In episode 078 Megan Porta talks directly to entrepreneurs about the necessity of taking care of yourself and how its a vital role in the success of your business.
We cover 20 ways you can start practicing self love from being a time protector, carving out time for creativity to making sleep a priority.
Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.
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Self care plays a vital role in your food blogging journey because the better you are taking care of yourself, THE MORE SUCCESSFUL YOUR BUSINESS WILL BE! The more creativity will flow through your content. The more money you will make. The clearer your visions will be and the more productive you will be.
In this episode we cover 20 ways you can start practicing self love:
Food bloggers tend to share the following qualities: we’re driven, hard working, creative and determined.
You can be prone to push yourself too far and too much which means you’ll likely burn out.
Megan knows the precursors to burn out for herself. When she starts noticing things about her mind and body that aren’t working, she knows to take a step back and pause until she can correct it.
Self-care is good for your mind and body but it also plays a vital role in the success of your business. Creativity will flow through your content, you will make more money, the clearer the visions will be and the more productive you’ll be.
It is so tempting to skip over self-care in order to hustle for your business, but it will be better off when you focus on yourself.
How to focus on self-care in your life starting today (20 tips!):
Schedule self-care and white space into your calendar daily and weekly. Every single day care for yourself, 10-15 minutes/day. Sit down with a blanket, take a nap, enjoy a cup of coffee, go for a walk. Other ideas: play with a pet, crank up the tunes, meditate, pray.
Nail time management – episode 058 is a great show to listen to for help in this area!
De-clutter your mind and life.
Make sleep a priority. Sleeping well is so important!
Remove resistance from your life. Delegate and automate whenever you can. Remove junk from your plate, use applications to make work faster and outsource undesired work.
Exercise and diet – if you do this regularly, you’ll see other areas of your life fall into place.
Protect your time – say no to the wrong things. This will help you build confidence and have clarity. Protect your time by knowing what you need to do and get that task done. Know and believe that no one will protect your time for you. It has to be a priority!
Carve out time for creativity – it can work magic on your soul. Ideas – cooking/baking, painting, knitting, crocheting, journaling and playing with your kids.
Create a joy list – schedule time to do them regularly. Going outside for a sunrise/sunset, staring out into an ocean, lying in a hammock on a summer evening, hugging a child and being in the moment, holding hands with a spouse, enjoying the smell of fresh cut grass or a breeze coming in through a window. Some of these can’t be scheduled outside a vacation or specific moment but others can.
Draw a well defined line between life and work. Following through is easier when it’s very clear. If you know you’re writing a copy for a specific time in the day and editing photos in the scope of an hour, it’ll help you remain strict on completing tasks and attend to your personal life more quickly.
Make time for loved ones away from home – you don’t want to go through isolation. In episode 073 you can get some great advice on this!
Create a morning routine that involves only YOU – everyone has needs in the morning and moms are busy taking care of everyone else’s needs. Moms often start the day hungry and not filled up. Proactively take care of yourself so you can start the day as best you can. Get out of bed 30 minutes before anyone else. Then you will be ready for the day! You’ll save yourself some sanity.
Plan and schedule your work so you know what to do immediately when you get to your day. This creates self-care space.
Nature and sunshine – force yourself outside on the days you need a little more love. Even if it’s cold and gloomy!
Avoid isolation – consider joining a co-working space, be intentional about leaving your home, volunteer, get to a food conference and make sure you’re not alone. These tips all help to take care of yourself.
Work on the RIGHT things – you don’t want to run ragged or lose time on the wrong things. Learn from Megan and focus on the right things so you don’t work yourself to death. Keep listening to EBT, we’ll help you keep on track!
Unplug from technology and social media – you can do this one NOW! There are good things about each of them but you can feel bad about yourself or unproductive, too.
Practice mindfulness – living in the moment is important. We are accustomed to racing thoughts and over-analyzing everything. Take note of the world around you. The more you do this, the easier it’ll become. It can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Ditch the guilt – it feels like it is hard-wired into our DNA but it’s not. We have to stop the guilt and remember to have grace with ourselves. Work through the “why” until you can come to a better place. You are doing your very best given your circumstances.
Sit with silence – it can be elusive but cherish it! Appreciate the quiet.
This list should inspire you! Don’t work on it all at once. Pick one of these points and give it your attention, perfect it before working on another. Just get started on one thing!
Feel free to download the self-care reminder I provided for you!
Lynette Rice talks to us in episode 073 about dealing with entrepreneurial isolation and tips to handle it.
