Sometimes our personal lives take priority over our professional lives. Several people I’m close to are grappling with significant health issues at the moment, so I haven’t had the same stamina and focus I usually have for work. I always encourage clients and friends to be gentle with themselves, particularly in times like these. Since I don’t want to be a total hypocrite (and I think it’s pretty good advice), here’s how I strived to make self-care a priority and to be gentle with myself on a work day this week.
5:30am Wake up for no good reason
Having slept through the night for the first time in a few days, I decided not to push my luck by trying to get back to sleep. I journaled for a bit and then shifted into work mode to get an e-blast out before 9am.
One of my loved ones was having surgery the following day, so I called to ensure she had everything she needed before we met up at the hospital. Decompressing after that very real conversation, I read the first chapter of a trashy murder mystery set at Christmas in 2060. A two-timing bodybuilder has been bludgeoned to death with his favorite trophy? I’m interested.
I decided to crawl back in bed, snuggling with the hubs and drifting in and out of sleep until around 9:30am. One of the perks/challenges of having a partner who owns a bar is having opposite sleep schedules. I’m usually up hours before he is and often fall asleep before he gets home. This 30 minute snoozefest was profoundly comforting and a lovely treat.
9:30am Restart my day
My meditation teacher says, “The state of your mind determines the quality of your life.”
Noticing the state of my mind was scattered to say the least, I opted for a shorter yoga series than usual, followed by a longer meditation.
10:45am Business development and a mini-mastermind
I spent a good chunk of the day promoting my e-courses on workplace negotiations for women and following up with prospective clients. Since one of my prospective clients is my best friend from middle school, I got to share this delightful GIF of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. sledding.
A few hours of emailing later, I jumped on a google hangout with a fellow entrepreneur and close friend. For the last several years, we’ve met regularly to discuss our various projects in a mini-mastermind group for two. After updating her on my loved ones and their various maladies, we chatted about her new website and strategized about how to respond to one of my client’s requests.
2:45pm Bayou break
Ready for fresh air after several hours of computer time, I walked to the bayou and called my best friend. His grandad’s funeral was that day. (It had been that kind of week.) We stayed on the phone for the remainder of my walk, discussing all the feels that come with our changing circumstances and planning for his upcoming visit to New Orleans. I returned home to respond to a few more emails – they just keep coming – before heading back out for late afternoon yoga at my favorite studio, which just happens to be four blocks from my house.
6:00pm An evening of adulting brought to you by healthcare.gov
Upon arriving home, I made a smoothie while listening to Startup, which is basically podcast therapy for entrepreneurs.
Drinking dinner, I was fortified to handle every entrepreneur’s least favorite December activity: selecting health insurance. For moral support and expert advice, I called a friend who helps clients navigate the healthcare exchange. We decided I should stay on my current policy, despite a (gulp) $120 increase per month.
Informally trading professional services along with life updates, I was happy to be able to support her through some career decision-making.
After a much needed post-yoga shower, I spent the remainder of the evening failing to limit screen time before bed, drafting Forbes articles for the following week at my dining room table. As I wrote, I downloaded spreadsheets for work and movies in case the wifi didn’t work at the hospital the following day.
I checked in with my favorite body-building murder victim before turning into a pumpkin around 10:30pm. Characteristic of our sleep patterns, the hubs got home from work just in time to kiss me goodnight.
Fast forward to a few days later: Taking a slower pace the day before my loved one’s surgery was such a healthy choice. Having carved out downtime for myself and quality time with friends the day before, on the day of the surgery, I felt fortified for a long day at the hospital. I was strong for my loved ones, and the surgery went great.
A version of this piece was originally published by Forbes.