Self-Care, The Key To A Positive Business Mindset
Yesterday I wrote all about how important it is to develop a positive mind-set so you and your business can really thrive. Today I’m going to share my top 10 simple tips for creating the foundations of that mind-set through self-care.
At the very heart of boosting your self-esteem is nurturing the belief that you are worth being looked after. Looking after yourself by starting a gentle self-care routine is a very powerful way to start feeling good about yourself. And, once you start feeling good about yourself you begin to feel more positive, and once you’re thinking more positive thoughts good things happen in life AND in business so read on…
Tip One: Tweak Your Diet
You need to look after yourself, and that starts with how you fuel your body. As tempting as it may be to dive into the biscuit barrel, that approach isn’t going to work. It’s become much easier to find organic, vegan, gluten-free and nutrient-rich options in our supermarkets. There’s no reason not to eat healthier, happier food!
I move along the scale of virtuosity: sometimes I’m the full grain-free, other times I allow myself a little indulgence. I should warn you though, if you do decide to go whole-hog, be prepared to feel absolutely SHIT for a while. The first time I got rid of all the crap in my diet I was shocked to discover how dreadful I felt. The reality is that we’re accustomed to relying on junk food (and I use that term broadly) to give us quick but unsustainable boosts of energy. Bringing your body back to a natural state isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it.
Consider cutting back on or eliminating alcohol, sugar, wheat, caffeine and dairy. Start drinking the recommended two litres of water per day, and use a filter. In time, your energy will become more consistent, your skin will take on a healthy sheen, and sleep will come more easily to you putting you in a perfect state to look at setting up your business.
Tip Two: Get Juicing
What on earth has juicing got to do with setting up your business? Well, juicing is one of the best things I’ve done so far in terms of self-care. A juice first thing in the morning sets you up so well. My favourites are all green. I use a mixture of celery, kale, cucumber, and fennel in my mixes along with a bit of ginger, a lemon and an apple just to take the sharpness off things.
There are loads of benefits to juicing. It’s an incredibly efficient way to give your body the minerals, vitamins and enzymes it needs—delicious doses of nutrients that will kick-start your day. Over time juicing can strengthen your bones and immune system, and reduce your chances of disease. Tastier than nibbling on raw veggies, and easier for your body to digest.
(If you aren’t a breakfast person, I doubly recommend giving juicing a try!)
Give it a go, you’ll feel invincible and ready to take on the world. Exactly what you need!
Tip Three: Balance your hormones
More likely than not, you are feeling knackered as you read this! We are busy women. We’ve got our work, families, households, dogs, friends and our partners to think about. You’re tired. I’ve been there too, but you might need more than rest to undo what’s been done. When life is relentless our hormones can get completely out of whack. Constant stress causes our bodies to release high amounts of cortisol that can have a serious and lasting impact on our health.
Even if you’re showering yourself in self-care, eating wonderful foods, cutting out caffeine and alcohol, and juicing like a green goddess, you may need some extra help to get yourself balanced out. It’s a good idea to get yourself tested and I’d also recommend you see a homeopath. There are many natural ways to adjust your hormones but you’ll want to get an expert’s opinion before you take action.
You can’t start a business and develop and positive mindset when you are tired. This is a really important tip. Please, go and see someone if you are really struggling.
Tip Four: Get Some Sleep
Linked to hormones is the big S. Yes, sleep, that wonderful, luxurious sleep we all crave but rarely get enough of. I’m going to get to time management later in this list but you really, really must make enough time in your life to get the shut-eye you need.
There are a tonne of studies on sleep that prove the link between sleep and hormone balancing, so this can help you in that arena as well. Getting enough sleep can also curb depression, help us process our days and allow us to live longer, more youthful lives.
Exactly how much sleep is needed is a little different for everyone, but if you’ve been running on empty for years you might not even remember what a good night’s sleep feels like. Start by going to bed an hour earlier than usual for one week. Listen to your body’s response to these extra Zzzs, and adjust from there.
Tip 5: Exercise
This is a bit of a bone of contention for me as a reformed marathon runner. I’ve run one marathon and at least two or three half-marathons a year for the last seven years. Interestingly you wouldn’t know it to look at me; it certainly didn’t help shift any of the weight I’ve been trying to shed.
That’s why I now recommend gentle exercise. During my marathon days, my body was so tired it clung on to my fat as if I was under attack. I wasn’t—I was just pushing my body too far, too hard and for too long.
Now I try to treat my body with kindness. I still run, of course—I love my running friends and our chats—but in moderation. Gone are the 20-mile training runs. Instead, I take long walks in the hills around my house. I do yoga and pilates to improve my strength, flexibility, focus and overall wellness.
