You know how the safety presentation on planes goes, “Put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others”. This makes so much sense. You are of no use to yourself or anyone around you if you’re unable to breathe. While it makes a lot of sense, it’s hard to practice. We know that taking care of ourselves first is vital but it’s so easy to neglect.
I’m going to list things that I or someone I know has done while shoving their self care to the side. I think you’ll identify with at least some of these.
- Not sleeping enough each night
- Not taking a shower on a regular basis and then not actually noticing because you’re so busy with your work
- Thinking that your non-business interests are a waste of time
- Missing important events with friends or family
- Eating food that is terrible for you because you “don’t have time” to cook
- Not drinking enough water
- Not exercising because you “don’t have time”
- Putting off getting your hair cut/colored because you “don’t have the time”
- Putting off doctor or dentist appointments for work
- Feeling disconnected from your partner or children because all you do is work
- Feeling anxious as hell because there is always something to be done and the list never ends
- Forgetting to eat meals
- Pushing yourself so hard that you burn out and then get frustrated by having to take some down time to recover
- Skipping that yoga class you love because you can’t take 30-60 minutes away from work
- Not taking breaks – ever.
Do any of these sound familiar?
The reason this is top of mind for me right now is kind of weird. I have been straight up addicted to caffeine for years and Pepsi Max is my vice. A month ago, I moved to the US after living in the UK for 6 years. Once I got here I started feeling like shit and I couldn’t figure out why. I thought it would be a good idea to go without drinking soda for a few days. I felt AWESOME.
After a lot of research I realized that I haven’t had high fructose corn syrup in 6 years and my body just seems to reject it now. The same thing happened the last time I was in the US but it only makes sense now that I think about it.
Why am I telling you this? Because I was only willing to give up something I knew was bad to me when it made me physically ill. I’ve been eating total garbage because it helped me maintain my pace and made cooking easier. I thought it was saving me time until it knocked me on my ass and I had to spend a full day in bed.
I am all for being productive and saving time but we have got to stop worshipping at the altar of busy. We sacrifice our health, our happiness, our everything just so we can keep flying through life at 100mph. We will keep that up until we fly face first into a brick wall and that’s the only thing that will stop us. I think we need to slow down. Here’s what I’m doing in order to slow myself down:
- I will spend extra time at the grocery store to examine the ingredients of the food I buy so it doesn’t make me sick.
- I will stop treating my body like it’s something that can wait until I do “just this one more thing”. I’m setting a time in my calendar to get up and out each day so I spend time outside and get some exercise.
- I will stop making myself feel bad when I take a day for myself instead of working.
- I will set hard deadlines for myself. That means going to bed at a certain time and putting my work down at a certain time. It’s hard because I love doing it. I’m sure you know the feeling.
Entrepreneurs are notorious for neglecting self care. It’s not easy but I’m committed to improving. Will you join me? What will you do to improve your self care?