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Are you spending so much time caring for your business that you’re forgetting to care for yourself?

 

 

 

Caring for yourself

I’ve just done my very first retreat – specifically, a yoga retreat.

I’ve been practising yoga at home consistently for a month or two, and I’ve done it off and on for 17 years, ever since my host family in Seattle when I was 15 took me along to a Kundalini yoga class.

I started to practice yoga daily recently because it made me feel good. I was having consistent shoulder, neck, and back issues related to my work (sitting at a desk, hammering, leaning over to examine jewellery pieces). Frankly, physio appointments get expensive, so I thought there must be a way for me to treat myself.

It’s been around the 2-month mark that I’ve been practicing daily, and it’s already making a huge difference. I expected and hoped for the increased strength, flexibility and ease in my body. I didn’t expect that I would begin to crave the physical challenge and mental space that yoga gives me.

Early last week, in order to deepen my understanding of yoga, I decided to search for yoga retreats near me, and found one, just 45 minutes drive away.

Sold.

It was a fabulous experience, and I will be going on many more in future.

I had some epiphanies about my work, my life, and my mission. I believe you create your own purpose and meaning in life. You do what you feel called to do.

During a 2-hour restorative yoga session, my mind had the opportunity to really settle and open up to the deep thoughts that often get obscured by daily to-dos.

Sinking deep into yourself is for some of us a rare event – we so rarely have the space in our busy lives to stop and think.

I realised that my deep desire to make an impact on the world, to make a contribution – a difference – was something I was already doing.

It’s right here. It’s Create & Thrive. I reconnected to the reason I started this site in the first place.

 

I want to help you to find…

…the happiness and fulfilment in your work that I’ve found in mine.

…freedom of lifestyle and creative expression.

…the empowerment that comes with building a successful business out of nothing.

…the fulfilment of doing work you love and are proud of.

 

That is why I spend so many hours of my life writing about the lessons I’ve learnt. Sharing most of it for free here on this site.

It’s why when I do put a course or a guide together, I don’t charge the earth and moon for it. Most of you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a course. Many of you don’t even have a few hundred dollars spare.

I want to reach and help every person who needs what I have to share… while still making enough money to put food on my own table (and in my kitties’ bowls, of course.). But I don’t need a big fancy house or big fancy cars or designer clothes.

I don’t care about any of those things. I never have.

I live and work in a converted shed. In 2 rooms.

Nick and I have lived here for 5 years. To use the kitchen or bathroom we have to go outside and walk across a yard to my parent’s house next door. We have one car – a campervan. All our furniture is either second-hand, hand-me-down from family, or built by Nick.

And you know what? I’ve never been happier.

My entire life and business model is crafted around making quality things that I am proud of, of contributing joy, beauty, and knowledge to the world, while making enough money to live a comfortable life.

That’s it. I don’t care about being rich, because money doesn’t buy happiness. Once you have enough to put a roof over your head, food on your table, pay your bills, and a little bit to have fun with, it’s enough. Funnily enough, we could actually afford to buy a nice house with nice furniture if we wanted. But we don’t. We like our little home.

Happiness for me is waking up when I want. Being able to cuddle my cats whenever I want. Having lunch with my husband every day. Being close to my family. Deciding to blow off work for the morning to go to the beach. Deciding on a whim I’m going on a yoga retreat. Shutting my business down for 2 months to travel Canada and USA like we did last year.

The best thing, the thing I value most? Waking up each day knowing I am the director of my life and work. No-one is telling me what to do.

My own happiness comes from freedom, the time to spend with people and creatures I love, and the feeling that I’m helping others to live a happier life of their own.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I realised this weekend that my mission isn’t just to teach the business and money-making part of helping you grow your own creative business. It’s deeper than that.

 

It’s about helping you THRIVE in your life as a whole.

 

Another thing about the yoga retreat? It was a women’s retreat. We spent a lot of time talking about what it means to live as a woman in this time and place. The opportunities, the challenges. And a common thread? That women still struggle to care for themselves.

We so often throw ourselves into our work and end up burning out because we forget to take care of ourselves along the way. We’re so busy taking care of our family, our customers, our friends… that our ‘I’ gets lost in the process.

I’ve been on this self-care journey myself for a few years since hitting a wall and burning out a few years back when I was working 16-hour days to get my business off the ground.

I have tried a LOT of different types of self-care. Yoga is just one of them. I also do other forms of exercise. I meditate. I get massages. I read things that entertain me and make me happy. I walk. I teach. I breathe deeply… everyone has their own way of caring for themselves. But some of us still haven’t found  what works for us.

I’m still on the journey myself – but I want to share what I’ve learnt. To teach what I know works. That’s what C&T is all about, after all. Learning from those who’ve done what you want to do, successfully.

I have been dreaming of creating an e-course that takes creative, entrepreneurial women on a month-long self-care journey together. Guiding the group through the process of finding what self-care activities work for YOU and your lifestyle. The things that help you open up, lean in, and power through – to build the business you dream of to support the life you want to live.

