February is unofficially self-care month here at Glitter Guide. It’s also officially my birthday month. I’m turning 36, and while that isn’t old by any means, it can often feel like I’m a granny in this online space (which I’m totally OK with). Now that I’m closer to 40 than 30, I feel like it’s time for some lifestyle changes.
Last year was challenging for me. It was my first full year running my business while also raising two little children. It felt like every spare moment became about work or the kids, and my personal needs really took a hit. I made a promise to myself this year that I would make 2018 the year that I put myself first. Now, I realize that I can’t just ignore the needs of my business and my kids, nor would I want to. However, I planned to make small shifts in how I did things, how I spoke to myself, how I scheduled my time and how I prioritized things. One of the biggest things was to stop feeling guilty for taking time out for myself.
I didn’t set hard deadlines or create any lofty to-dos, but wrote down a handful of self-care intentions that I would hold myself to daily and weekly. I have to say, I’m pretty darn proud of myself so far! I kept to my intentions throughout January, despite it being a stressful month. I know it’s still way too early to proclaim I’ve made a huge lifestyle change, but something just feels different about this year. It feels like a year of change for me—like a shift is happening. And while sometimes it can feel scary, unnerving and hard, mostly I feel rejuvenated and ready for it (probably because I know I’m doing things that my body and mind have been begging me for).
Here is a look at some of the intentions I have been working on:
Reduce Time Spent Online
This was a BIG one for me. With my work, it can feel like I’m constantly online. At the end of the work day, I often feel blurry-eyed, confused as to what time it is and wondering if I remembered to eat lunch! With social media, emails, editorial, Slack, Asana, I can feel like I’m glued to screens and it was really starting to take a toll on my happiness at the end of last year. This is something I still struggle with. Like finding myself scrolling Instagram when using the bathroom (like, take a freaking break Taylor!), checking emails while working out at the gym, answering DMs during the kids bedtime routine or urgently responding to things that don’t need urgency. Being the boss means I feel a weight on my shoulders at all times. I don’t want to let anyone down, be a bad example or slow down the chain. I found myself burning and churning at all hours to prove to the team (and to myself) that I could do it all. When you’re a remote team and you don’t see each other in an office, it’s hard to know what people are doing or if they will be getting back to you promptly. I also think that the struggle to find balance with having two kids made me feel that I had something to prove. So last year, I went all in, but I really started to resent work and how little time I had. I decided that this year I would scale back, set more limits and see how it made me feel. Sure, there are days that I mess up, but overall I felt happier this past month with some of the small steps I took.
I try not to check emails until after I get home from dropping the kids off in the morning (around 9 a.m.). I also started to really batch my emails. I check them first thing when I get into my office and then once more before the end of my work day. I only look at it outside of that if I know I’m waiting for an urgent email. I also clean my inbox to five or less each day when possible—something I hadn’t mastered until a few months ago, and I filter a lot of emails that don’t need to clog my important inbox. I started using Boomerang when needed and I turn off my phone alerts for emails on Fridays (the kids are home with me every Friday) and through the weekend.
Our team uses Slack for our daily communication. It’s kind of like AOL messenger (what a throwback!). I love it, it’s great for keeping tabs on any questions or help we need in all areas, but it can be a bit overwhelming. As the founder, I am tapped into all things Glitter Guide and most people are looking to me to respond to things. That being said, I didn’t need to have alerts set for all conversations (which I did until this January). I set it to only alert me for things I am tagged in, and it’s made a difference in my sanity!
We also use Asana, a lot. It’s our most important to-do items for work. I used to feel pretty unorganized with it, but this year, I’ve gotten much better at looking at it first thing in the morning and making it my number-one thing I get done each day. I try to check off most of my daily to-dos right after I do my morning emails. Knowing I got those done each day makes me feel good, plus checking off a box is virtually satisfying. Having Asana keeps me feeling organized and less frazzled.