Click for full text.
Hey Eat Blog Talkers! It’s just you and me hanging out today.. and I LOVE talking about the topic I’m going to dig into in this episode, which is self care.
Before we dive into that,
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Also, there is a new forum for food bloggers that is FREE.. and AWESOME. Hop over and contribute to the discussions going on at forum.eatblogtalk.com. We’ve started doing AMAs (or Ask Me Anything threads) that are becoming super popular and packed with value. My goal with this forum is to make it a super safe and positive place where food bloggers can share and glean information, yes.. but also where you can feel comfortable sharing your successes. Head over and check it out: forum.eatblogtalk.com!
Today let’s chat a little bit about self care.. One of the MAIN reasons I started this podcast was because with all of the things on our plates at any given moment, I see such a need for us food bloggers to be taking good care of ourselves. I think there’s a typical “mold” that food bloggers fall into and I don’t mean to stereotype or generalize here, but if you stand the test of time with food blogging.. That means that you are a certain type of person: you are most likely all of the following: you are driven, hardworking, creative and determined. Being all of those things is great! It’s what allows you to create incredible, valuable content and do all of the MANY things food bloggers do day in and day out.. week in and week out.. month after month and year after year.
However! This can also mean that you are an individual prone to pushing yourself too far and too much which also makes you prone to burnout. I have reached that dreaded burnout stage a handful of times in my food blogging journey and it is not a good place to be. The first (and worst) time I experienced it, it almost took me out.. I just about lost my sanity over it and I also almost left food blogging entirely. (It’s a miracle that I didn’t, actually.)
Thankfully I’ve never quite gotten to that place again, but I’ve come close. I come close a few times a year and that is really hard for me to admit.. Because I preach self care so passionately and I so strongly believe that it is a super valuable part of the equation. But it’s just proof that we are ALL works in progress. I’m certainly not perfect and I am always striving to be better in this area.
When it comes to my work, I PUSH myself, you guys.. hard.. and I know you are probably the same way! For me, pushing myself has not changed over the years. The only thing that HAS changed is that I now know the precursors to burnout and when I start noticing certain things about the way my mind and body are working.. Or NOT working.. I know to take a big step back until I can come back to a normal-ish baseline. Even this? I do realize, is not an ideal way to live. And this is why I so badly want to get to a place where I don’t even need to see those precursors.
Here’s a cool thing about self care and food blogging. Not only is self care important for ME? And YOU? Like, our actual minds and bodies? It also plays a vital role in the success of our businesses because.. the better we are taking care of ourselves? THE MORE SUCCESSFUL OUR BUSINESSES WILL BE!! The more creativity will flow through our content. The more money we will make. The clearer our visions will be and the more productive we will be.
So this isn’t just about taking care of our minds and bodies. It’s about taking care of our businesses, as well.
I know.. trust me I KNOW.. it is tempting to skip over taking care of US in order to hustle for the sake of our businesses.. but as counterintuitive as it may seem.. our businesses will be so much better off when we place a focus on US.
I’ve put a little list together for me and you.. for ALL of us.. and I hope this helps us all to take better care of ourselves so we can thrive and also so our businesses can thrive. I’ll talk you through the list now, but I also turned this into a graphic that you can grab in the show notes at eatblogtalk.com/selfcare.
- Schedule self care and white space into your calendar DAILY and WEEKLY. Every single day we should be making time to care for ourselves in some way, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes/day. My personal favorite self care tasks that I schedule into my calendar include: sitting down with a cozy blanket and good book, taking a nap, sitting on my deck with a cup of hot coffee or taking a walk by myself around my neighborhood at dusk (or really.. any time). A few other ideas that might resonate with you: playing with a pet, taking a drive and cranking up the tunes or doing yoga or meditation. Whatever your preferred form of self care is, it should be the FIRST thing that gets put into your calendar and it should be scheduled daily. Not only is this a sure way to make sure you DO it.. I also see it as being a statement you’re putting out into the universe. By making it a priority and putting it in your calendar before anything else, you are making the statement that YOU are important. Not in a narcissistic way, but in an “I need to take care of ME in order to operate” sort of way. Don’t get tripped up on excuses with this because that’s easy to do. If you WANT to make time for something, you CAN make time for it.. And self care is something you NEED to make time for.
- NAIL time management! Time management is a biggie with food bloggers because of all the different things we have to juggle. If you can figure out how to manage your time efficiently, space will open up before your eyes so you have more time to focus on YOU. I could spend ten podcast episodes talking about this topic alone so I won’t dive into this any further, but a good place to start is to listen to episode 058 titled “time: your most powerful secret weapon.”
