Self Care for the Hustling Freelancer
Raise your hand if this is you:
It’s 6am, in an attempt to wake up and dive into your sacred me-time, you check your phone and see an urgent email from a client pop up. You put your tea on pause and plop down at your computer. Work. Hustle. Put fire out. Then another. Then do some more tasks on your list. Check Facebook. You look up. It’s 11am. You are still rocking a bun that has bed-head written all over it. Then you look down. Your right leg is half clothed in the pajama pants you were trying to change out of five hours ago, and you just realized your other leg is hanging out willy nilly with one mismatched sock to top it off which is masking the chipped nail polish that is three layers deep.
So often the “work hard” mentality is glorified. And don’t get me wrong – there is a time and place when you have to put your frazzled bun head down and get to work, but if you stop paying attention to what you need, it will show up in your business, relationships and health guaranteed.
I know because I hit that crusty place called rock-bottom and realized I took a first class ticket there because I didn’t take care of yours truly. This is why I’m sharing what plucked me out of the dark hole of exhaustion and allowed the energy to be present and engaged in the most rewarding, challenging and successful phases of my business, and I attribute it to self care.
The point is, self-care is not just important, it’s critical to your business.
So if you want to build a long-term thriving empire, pay attention to these five ways to take care of yourself and still rock the week.
The Slay the Day Checklist
Make a list of things in your work environment that inspire you. It may be a Spotify playlist that keeps your fingers dancing on the keyboard, a photo of your family up on your wall, a favorite pillow behind your back, the quirky mug you use to throw back java, a favorite pen, or maybe it’s just opening the blinds of the window near your workspace. Environment is everything. It can lift you up or take you down instantly. Make a quick check-list of 3 things that turn your environment into a place you love to be before you start working. Watch the tone if your day and attitude shift instantly.
This alone has been a game changer for me. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “show me your calendar and I’ll tell you your priorities.” If you don’t schedule it, it isn’t real. Schedule 20 minutes a day, to refresh and do something that says – I’m amazing, I deserve a break, this is my time”. Sometimes this is as simple as splashing cold water on your face, doing your hair, putting together a snack you love, or taking a walk. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t intentionally schedule breaks, I plow through the morning, breakfast, lunch, until I realize it’s 6pm and someone needs to feed the family. Just like your body and brain need nourishing food to stay energized, you also need to get your circulation moving and when you do even a little act of self-care, you feel better about you and your ability to take on the day like a champ.
I, like many of you, tend to get super-glue butt. You know – when you literally cannot get up out of your chair because there is just….one…more….email….to…send. Sitting all day can be the cause of chronic hip, leg, and lower back issues. Do this pose a few times a day to stretch out the areas of your body that get oh so tight. I call it the freelance flamingo, here’s how you do it.
I started adding this to my mastermind group’s weekly list of updates and it’s been incredible to see how making a goal out of self-care increases the likelihood of actually accomplishing it. Choose one thing – it can be getting a manicure, going to get a cup of coffee with a friend, baking something you love, painting, getting an extra hour of child care, etc. Choose just one thing you can do for yourself each week to hold yourself accountable to filling your own bucket. We spend the majority of our time filling the cups of those around us, but we can only do that well if we fill ours first. Find an accountability buddy, add this to your mastermind group or make this a family dinner table discussion each week.
Fuel Your Fire
For all of you meal skippers, this is what happens to your brain and body when you skip just one meal, coming from Maggie Mon, R.D, a nutritionist based in Los Angeles:
- Blood-sugar levels to tank
- Blood-sugar levels is an indicator of the fuel your body runs on, and if it’s not circulating in the right amounts, every organ in your body is affected.
- Without a new supply of calories, your system shifts into starvation mode in an effort to conserve energy.
Your metabolism slows, so the food you do eventually take in isn’t burned off very efficiently.
Next, your brain takes a hit. Without a steady supply of nutrients, your intellectual and emotional functioning changes = foggy, moody and irritable. Sound familiar?!
Keep the meal-skipping thing up, and your body might turn to your muscles as a fuel source, further sinking your metabolism and sapping your strength.
To do your best work you’ve got to care about fueling that passion and fire inside you to rock the Laptop Lifestyle. Think of it this way, if you starve yourself, you are starving your business, clients, and dreams. Less of you shows up when your belly is not full and your body and brain are not nourished.
So if you feel stuck in the thought that there is “never enough time” for you, small actions like these daily rituals can get you out of that mindset. So often we try to think our way out of the little stresses and worries that sit on our shoulders. Action is actually the only way to get your brain on a different wavelength and open to a new way of doing things.
The life of a hustling freelancer is one of the most invigorating opportunities that exists because of the incredible freedom and lifestyle it can provide. It’s easy to choose that next item on the to-do list over a shower, a good meal, or a walk. Because you are side-hustling, working from home, and doing everything you can to provide and thrive for you and your family, taking care of yourself can be one of the hardest things to do.
But nothing in life worth doing is ever easy.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Thomas Merton, a Trappist Monk.
“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist… destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”
So my friends, it is my hope you leave with this takeaway; Self care isn’t a skill, it’s a way of life. And if you want a good life, you’ve got to be good to you.
If you are looking for ways to find calm in the chaos and love your fabulous self, get a complete list of 101 ways to center yourself when life feels like a hurricane, right HERE.
About Jessie Gardner
Jessie Gardner is the Founder of HeySoul, a small start-up with a behemoth-sized heart and goal to motivate and inspire people with positively disruptive experiences and rocks a digital marketing side hustle too. You can download a free guide to 101 Ways To Center Yourself When Life Feels Like a Hurricane right here. She combines the latest research in neuroscience with an a modern take on rituals to create personal growth experiences for people like you who want to experience something completely different that fits a hectic lifestyle. Jessie has combined her years of experience working in employee engagement and development, the love for neuroscience, and creating experiences that disrupt the routine and create space to reconnect and bring us back to who we are personally and professionally.