I also made a promise to use social media less this year. It’s a bit scary to care less about something that seems so crucial to your business, but like so many others, it was causing me a lot of grief. Primarily, Instagram. Seeing both Glitter Guide and my personal account’s numbers continuing to drop, feeling pressure to get likes, comments and click-throughs, and having to see so many results on there was taking away from its magic. I also started to feel like my identity was getting lost. I didn’t know why I was posting things anymore. Was it for me? Or was it for someone else? While I have to be a bit more mindful of Glitter Guide’s social accounts, I decided for my own it was time for a change. I try to only post things that I love and that make me excited. Last month, I ignored most of the analytics on my page (thanks a lot, Instagram for now showing me how many profile views I get weekly on my profile page. Now I can’t totally ignore you!), I would comment and respond to DMs when time allowed, and I would post only at times of the day that work for me. That was a big one! Previously, I found that I was trying to post at 6 p.m. when it said it was a high engagement time for my audience, but it was the worst time for me personally. I’m usually wrapping up dinner and getting the kids in their baths, and the last thing I want is the pressure to have to post an Instagram during that time. Taking ownership back from my social accounts is very liberating and something I recommend if you’re also struggling with this feeling.
I don’t have any phone alerts for any of my social media accounts, and I started making Sundays a “social media-free day.” I still struggle with that a little, but overall, I’m not on any social media much on Sunday and it feels so good!
Eat Less Sugar
Like many, January was a time to start making changes to my diet. I’ve always been family health conscious, and strive to eat well, but I found that the stress of juggling the kids and working all the time was causing me to care less about what I was consuming and I was simply eating whatever I wanted whenever I had time. One of the biggest addictions for me is sugar. I’m not a huge dessert person, but I found I had small addictions every day that I majorly struggle to resist. Like my glass of wine at the end of the work day, the few chocolates after dinner or the smoothie filled with a ton of fruits and honey (I know this is pretty healthy, but it’s more that I felt like I needed these things to enjoy it). I decided to cut back whenever I could. I didn’t start any actual diet, but just had less in the house and made alternatives to enjoy. I found that it invigorated my love for healthy foods and wellness in general. I’m excited to get to the farmers’ market each week to get healthier ingredients so I don’t snack on sugary things. I also feel like my skin feels better and I have more energy. However, I still have a lot of work to do with this one. I hope to do a full post on it in the future.
Get My Fitness Mojo Back
I have always enjoyed being active. In high school, I did swimming and water polo. In college, I got into spinning, yoga and lifting weights. I developed a love of running and did a half marathon and a triathlon. My husband competed in CrossFit for years and I enjoyed doing that with him. Being active is something I crave and need. However, after the birth of my son I found that my time was so limited and I was feeling like working out was a luxury I couldn’t afford anymore. Any time I take away from my kids or work felt like a big sacrifice. That was until this year. I decided I had to change my mindset or I was going to hate my life. I needed a stress-relief and I knew working out was going to be the answer. I didn’t get too unrealistic—two to three days a week I would get out and do something like CrossFit, Pilates or yoga. If I couldn’t make time to leave the house, I would set aside 30 to 45 minutes to do an online workout video (if you want a list of my favorites, let me know and I can do a post about that). On days that I wasn’t going to work out, I would stretch and take a walk. Ideally, I would love to walk every single day, but that hasn’t happened yet. Since setting this weekly intention, I have stuck to it for the most part. It feels good. I don’t even care about losing weight, which is an added bonus. For me, it’s for peace of mind, and it’s really helping.
Let Creativity Rule
This one’s also been really huge for me so far this year. It’s my 2018 mantra. This is our 7th year at Glitter Guide, and almost my 10th year in this space. Naturally, there is a lot of growth and changes that happen after so many years in business. Some great, some not so great. Last year was tough for me business-wise. We faced a lot of changes, and growth can be challenging on such a small team. I will admit, that looking so closely at the business each week (while crucial for success) can also be a drain on me mentally. It sometimes zaps my creativity and my love for what I do. While it’s not reasonable to stop paying attention to things that are needed for a successful business, it is reasonable to make some mental shifts to help me stay happy and motivated. One being that I don’t stop being creative—I don’t stop trying to implement new ideas into what I do. I know that sounds obvious, but I was finding that there are so many tasks that have to get done every single day, that other stuff often the stuff that feels a little more additive was being pushed back. When really, that is what will help us grow the most and make me happier. It’s something that has to be done with care because we do have so many things that have to get done each day, but making sure I’m prioritizing it has become very important to me.
I’ve also allowed my personal channels to be a place where I can freely express that stuff more. I’ve found that it can be a really freeing place where I can just really be me. I spoke to this a little on a recent Instagram and I think my audience can feel the shift. Yes, I may lose some people in the process, but I think the ones that stay will truly be engaged and interested in what I do.
I have more family and personal intentions I’m also working on, but these are the ones I felt really needed my attention this year. Here’s hoping I can stick to them and make 36 my best year yet!