- Declutter your mind and life. This is closely related to the last point because when you start spending your time more efficiently, you also start decluttering your life.. just as an automatic byproduct. I have an analogy I love using to illustrate the concept of decluttering. Think of your smart phone. If you set your phone on Low Power mode in order to preserve battery power, it reduces those tasks that go on in the background that you have no idea are actually happening. They’re invisibly using up the phone’s energy.. So minimizing or eliminating those background tasks allows the battery to focus on just what NEEDS to be done (that is, the tasks YOU tell it to do) so the battery lasts much longer. The same concept applies to YOU. If you have clutter filling your mind (so.. worry, discontent, fear, stress, anxiety, etc), then you are not optimally using your energy on the things you actually need to be focusing on like taking care of yourself. If you’re wondering where to start with decluttering, just start taking care of those things that are taking up unnecessary space in your brain. If there’s a relationship that is causing you strife, fix the strife! If your days are filled with little frustrations like having a constant sink full of dishes or a room full of dirty laundry, put habits and systems in motion that eliminate these stressors.
- Make sleep a priority. This is an obvious one, but one that gets overlooked. While I make plenty of space in my life for sleep, I do not always sleep well. I often wake up in the middle of the night thinking about WORK of all things.. I’m ready to troubleshoot my most recent obstacle at 3am or mentally assemble my next elaborate cake creation or figure out which big project I want to tackle next. I hate that I do this, but I do.. and it’s something I’m constantly trying to improve. Whatever your personal sleep issues might be, do your best to correct them because as we all know.. we are so much more capable and productive and CLEAR and able to make good decisions.. when we are well rested.
- Remove resistance from your life whenever possible. I cringe every time I see that quote about the path of least resistance leading to failure.. or however it goes. I mean.. I think we should all expect resistance in our businesses and just lives in general on some level.. and we should persevere through it to reach our goals, but there are so many instances when resistance can be easily removed from our lives in order to make things easier. If I have a choice between riding my bike into a strong headwind or with the wind blowing steadily at my back? I’m going to choose the option that involves the wind blowing at my back. We don’t have the option to make this choice in all situations, yes I get that, but sometimes we do! And when we do, we should choose less resistance. By removing unnecessary resistance from your life, you open up space to take care of yourself. So what exactly does this look like specifically with food blogging? Delegate and automate whenever you can. Streamline your workflows. Remove unnecessary junk from your plate. Learn keyboard shortcuts. Take advantage of people or services that will save you time like grocery delivery or outsourcing undesired work.
- Exercise and diet. Here’s another glaringly obvious one. If you can nail diet and exercise, so many other things fall into place on the self care spectrum. But it’s also one of the hardest things to conquer because.. well, we’re busy! And working out isn’t super fun. AND.. we’re food bloggers! We love food. We love cooking and baking and.. we love eating. Putting the right things into our mouths requires diligence and intentionality.. and exercising regularly requires discipline. But once you have this piece mastered, everything else gets SO MUCH easier. I am much more likely to take care of myself when I’m making good choices about what I put into my body and when I’m exercising regularly.
- Protect your time. I separated this from point number 2 because “time management” is an entirely different beast than being a “time protector.” Protecting your time fiercely is more about saying NO to the wrong things and when you get really good at doing this, you’ll build confidence and you will find clarity about the importance of taking better care of yourself. How do we become time protectors? Here are a few tips: figure out exactly what you need to be working on and DO THAT WORK. Figure out exactly what you need to do in order to be healthy mentally and physically and DO THOSE THINGS. Say NO to distractions. Know and believe that nobody is going to protect your time for you. You have to do it and it HAS to be a priority.
- Carve out time for creativity daily. For some reason, this is one of the most difficult points for me personally. Even though there are such massive rewards in the self-care arena that come bursting forth every time I allow myself to enter the creative world, I do not regularly make time for it. When I do, though? I notice that I feel EXTRA filled up. It’s like self care on steroids. Creativity works magic on my soul. Here are few ideas for creative outlets: cooking, baking (ah! Kill two birds with one stone with these because you’re also knocking out some work!), painting, knitting, crocheting, journaling or playing with your kids. This is actually one of my favorite tricks of all time. Every single time I spend quality time with my boys, I end up tapping into their kid magic that always elicits creativity.