If exercise isn’t currently a part of your routine, now is the perfect time to make it so. The World Health Organisation recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise. That’s completely doable. You don’t have to become an Olympian to strengthen your body—and your mind in the process.
Tip 6: Get out in nature
Linked to exercise is my advice to get yourself out in nature. Breathe some fresh air into your lungs. Go and admire the beauty and simplicity of the natural world. Watch the seasons pass by. Get wet. Get cold. Get blown around in gales. Feel the warm breeze of a summer afternoon waft across your arms and your face.
Connecting to nature makes you appreciate how time passes, how everything works in cycles, and that there is a time to rest and re-charge and a time to flourish. And it is good for you to get that air and sunlight on your skin. For those of you city-bound, get out on to the commons or the parks. Or get to the beach, anywhere where you can’t see a building!
Especially if you’re now working from home, create a routine that involves at least 20 minutes outside every day—and more when the weather is a dream, of course.
Tip Seven: Breathe
Talking about breathing, how hard can it be?
This requires a woo-woo warning: the first time I read about deep breathing techniques I guffawed at their stupidity. But the more I read, the more convinced I became, and I decided to give it a go.
Now I’ve made deep breathing part of my morning ritual, and it feels great. When we are tired and stressed we breathe from the top of our lungs. This isn’t good for us. Deep breathing calms us down, releases toxins in the body, and eases our respiratory, digestive and nervous systems. Such a simple action can be a complete balm for the mind and body.
Try this simple breathing exercise. Place your hand lightly on your stomach, and take a deep breathe in. You should feel your stomach expand; if not, you’re not using your diaphragm. Keep trying until your hand rises and falls with your breath.
Breathe in for a count of four. Hold the air in your body for a count of four. Exhale slowly for a count of four.
You can do this in the morning, like I do, or anytime you’re feeling stressed or in need of a simple and effective way to re-focus.
Tip Eight: Meditate
On the subject of calming ourselves down, you must try meditation. I started meditating about eight years ago, when I had just had my third child and I was petrified of getting postnatal depression again. I followed the advice of a great girlfriend of mine and made my way off to Notting Hill, where I found a little oasis of calm in Gillian Lavender’s front room.
Gillian taught me transcendental meditation, which I practiced religiously twice a day for two years, and benefited tremendously from. Of course, once things are better and life is good, you stop doing things that made things better and life good! I fell off the meditation wagon for while, but I am now firmly back on, relishing in the clarity and deep state of relaxation it gives me.
I have some helpful and accessible meditation resources to share with you at the end of this report. You don’t need to head to an ashram or even take a class to learn meditation. On the contrary, meditation is simple but bountiful, and anyone can do it.
Tip 9: Start Journalling
I love journaling. I do it first thing in the morning. I get up, do my meditation, breathing and affirmations, then I have a bloody good journal.
A journal is a safe, free-for-all space where anything can happen. Any given day, I might find myself venting my spleen at something that happened the day before, scribbling about someone who did something horrible, or jotting down an exciting idea I’ve got to get down on paper. It can be my plan for the day—especially when a tricky day looms before me—or an attempt to work out a weird dream I had. Nothing is off-limits.
I use an A4 notebook and fill one page a day, no more and no less. I find keeping to this is a good discipline that keeps me from becoming too self-absorbed: I need to fit my musings on one page and also I have to complete one page.
If you feel blocked about writing, this might be something for you to try rather than avoid. If you feel stuck, do what I do and just write random words or write about how much you don’t want to write! The point is to get your hand moving, and get your thoughts and feelings out of your head and onto the page. It will make you feel better, and over time you might find that writing becomes something you look forward to instead of dread.
Tip 10: Affirm Yourself
Affirmations are those lovely things you say to make yourself feel wonderful. They are great for setting yourself up for the day. You might feel silly to start with but very quickly you’ll learn to love the buzz and smile you get from telling yourself you are wonderful.
(You are, by the way!)
The purpose of affirmations is to crowd out the negative self-talk and unhelpful stories we all find running through our heads. Affirmations turn these thoughts inside out, building your self-esteem and nourishing your soul so you are prepared to take on the world.
I have an app I listen to before I start journaling every morning. It talks me through how wonderful and lovable I am. Yes, it’s all a bit icky to start with but wow does it make a difference. So nice to be nice to yourself for a change. You even get a little mirror coming up on your phone that you have to speak in to! Hee Hee!
So there you are.
So there you are. 10 remarkably simple tips for helping you boost your self-belief and creating a positive business mind-set using self care.
I’d love to hear from you. What have you learned? Any more suggestions? Leave me a comment in the box below.