Of course – you know me – it will be chock-full of practical, down-to-earth exercises and experiences that have proven efficacy. Nothing woo-woo. I’m not big on woo-woo 😉

 

Taking care of YOU means you’ll have the energy and passion to do your BEST work – and maintain it in the long term.

 

So, what I want to ask you is this:

Is a course like that something you feel calls to you – something you NEED to do?

If so, please share in the comments.

I create courses and guides based on what YOU need. So, as much as I feel called to create this course, it’s not something I’m going to pour myself into unless you tell me it’s something you need.

What say you? 

Image Source: Coley Christine Catalano

Jess

Van Den has written 371 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at Epheriell.com. You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.

Comments

Elle
Reply

This sounds great Jess. The more creatives I work with the more I realise it is a whole life story for us, business doesn’t have a neat little 9-5 box we put it in. And often when I help clients with their business goals they are really life goals and the business just plays a part in it.

Looking forward to see what you come up with.

Jess
Reply

Elle – thank you 🙂 It really is about our lives as a whole, isn’t it? Sure, I love my work, but what I do enables my whole life to be profoundly different than it would be if I had a ‘job’, no matter how awesome.

dazzlingdezignz
Reply

I definitely need this! I keep saying to myself that I need to do something like yoga or at least go for a walk but I never do because I keep thinking how much I could get done in my business during that time. So yes, I need help with this! 🙂

Jess
Reply

Hooray, thanks Elisa! It’s like that, isn’t it? We just need someone to give us some guidance, as well as a gentle push in the right direction. That’s my goal 🙂

dazzlingdezignz
Reply

And along with the guidance and gentle push it would be like everyone else who’s doing it too would be your “workout buddy” and you wouldn’t want to let them down. 🙂 At least, I hope that’s what would happen! LOL!

Jess
Reply

Ohh, I love that idea! Some sort of ‘self-care buddy’ system…

felicity carke
Reply

Wow sounds amazing Jess. I can relate to your ethos as I am in the middle of a similar journey . Ive been on a recouperation journey for the last 4 years after a life altering workplace injury that has left me physically and emotionally damaged, and trying to develop my love of art into a business. Its a slow but worthy journey, to try and get my life back on track and helping get back the income I lost, while trying to keep my artistic integredy.
What you wrote hit a chord with me!!

Jess
Reply

Thank you Felicity! I love your phrase ‘a slow but worthy journey’ – it certainly is.

Wendy Thomson
Reply

Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend Jess. It’s amazing when you get those a huh moments. I was forced to do something 2 years ago when I was so stressed it was affecting me physically and therefore emotionally. I started Network Spinal Analysis which is practiced by chiropractors (a gentle form of chiro, not forced manipulation). The difference has been incredible and would recommend anyone to look into it. I am trying to also do yoga, but am not consistent with doing it. – I shall put in more of an effort though and schedule it in my daily calendar. Love the sound of the retreat up the coast; what is it called?

Jess
Reply

It really is amazing what can come up when you have a bit of mental space 🙂 It was a retreat run by Being Yoga, who are based on the Sunny Coast (in Maroochydore I think?).

gracekeogh
Reply

Jess… will you please get out of my head woman – it’s too messy in there for both of us! lol. You always seem to know what I need at the exact time that I need it 🙂 I just wish that I had the belief in myself to do the next step and commit to your inspirational teachings. I can see this course being very ‘needed’ in our community of makers.

Jess
Reply

I iz in your head, reading yur thoughts ;D Seriously though – thanks Grace! I really feel like it’s something desperately needed, too, but wanted to reach out for confirmation of that before committing to crafting a solution! 🙂

Jenny
Reply

Yes please!! Sounds like a fab idea 🙂 I’ve dabbled in yoga over the last 12 months and am trying (not very successfully) to fit in daily meditation of the ‘non-woowoo’ variety but it always ends up at the bottom of the To Do list. I think that we need to look after ourselves to create our best work! Look fwd to finding out more, and Thank You for an amazing blog. xxx

Tanja
Reply

Sounds absolutely brilliant to me – and yes, I absolutely think that finding that balance is necessary – and finding time to do things that aren’t all about building the business. I would go completely nuts without my regular exercise and pilates classes!

Jess
Reply

So would I, Tanja! If I don’t exercise for a day or two, I start to get grumpy and a little twitchy! 😀

Libby Lucas
Reply

This is something I definitely need Jess and can definitely relate to what you have experienced !
Sounds like the perfect option for me to clear my head and help guide me to my future.

Jess
Reply

Awesome Libby, thanks. Yes – clearing one’s head is REALLY important, we can get so caught up in our mental chatter.