- Make a list of those things that bring you complete JOY and schedule them into your life on a regular basis. I have a list on the notes app on my phone of the things that bring me joy. I call it my joy list.. a few of the things on my list include: being outside in the early morning just after the sun has risen or in the evening right before the sun sets, staring out into an ocean while salt water splashes around my feet, lying in a hammock on a warm summer evening, wrapping my arms tightly around one of my boys and just cherishing being in the moment with them, traveling in our RV in the summer, holding hands with my husband, the smell of freshly cut grass, staring into a crackling fire, feeling a cool breeze blow in through my windows, crisp cool fall air, the smell of a rain storm coming, vacation with my family.. Now, obviously I can’t schedule all of these things into my life on a regular basis, but some I can! I refer to my joy list on days when life is just tough and I’m struggling to find peace. I figure out a way to incorporate even just one of my personal joys into my day. This is such a good way to make sure I’m taking care of myself, even on the rough days.
- Draw a well-defined line between work and life. I’m definitely one who needs boundaries drawn for myself, which is why I do well with keeping stringent weekly calendars. I follow through when things are very CLEAR.. for example, tomorrow I’ll be writing blog post copy about how to make goulash in the Instant Pot from 8-9:30am and I’ll be editing those photos from 9:30-11am and so on.. If you operate in a similar way, then consider being strict about separating work time and “life” time. I love something Karli from cooking with karli mentioned in episode 77.. she declares a “no phone zone” every single day from 4-7pm. No exceptions, she draws a line that separates work from family, which is just another way that she is taking care of herself. Consider making a similar rule for yourself and I promise you’ll soon notice a decrease in stress.
- Make time for loved ones AWAY FROM HOME. As much as most of us love working from home, it can end up leading to feelings of isolation if we’re not careful. (listen to episode 73 where Lynette from cleverly simple gives us solid advice about ways to combat this). I see the act of stepping away from home to intentionally spend time with loved ones as a HUGE display of self care. This is how it typically goes for me.. I plan a lunch date with a friend or even my husband and when it comes time to leave the house for it I’m feeling put out and midly annoyed. But after filling my spirit up with people I love being with and talking to.. I am SO GLAD I got out of the house and made it happen.
- Create a morning routine that involves ONLY YOU. I’m confident that if you ask any mom on the planet who has young kids how their mornings typically go, most of them would reply with: “Mornings are crazy!” Mornings are by default stressful because everyone has needs in the morning! Making sure our bodies and teeth are clean enough to show in public, eating breakfast, finding clean clothes to wear, preparing a lunch for the day.. Moms are really good about diving into the day hungry and exhausted and NOT filled up because we’re taking care of everyone else’s needs and completely ignoring our own. When we proactively figure out a way to take care of ourselves before taking care of anyone else, serious magic happens. It’s like the oxygen masks on airplanes, right? Don’t even think about helping anyone else with their mask until you have a steady stream of oxygen flowing into your own nostrils. Give the following a try for one week and I promise you will feel like a new woman by the end of the week: Get out of bed 30 minutes before anyone else in the house and sit quietly with your thoughts, pray, meditate, journal, exercise.. do whatever will fill you up the most, so when the rest of your family hops out of bed you will be READY for it all. It’s so hard to part with that 30 minutes of sleep, but the sanity you save yourself is so worth it.
- Plan and schedule your work so you know what’s coming. On those weeks when I don’t schedule my work ahead of time.. THOSE are the weeks when I feel like I’m wandering around lost and confused. And I neglect my own needs on weeks like this 100% of the time. When I know what’s coming with work tasks, it opens up mental space for me to take better care of ME. This point is closely tied to #3 (decluttering your life) because mental clutter breeds chaos.. every single time and without fail. Planning and scheduling your work creates self care space.
- Nature! Sunshine! Another one of my little self care tricks is FORCING myself outside on those days when I know I need to show myself a little love. Nature and sunshine works wonders on my spirit, even on cold, gloomy days.
- Avoid isolation. I talked about this briefly in point 11, but food blogging is isolating and this can make unhealthy mental states a reality. I’m going to run through just a few of the points Lynette brought up in episode 73 regarding ways to avoid feeling isolated.. consider joining a coworking space, join a mastermind group that meets regularly, attend conferences, be intentional about leaving your home regularly, volunteer.. and find a trusted friend who will hold you accountable with all of this. Making sure you are NOT isolating yourself is a great way to take care of yourself.
