Hi my name is Heather and I’m a workaholic. I was in the entertainment business when I was a kid, so I have been working since I was eight years old. Working hard is my thing. I have had a few different careers in my life and aside from a few years working on Wall Street I have been self-employed.
The summer of 2010 I decided to leave the corporate world for many reasons and find a new path that would work better for me. I am now a fully certified Pilates Instructor and a writer. I worked very hard to get where I am today. In that process I immersed myself into my new profession and lost sight of my why. After working 60 plus hours a week in Corporate America, I wanted a career where I had time to take care of myself. That is something that still needs work but I have made huge strides.
I have many Pilates clients in their forties or fifties that tell me the same story, they got caught up with climbing the corporate ladder, starting their own business, a family or all three and gave up on taking time for themselves. “I wish I had started an exercise routine sooner,” they say. “I wish I had taken more time to take care of myself.” I do not want to get older and regret not taking care of myself. I want to learn from the wisdom of my clients.
This is still a work in progress. Sometimes I let taking care of my business get in the way of taking time for myself. I over extend myself, and then get stressed because I am not taking time for myself. When I let that happen, I lose my clarity and creativity. My to-do list becomes overwhelming. My productivity levels are low. This is when I realize I am back where I started, working too much and taking care of myself too little.
Starting your own business whether it’s on the side or full time can be overwhelming. Sometimes it can seem like you will never reach the mile markers on this marathon. When you have a big goal like running a marathon or starting your own business if you just keep your eyes on the end result you lose sight of why you started in the first place. I have to remind myself when I try to push myself too far and not take time for self-care that I am all I have in my business. I want my business to be sustainable and not burn out. Never feel bad about taking care of yourself first.
I try to keep myself from getting burnt out by setting aside time for myself each day. I have set my schedule up to allow that. Even if it is only five minutes to write down a personal to do list I take that time every day. I have deadlines for myself so that I can keep projects going and I have a fantastic group that keeps me accountable in the Creative Souls Tribe. I am all for working hard but at the end of the day unless I have a pressing deadline, the work will still be there tomorrow. I have also set up a weekly schedule so I do not focus too much on one thing and work smarter. I break up weekly tasks and do a different task each day or break it up into smaller pieces and work on it a little bit each day. That way I am not overwhelmed with a task that seems too big and I need a lot of motivation to accomplish.
Here are some ways you can make time for yourself as a busy creative. Every morning before work take at least 5-15 minutes to do one or a few things just for you. You can pray, exercise, and read or listen to something inspirational. Then make a quick list of what must be accomplished that day. If you have more time you can write out your schedule in detail putting self care tasks in the free spots. No matter how busy my day gets I have at least taken 5 minutes to do something just for me. If my day has a schedule it is easier for me to see when I have time to fit self-care in. I try to plan some type of physical activity during the day even if it is just 15 minutes.
I also make time to be social. We are social creatures, even if we are a little introverted. I find that spending time out with a friend helps me to regroup and refocus. Rather than just work all the time and never connect with friends. Sometimes I meet with a friend for lunch during the day instead of writing while I eat and it helps me to go back to work refreshed. There are even times I get together with a friend or two and have a working lunch. We chat for a few minutes and then set a timer, eat and work. Once the timer is over we take another quick chat break then set the timer to eat and work again. This is great when you feel slammed but want some company and motivation to keep working on a not so fun task.
When I get stuck in a rut and find myself doing too much I try to remind myself why I decided to work for myself again, so that I could take care of myself. So I had time for a social life. Not so I could run myself down again. I have made many sacrifices on this journey. But I worked hard to get where I am, so I am going to enjoy it and you should too.
Heather Holloway McCash lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband. She is a Certified Pilates, Xtend Barre and TRX Instructor as well as an Author. She is classically trained to teach Pilates through Power Pilates and teaches private, small group sessions as well as group classes. She has had her writing featured on CNBC.com, savetheassistants.com and the internal website for a global corporation. Her debut memoir But First… A Story of a Backwards Life is set to release fall 2016. Check out her website heatherhollowaymccash.