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Secure Your Mask Before Assisting Others: SELF CARE

This past weekend I had the opportunity to fly to Ohio for my cousin’s wedding! After we shuffled onto the plane and got all “cozy” (see the positive twist I did there on the small quarters you get on the plane?) in our seats, the flight crew of course went through their safety explanations. The part about “please secure your mask before others” seems like a much bigger deal to me now that I’m a mama. Lucky me, I got to fly solo this trip! However, there was a couple in the aisle across from me who had their BRAND NEW squish of a baby (she must have been no more than a couple weeks old – go parents!). When the flight attendant passed their row she leaned over to reiterate to them that they needed to first secure their masks before their baby’s in the event of an emergency.

WHOA. I mean, that goes against ALL parental instincts am I right? Save myself before my baby?? NO WAY. Well…I got to thinking… if I, or this couple next to me, passed out while trying to secure their baby’s mask, they would not only be unable to help themselves, but their baby girl would be left helpless too. You see this is a PERFECT metaphor for that we must be able to take care of ourselves, before we can even think about taking care of others. Even though more often than not, as parents and/or business owners, we approach everything the opposite way. I know I do. What more can I do for everyone around me before I get to myself? That is, if I ever do get to myself.

SELF CARE, PEOPLE. And I say this in all caps because I’m really just talking to myself here! Everyone who knows me knows I’m awful at practicing self care. But lately, I’ve come to the brutal realization of how important it is if I have any hope of not burning out and being able to continue running my business and leading my family.

backyard family picnic

I pieced together my top 3 practices of things I do to take care of a few critical “self care” type needs first before my clients or family’s needs. I execute these 3 things religiously so that I can best serve everyone else when the time calls for it.

Let’s talk about boundaries.

Yes, this is essential in personal life and in business. But I’m going to take a second and speak specifically on business boundaries this time around. Even more specifically, being your own boss. Everyone and their mom automatically assumes that because you run your own business, you can be free at the drop of a hat to help them or meet them or take a day off. When quite literally it’s the opposite. There’s no calling in sick, taking a vacation day, or getting maternity leave and magically the business is completely fine and profitable without you. I mean, it’s the GOAL. And people get there, but most of us? Heck no. That would require we make enough to hire full time staff – HA!!! Sorry I just had coffee come out of my nose. Like I said, we’ll get there but for most of us that doesn’t exist yet.

So boundaries are required if you want to keep your sanity. Here are my HARD boundaries that I never wiggle on. Let me say that again, NEVER wiggle on. Because the minute I do, and bend the rules, no one will respect the boundary I have created and there goes my attempt at balance.

#1: Mondays I am OFF.

Mondays are the one day a week I take completely off. Period. I will not reply to a text, a call, an email, or accept an invitation to a meeting. No matter how “urgent” someone makes it sound. If you’re doing business with me, you know from the start I will be completely unavailable on Mondays. {For those of you not in the event world – it’s because we work all week planning the events and then work all weekend running the events. It’s the only day acceptable to shut off}.

#2: Emails > Texts.

I do all business correspondence via email, not texts. Sure I’ll do the occasional quick communication on event days or if someone’s running late to a meeting, but no real exchange of information. It’s too difficult to keep things organized and remember it all! Email threads give us a record to reference when we forget that thing we were supposed to do today! BONUS: your phone doesn’t blow up at 9pm when you’re trying to finally eat dinner and catch up on Grey’s, you know RELAX.

#3: My calendar is my accountability partner.

Running your own business it can be difficult to keep yourself on task, since you’re answering to yourself. So when I plan to work on a specific project, go grocery shopping, make a call {even a “quick 5 min.” one}, run an errand, have a meeting – it ALL goes in the calendar. And the calendar is LAW. If it’s in there, it’s getting done at the exact date/time it’s blocked. I call this “calendar blocking” and I really should teach a class on how to do it, it’s a game changer! And honestly, I block family time. And if it’s in there Tuesday evenings from 6-10pm for example, you betcha I’m doing bath and bedtime with my son, cooking dinner with my fiance and spending quality time talking about anything and everything. I am NOT on my phone or laptop with clients. They get me the next day at 8am.

This is what my self care, what “securing my own mask first” looks like for me. My 3 definitive boundaries allow me to unplug when I need to and hustle with the best of them when I need to. You HAVE to honor them, or why would anyone else?

What’s your mask look like?

{Photos courtesy of Katrina Nicole Photography}


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