- Make sure you are working on the right things. I worked on SO MANY “wrong” things in my business literally for years at a time.. and during those uh stretches (my first 8 years of blogging..) I was spinning my wheels, running myself RAGGED and totally unable to care for myself properly because I was freaking exhausted. And I didn’t even have wild success to help ease the pain. So learn from my mistakes.. make sure you are working on the RIGHT things before you work yourself to death. How do you do this? Well.. keep listening to EBT and we’ll tell you what you need to be paying attention to.
- Unplug from technology or social media. This is one of my favorite self care tips because it’s the easiest to employ NOW.. like today, this very minute you can do this one. Set technology OR just social media aside for a period of time. The amount of time your break is will vary depending on your personal situation. Whether it’s a 3-hour chunk of time.. or 24 hours, a week or a month? ..your break WILL positively affect your mental well being. Technology is great and social media is, too, but an overdose of it can make us feel horribly about ourselves and just plain strung out.
- Practice mindfulness. Finding that place where you can live in the present moment eliminates so much stress and worry. It is NOT easy to do this, though. We’re so accustomed to having constantly racing thoughts and it’s our default to worry and stress and fret and over-analyze every single thing.. When I first started practicing mindfulness I had NO idea where to start with it because I was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, but I think a good place to start is to just start noticing things in each moment. Take note of the world around you as much as you can. The more you do it, the easier it’ll be.. and building your mindfulness muscle will reduce stress and anxiety, which will inevitably free up space to take better care of YOU.
- Ditch the guilt. Guilt is the WORST, am I right?! I hate guilt. And I feel it so often, it seems, totally involuntarily as if it is hard-wired into the woman-mom DNA. I feel guilty about the time I spend working, the time I spend NOT working, the lack of time I spend with my husband and friends and how few family dinners we sit down for each week. I mean, seriously.. I could go on and on with this. The truth is, though, I’m doing my best given my current situation and so are you. We all are. It’s completely pointless to feel guilty about things and it takes up unnecessary space in our heads. Also, guilt attracts behaviors that breed guilt.. so STOP THE GUILT. (This lecture is as much for ME as it is for you.) Have grace with yourself. When I stop and really think through a situation I’m feeling guilty about it helps So much. An example is our lack of family dinners. My guilt over this topic was off the charts for years.. more than a decade. We do not sit down as a family and eat dinner together very often. When I dissected this, though, it bothered me only because I hear so often from others how important it is to come together as a family once a day. But my husband and I make daily time for togetherness with our boys in other ways. We spend time together as a family every morning, chatting, asking about the day ahead, preparing breakfast, recounting dreams, etc.. And we spend quality time together every evening, although not necessarily at the dinner table, playing chess, blaring the speakers in our house and dancing or enjoying the latest Marvel movie together. We make a lot of really quality time for each other on a regular basis and once I clearly saw this? I ditched the guilt about not eating dinner as a family every night. If there is something that consistently brings up those guilty feelings, work through the WHY until you can bring yourself to a better place. Because YOU are doing your very best given YOUR unique circumstances and I truly believe that. Removing guilt from your life will lighten your mental load and give you an automatic dose of self-love.
- Sit with silence. Ohhh silence. How I long for quiet. It’s so elusive.. isn’t it? Sitting with silence is one of my most cherished things in the world. When we take family vacations my husband and I find the absolute most quiet, peaceful place nearby and we take turns going to that place.. alone. And we sit.. and just absorb whatever beauty surrounds us and we appreciate the silence. This is one of my favorite things about going on vacation because in our normal everyday life it’s so much more difficult to make the time to sit with silence like this. There is such power in in, though, because it completely invigorates me and fills me up in a way that NOTHING else does. I encourage you to find slices of quiet time in your days and sit with them. Just sit. That’s all you have to do. It’s like a silent tank of love just filling you up slowly.
This list is meant to spark ideas for you, food bloggers. It’s not a list you should tackle all at once. If you’re looking for ways to work on loving yourself a little bit more, pick one of these points and give it your full attention and effort before digging into another. Perfection is not the idea. Just getting started is the idea.. Self care is a massively important piece of the puzzle when it comes to being a well-adjusted human being and also a successful food blogger. If you want to watch your business take off in a whole new way (and I know you do.. because that’s why you’re listening!), put an intentional focus on taking better care of yourself.
For visual reminders about ways you can do this, feel free to download and print the document in the show notes for this episode: eatblogtalk.com/selfcare.
Here’s to taking better care of ourselves in 2020! Thanks for listening today, amazing food bloggers and I’ll catch you next time..
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