6 Brutally Honest Pieces of Advice About Self Care No One Will Tell You

As entrepreneurs we can be so terrible at taking care of ourselves. We pride ourselves on working super long hours and slaving away at our studio desks.

Have you ever worked all day and into the night without realizing you never stopped to get a bite to eat (unless you count the stale PB&J you found in the micro fridge this morning)?

Well, then you probably know what I am talking about.

It happens to so many of us when we love what we do, we are so focused on getting the project done that self-care completely disappears.



What I have learned though is that the business leaders, the entrepreneurs who have amazing businesses, who have built long-term and successful careers and brands, know the importance of carving out space to care for yourself. You see those nights where we stay up all night working on projects without the thought of caring for anything else are not sustainable.

Long-term success happens when we make our living sustainable.

It's time that we start managing our health and well-being with a major dose of honesty.

Let's launch our business, and ourselves into a better, smiling, and happier new you. We can look at at few of the ways we are told to do that, and how they might not be completely true.

ME...working and talking business.
I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE SAY:

“You just need to get control of your life”

You are not in control, you never were nor will you ever be. 
Life goes on without regard to our plans. Accept it, and know right now—just plan on being a good problem solver...

As my mom put's it, "LET THAT SHIT GO."

I know, I usually don't swear but a little emphasis here is important.

Pile of laundry to fold? Let it wait. 

Dishes in the sink?  It will wait.  

You can't control your life, and it won't be perfect, life is better when it's a little messy so stop trying to make things perfect.

We have to be flexible in our quest for control. Something always has to give in order to make adjustments in what life brings. Things like housework might be the most visible chaos but it's the easiest thing to put off for a little bit. You will get it done, your home doesn't have to be Pinterest or Insta worthy for Petes sake. Stop feeling like things have to be perfect in order to have a happy life.

I know that I am not in control. It's when I forget that I can't control things that I get myself into trouble and I start to doubt my purpose, direction and life in general. I have to consistently remind myself to put things back into the Lords hands.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

God never said to quit working hard for a purpose, he just wants you to quit working for the things that aren't important.

Stop trying to make other people happy, stop worrying about people liking you. You are already loved, and still loved when the dishes sit in the sink, and when the garden isn't tended, or the children are dirty from play, or when dinner isn't on the table at 6 pm.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT:

You may not be in control of your life but you can roll with the punches. If anything this whole pandemic thing, racial injustice, social distancing and being stuck at home for hours with young kids will teach us, we are not in control but we can learn to roll with the rising tide if you will.

Setting up a plan and a system seems to help with chaos and when we are feeling most out of control is the perfect time to implement something. Set up some kind of a system.

For me I use a piece of paper and schedule out my day so that I can get the most important things done and make a side list of all the other things that need addressed. I pick and choose my battles, and I do this a lot with my 6 and 4 year old. I am telling you though, when we feel out of control we can create some order with a simple schedule.

I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE SAY:

“You need to find balance”

Balance is not a real thing.

Time for children, time for business, time for my husband...what an odd conundrum.. I live and breath kids and business!  (See I forgot my husband for a second.)

I Get up with them, make breakfast, change diapers, clean skid marks, clean the bathroom for little boys whose aim isn't great (or dead on if they aimed for that towel), answer emails, find 5 minutes to work, make Lunch...Homework...

Dinner 

Baths 

Beds

Wipe Noses

Monitor Fevers

Take kids out of trees

Untangle shoelaces

Tie shoes

Find shoes

Clean shoes

Match socks

Find socks

Fold clothes

Wash clothes

Mend clothes

Buy clothes

Hang clothes

Find clothes...

And somehow I manage to fit work into all the crazy.

I hate it when people say, "You just need to find balance." What the heck seriously?

When you are a working stay at home mom trying to keep different people and things in an equal or correct proportion is an impossible task. Something always falls behind. It doesn't matter how hard I try.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT:

On the weekends when I am outside working or playing, the inside of my house falls apart and If I am inside working or playing, the outside falls apart and weeds seem to pop up everywhere. You see, life isn't about balance it' is about prioritizing. It's about prioritizing your values! You already have values, and they probably are the ones that are sticky-noted on your studio desktop, if you are savvy on your own branding.

Have you wondered why the word, "values" is such a buzzword now days? Well to start, It's a marketing buzz word that helps you align your business values with your marketing message, touchpoints, and strategies. Another reason it's so popular is because the more we try to do as humans—and the better we try to do them—keeping our true sense of our purpose and true meaning of life in focus becomes impossible.

You see, I help people define their business values all the time, and they stem from our personal values and we live and work according to them.

Be honest with yourself for a second...have you checked in recently to see if your values and priorities are on track with your business priorities? Your values change depending on where you are at in business, and they drive how you and your company functions, and your life too.

Your values are hiding in your schedule. Your priorities and what they communicate can be kind of frightening.

