, and the insane amount of untapped potential within you. When you have mental clarity and the physical abilities to do these things, not only will you impact yourself—but you’ll be a better person for everyone around.
Tune into the full episode above to hear more on my BIGGEST SLIP-UP (food food food), my tattooed chef sidekick, my secret weapon for working out (helllo Peloton), and all the in-between with sacrificing things to achieve better health.
Until then, follow The Gutsy Podcast on Facebook and Instagram or for more business insights, follow me on Instagram @thatlauraaura. See ya next time!
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