Joy
Reply

Jess, you’ve been reading my mind! I realized this week end that if I don’t find a balance between my full time job as a teacher and the work I do trying to get my little business out there in the world that I am going to burn out. I actually have to LEAVE MY HOUSE to stop working!!! So last Sunday I took my dog for a drive over to a tiny little town I love, had a late lunch/early dinner, walked around a park with a rushing stream that is right beside a small neighborhood, talked with another lady having lunch in the park about my Etsy business and her “hobby” making and designing crochet items. I’m going to do something of this nature every week now, plus quit working long enough to get my house in order again! I don’t know about a “course” because that could possibly turn into one more thing to do. But what about a sort of support group where we offer ideas for rest and relaxation, helpful hints for getting things done, support for the journey, etc. Wait a minute~~you’re already doing that!!! And thank you!

Jess
Reply

I am good at that ;P That sounds like an absolutely lovely and perfect way of taking time out – time for yourself. I love your point about a course being ‘one more thing to do’. My dream would be to create something similar to Set Up Shop – where you get an email each day with a new thing to try… but there’s also a private FB group to share support and no pressure – the idea would be to try what you want to try to see what works for you. 🙂

The.Scottish girl
Reply

It was great to find this in my inbox this morning. The answer yes I need this! I’m having big problems in my day job, which means my creativity is gone and I find myself feeling like I lost my way. My whole life is standing by as I try to find my true way. Want to take that journey! Just peace of mind and make passion come back for whatever I’m mean to do. Thanks Jess!

Jess
Reply

I’m sorry to hear about your day job problems – our jobs really can suck the life out of us and play on our minds at times. I hope you find your ‘true way’ sooner rather than later! x

Fiona @ Imogen's Angels
Reply

Sounds fabulous Jesse, almost four years ago when my darling daughter past from childhood cancer I looked for some place to find solace and discovered yoga. I have never looked back, I love being able to switch off from this crazy world. I truly believe yoga has helped me manage my grief through learning to breathe and live in my now new reality. I am very excited to also being attending a yoga retreat in July with my sister and our regular yoga teacher in Bali, Yippeee! Thanks for posting this post xx

Jess
Reply

I’m so glad to hear yoga has been a place of solace for you, Fiona. And have an AMAZING time on your retreat!

Sue
Reply

Wow Jess…yes please!! I’m right at that place where I’m realising I do so much for other people that I have neglected myself. Am taking steps to rectify that, but a little guidance (in the way of your course perhaps!!??) might be just what I need to get me on track. I look forward to seeing what you come up with xx

Jess
Reply

Thank you, Sue! And I’m glad you’ve reached that place of realisation!

Alison
Reply

Jess, thank you so much for sharing so honestly! My definition of “thriving” takes much the same look as yours: a life of modest surroundings, full of freedom and creativity.

It’s so rare for someone to share something like the fact that you live in 2 rooms and share a kitchen and bathroom with your parents (I also share space with my parents at the moment, and it’s great!). I feel like most people will write vaguely about “living simply,” but rarely go into detail until they’ve reached a type of lifestyle more commensurate with the way the world defines “success”– i.e., huge houses or lofts with floor-to-ceiling windows and white walls– and then they show it all.

I can’t tell you what it means to me to read what you wrote. I feel released from a shame I didn’t even know I had, and free to be proud of the type of life I’ve chosen. Everyone has a different set of needs, and for me, that means choosing to lower my monthly bills in order to protect my time and the freedom to chase my dreams. This is where I thrive. Thank you so much for your openness!

Jess
Reply

Alison – I’m so very honoured to hear that what I said helped you so much! Honestly – I believe the way we approach family in the West is unnatural and sad. In most cultures of the world, families live with or near each other through all generations – because they realise the value of love and support – from parents to children and from children to parents – as we move through the life cycle. We have, in the last century, developed a very individual-focussed culture. You know, I’m forever grateful for the 10 years I lived away from my parents (very far away for many of those years) because that did give me the space and time to grow as an individual through my 20s. But now I’m in my 30s, I know who I am and what I want, and being so close to my parents is wonderful – because I’m old enough and somewhat wise enough now to realise I only have limited time left with them (I’m an only child, too, so there’s no-one else in my immediate biological family), and that by being here I can help to take care of them as they get older (and through illness – like my Dad’s cancer and chemo in 2012). I think time apart is healthy, and sure, adult kids need to be equal contributors if they live in the same house (we share equal costs in the internet/water/rates etc with my folks, as we’re on the same property) but it doesn’t have to be the spongy/neurotic/childish relationship that is so often portrayed as existing between parents and their adult children who still live with or near them. /endrant ;D

Lindsay
Reply

I’m on a journey of self care and discovery. Actually thinking of getting certified as a masseuse to help facilitate that. I would be interested in a guided how to take better care of yourself. I can’t afford it, at all, but I know there are people like me that would be willing to pay for it and have the ability to do so. Go for it Jess.

Jess
Reply

Lindsay, thank you so much!

Eve
Reply

Jess, I think it’s a really great idea. Something that 99.9% of creatives probably need. I’ll do it and I’m sure you’ll find many who’ll say yes, over and over. Go for it! 🙂 I have every confidence in you that it will be a great course, sensitively and gently led

Julie-Anne Rogers
Reply

Hi – yes, this is something that I would be really interested in but not until after October. I have a large time and money commitment coming up and then I really want to commit to something like this.

What say you?