Trying to balancing your values doesn't make sense does it? Something has to take precedence. What does your schedule tell you—or rather, what you are telling your schedule? Are you valuing work more than family, and if you’re not okay with that, it’s time to make a change. This isn’t rocket science it's just something we have to take stock of and for many of us the pressure of working at home and our family tasks, we tend to miss it.

Ultimately we all vote our priorities with each thing we schedule or action we take, every single day, and you need to know that it's not possible to balance life, all you can do is prioritize the most important things. Make time for them, pencil them in. Put the important things on your calendar first and make sure instead of balancing your work-life it's time to sync your schedule with your real life.

I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE SAY:

"Take care of yourself first..."


Life is crazy! So crazy. Somedays I am so overwhelmed with just keeping my kids alive I can't stand the thought of taking time to care for myself.

I honestly tell myself somedays that, "if everyone is alive I succeeded!" Trust me, when I started working from home I was so frustrated with not knowing what I needed to actually do for my business and where to go next. I didn't know what direction I wanted to go with my business or my passion of design and strategy. I was pregnant with my first child and knew I wanted to stay home and be a mom but I also didn't want to give up my passion for design or helping people with their business. It wasn't until I opened up a small Etsy shop to sell some crafting projects that I had made in preparations of my arriving bundle of joy, I realized I knew what I had to do. Once I realized that there were so many other moms and crafters trying to sell the things they made online with little hope of being successful I had to help.

After I had my daughter I realized I was in for a wild ride, and then my son came and things well "hit the fan" If you know what I mean. I knew I had to make things work for me or I would be giving up my passion of design and what I worked so hard to achieve. Everything I had went into my business and I began to see my business as my success meter. If I didn't make my business work I didn't mean anything. I was just another Stay At Home Mom with nothing to show for it. That's what the world was telling me...and BOY WAS I SO WRONG.

As the hopes and dreams I once had for my life got blown into pieces, I discovered—if I am being completely unabashedly honest with you—that there had been a few very important missing ingredients all along. The ingredients I was missing were actually all of my crazy kids and my love for God. The things that kept me sane.

Don't get me wrong I love my job, so much, but I love my family more and God the most. I did learn that I had to put my relationship with God first, and that I had to have some self-love too.

In order to care for yourself you first have to have self-love. You have to care enough about yourself to want to actually take care of yourself. At first my passion for design and strategy took precedence over my family, over God, and over myself and that equation just doesn't work.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT:

Self-love is such an awkward subject in itself and its even harder to talk about than Self-care. Who wants to talk about loving themself? It's honestly quite weird and creepy; it makes you feel all weird inside, weak, pathetic and quite vulnerable. It's like admitting that you are such a loser and no one loves you so you have to love your own damn self...and that is quite pathetic right?

Well, pathetic, or not, what I learned is that ultimately, everything, including self-care, grows out of self-love. You first though, need to love God, and then yourself, because ultimately if you understand Gods love for you, there is no way you cant love yourself.




I have learned that HE Loves me more than anyone will and because he loves me, why shouldn't I care for myself so I can care for others? In fact it's the only way I can function in a healthy way.

What I discovered is that the gift in falling apart is getting to mindfully stitch yourself back together, starting with God and your self-awareness. While I was freaking out and working so hard on all fronts, I actually was running away from something huge! Low self-worth and my God. Feelings that hid behind everything I worked so hard to build. Feeling of not being good enough, smart enough, and love-able enough, and only by doing more, going full tilt, being something to everyone, competing in a made up game of people pleasing and catch up, I got lost.

Because I leaned into the voices and thoughts playing games in my head I could finally hear what absolute garbage I had floating up there. WHAT THE HECK? How could I possibly believe those things?

I had to overtime, learn to like myself, lean on God and learn to love myself. At one point I actually believed that, God didn't want me to be "successful" in business. I know thats not true. He gave me these gifts! Why in the world would be not want me to be successful?! Craziness.

Craziness because he literally never said that, instead he said,

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28



So dear maker, if any of these things are sitting with you and you think self-care isn't for you or your supply of self-love is in limited supply, I recommend some mindful self awareness to see what you are believing about yourself and give them to God. Only then can you practice self-care. Figure out what is holding you back from taking care of yourself right now and then make a plan to tackle it. For me, I struggle with finding the time to exercise with 3 kids and a husband who works late. My goal is to carve out an hour to get some nice dance moves on with my kids so I can feel good again.

I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE SAY:

“You just have to keep trying”

Don't you hate it when people tell you that, "you just have to keep trying?"

I mean seriously?

"Just keep swimming" get's stuck in my head and I get pissed....Who came up with that over at Disney anyway?

Just because you are tired and start venting to someone does that mean we are going to quit? Well no, duh. Have you ever heard that from a well meaning friend? Sometimes it's hard for people to understand the amount of pressure you are under as a small business, but I get you.

