Self-Care and Mindfulness for Creative Entrepreneurs

Photo by: Amanda Ellis Photography

It’s become very clear to me after speaking with so many different creatives over the last few years that we all have something in common. Time and again I hear them say that they’re exhausted. That they’re on the edge of burnout. That they’re running so much that they forget to take care of themselves.

And as a small business owner, we all know that if you’re not at your best, then your business can’t be at its best either.

During the last year or so, the term self care has also been tossed around everywhere you look. And while I think that the thought of getting mani/pedis and long bubble baths sounds fantastic, I’m a firm believer that there’s so much more to self-care than that.

Something I can’t stress enough is that self-care can and should look different to every single person reading this article. What might work for me, won’t work for you- and that’s OK!

It’s called self care for a reason!

For me, yoga became my form of self care 8 years ago when my anxiety and panic attacks were at their peak. A friend suggested I give yoga a try and I mean it when I say it has truly changed my life. So much in fact that I became a yoga teacher 5 years ago with the hopes of helping others feel the relief I felt after establishing a regular yoga practice.

Whether you get your self care through yoga or crossfit, running or reading, knitting or bible study – it’s important to find something that’s good for your own mental wellness. Self care can even look like getting up from your desk every hour to take a break from editing and emails to do a few stretches, grab a cup of coffee or take a walk outside. Whatever self care looks like for you, I want you to be fully aware of how you feel, body, mind and spirit, when you are doing that activity.  It won’t be easy, but you absolutely need to take time to focus on YOU. Not your spouse, not your kids, not your business: but you!

Too often as creatives, we forget that we’re human beings and that first and foremost we need to take care of ourselves. We’re trying to be everything to everybody and that gets exhausting. Please don’t get me wrong, it’s easy to do when you love your job. But, in the long run, you and your business will suffer if you keep this up.

I firmly believe that as a creative economy, we can do better. We HAVE to do better.

I read a quote a few years ago and it truly struck a chord with me that I want to share with you.

“Self care isn’t always lush bath bombs and $20 face masks. Sometimes it’s going to bed at 8 p.m. or letting go of a bad friend. It’s forgiving yourself for not meeting your impossible standards and understanding that you’re worth it.”

Your self care needs to come first; before your business, before your clients, and before your friends and family.

If you’re not taking care of yourself first, then all of those areas in your life will suffer. That’s not fair to anyone.

3 Ways to Make Self Care a Priority:

Step 1: Discover what your version of self-care looks like.

What fills you up and makes you feel joy? Is it working out or attending a fitness class? Is it starting a book club or attending a mom’s group? Maybe you love to paint or doodle on an iPad, or work a puzzle or crochet. Perhaps you’re happiest when you meditate in the morning or take a long walk in nature. Your version of self care shouldn’t feel forced, so I would encourage you to find something that makes you feel content and truly happy.

Step 2: Put it in your calendar!

Treat your version of self care like you would any other appointment or meeting. Write it down in your planner or add it to your Google calendar so you can see it on your to do list. I find that if you add it into your schedule, you’re more likely to follow through with this commitment to yourself.

Step 3: Don’t make excuses. (I mean it!)

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by your never-ending to-do list. But if you don’t make your self care a priority, then you’ll always find a reason as to why you can’t do it. So even if this is technically adding something else to your list, it’s something that’s absolutely necessary for your health and happiness.

During the month of December, and every month from then on, I want you to schedule time daily, weekly and monthly to truly focus on something that fills you up and makes you feel joy.

Remember, it doesn’t have to take up your whole day; it may just be 20-30 minutes. I can promise you that when you’re finally able to balance your self care with every other aspect of your life and business, then you can truly experience the benefits of being fully present in every moment of your life.

Give it a try and let me know how you feel!

Allison Ewing

Allison Ewing is a wedding & lifestyle photographer in Cleveland, Ohio and a 200-hour registered yoga teacher on a never-ending quest to make people happy doing what she loves most! Outside of photography and yoga, Allison is a Digital Communications Specialist known for spending too much time on Instagram, talking to anyone and everyone and using too many exclamation points!! In her spare time, Allison loves to explore Northeast Ohio trails with her husband and their chocolate lab, Bogart, indulge in a Chipotle burrito or grab a cup of coffee with friends. She firmly believes that any bad day can be cured with a Michael Buble playlist and a new Vera Bradley purse.