However, I do want to caution you about negative self talk.

It will cripple you and suck the life out of your business.

I do it to myself on occasion. "That fear that someone will discover I don't have a clue" Where does that even come from? Of course I have a clue, I have more than that, I have 15 years of experience behind me.  I have clients who call me when they need more advice. I have to consciously speak it out loud and tell that idea to go away. I just laugh at it...now...

Negative self talk happens to everyone, how you handle and process those thoughts will make the difference.

Try this, imagine you take the afternoon off to enjoy some quiet time. So you find yourself a beautiful sunny field and take a seat, and a soft white cloud comes by and you think "AHHH! what a blessing I'm sure glad I came out here today." Now imagine 30 seconds later a dark cloud comes and you think "EH crap! This totally sucks!" And you know that even though it might rain it's still a blessing you got to spend some time alone.

Positive and negative thoughts happen. But the trick is you have to avoid giving the negative thoughts any power, your day will be ruined and all of your momentum will vanish. Just because it get's a little cloudy doesn't mean it's not still a blessing.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT:

Business is tough especially when you go at it all alone. You don’t have to do it all alone. Find a group of people that you can connect with and build real relationships with. People that will encourage you and give you real actionable steps to avoid burnout and help you care for yourself.

There is nothing better than being reminded by a friend that you need to take some time for yourself...

I decided that was just what I needed so I started the Maker Mixup. I wanted a place where all kinds of people and business owners could come together and support each other. It’s time to make a change in your mindset, and set yourself up for success by surrounding yourself with people who can support and encourage you. People who help you believe in yourself, and help you create strategies, and ideas that propel you forward, because without a strategy what is the point of just swimming in circles? Disney had it all wrong with Dory, “Just keep swimming” doesn’t work if you don't have a plan or an idea of where you are at and where you want to go.



Douse negative thoughts, get connected, change your mindset, set up a strategy and believe in yourself….and THEN keep trying.

I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE SAY:

“You Just Have To Indulge In Self Care”

No make the time, self care is...self discipline.

Society and marketers are portraying a different picture of what it means to do Self-Care. It’s completely backward and is pictured as an indulgence and not reality. Think about the marketing messages that you are being fed. Expensive bath products, luxurious chocolate, Facials and spa appointments, and even buying cars are labeled, “self-care”. Since when have expensive sheets had anything to do with taking care of yourself? Let's go back to the basics shall we?



Self-care is not an indulgence. Self-care is a discipline and it’s something you have to do. It requires grit and tenacity, and a sort of mental toughness. You have to have a deep and personal understanding of your priorities, and a love and respect for yourself and the people you love most.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT:

It's time you learned that in order to take care of business you first have to take care of yourself and your family. TAKE the time to really care for yourself. Start with a good breakfast and end your day with something that makes you feel good.


I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE SAY:

“Just start where you are at”

Yes, start where you are at. Where else can you start from? What does that even mean?

Are you supposed to wait five years until the timing is just right?

No.

All you need to do is take stock of what you want and make a plan to get there, but keep in mind that there’s a price, a cost to pay to get where you want to go. Sometimes it means that you put yourself through some discomfort, rejection, embarrassment and fear, or you work to much...I don’t know about you but I don’t plan on giving up time with my children when I have the choice. That means reminding myself of what is important, and for me, that’s the people I love the most. Including myself.

Just remember, your business will always grow, but what will you give up in the meantime.

Think about the things you really want from life and what you’ll need to do to get them.

Self care is not about doing things that the marketers and advertisers tell us we must do to take care of ourselves. It's not about getting luxurious facials (unless that is your thing) or 1500 thread count sheets. Self care is about caring for ourselves, remembering to take a few extra minutes if we need it, mindfulness, and loving yourself where you are at so that we can continue to take care of the most important things in life, like family and friends. Life isn't about the things we make or do or thing things we sell, it's not about making things we can put a price on and ship in a box. Today I hope you can practice a little self love, and take some time to treat yourself.

Take care my friend and share with me a few ways you like to do self-care.




HELLO AND WELCOME!

I share design, marketing, and brand strategy tips so you can market and build your handmade business. I used to be afraid that my work wasn't good enough, until I found a mentor who told me to think bigger. I want you to think bigger, better, and build your business with confidence and professionalism.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather Bunker works with makers and artisan entrepreneurs who want to build a professional and profitable brand.

She provides brand strategy, design, and marketing services along with a friendly disposition and a bit of encouragement. She has been a designer and art lover for over 15 years and is an active member of the AIGA, the professional association for design. Heather’s design trademark is her unique perspective and originality. For clients she delivers designs that capture both a unique brand image and the audience's attention. Spunky, bright, creative, and her blog is a joy to read. You can learn more about how her services can help grow your business by subscribing to her blog at HeatherBunker.com

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