An Inspiring Bee Guest Post

by Cathy Miller

in Guest Post

Blame it on my baby boomer brain or the massiveness of the social media world, but I don’t remember where or when I first “met” my guest, Brandi. I am simply glad I did.

I left a stressful life behind when I started my business in 2008. Sure, I still have stress – who doesn’t? But, I like to say it’s manageable now. I really needed to get back to my positive personality. Then I found Brandi. What a delightful and inspiring soul.

I am thrilled that Brandi is sharing her story. Show her some comment love and be sure to check out her blogs. You’ll be inspired.

6 Self-Care Tips for the Self-Employed

by Brandi-Ann Uyemura

Last year, I took a gigantic step by leaving the corporate world and seriously starting my self-employed writing business.

At the same time I was trying to put my name out there, my 15-year-old dog died. We were also contemplating moving and the stress of family visits and a botched international trip where I got horribly sick and our hotel reservations were cancelled, was too much for me. I was sick several times last year and it was both one of the hardest and most important years of my life.

When I think of 2010, I think of late nights working. I would stare at the computer from morning until 1 am at night. I could barely hear my husband calling me “to come to bed already” because I was so focused. There were many things that needed to be done and never enough time. I always felt ten steps behind my competition and although I felt physically exhausted and emotionally drained, I willed my body to meet the demands of my mind.

If that sounds like you, I hope you will read this. Maybe it is the wake up call you need. From an irreversible chronic illness, I finally got a reality check to stop neglecting myself.  I hope you won’t have to go through that before you realize the importance of self-care.

Self-Care Tips for the Self-Employed

Change does not have to be big. Think about the time you spend on the Internet. Think about all those hours sitting on your couch watching TV. You probably have more time than you think to start taking care of yourself. I’ve broken a few down here for you. Try it this week and begin living, really living your life.

Go outside even if it’s raining. I’m reading Dr. Andrew Weill’s book Eight Weeks to Optimum Health. In it, he talks about the importance of walking. I have been an avid walker all my life. I love the repetitiveness of putting one foot in front of the other, the sound of my shoes on the pavement and the feel of the wind of my face. It reminds me that all the stuff in my life that feels important are just distractions to this moment. When I am in nature, even if I am just taking a stroll around the block, I feel like I am where I am supposed to be. Ten minutes, he says is enough for the first week and fifteen for the next. But I’ve been walking 30. How much more whole, connected and balanced I feel walking for thirty minutes versus chatting on Twitter for hours.

Turn off the TV and tune into yourself. Schedule a timer on your computer that alerts you every hour or even every few hours to remind you to stop, stretch, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Get back in your body and think about how you are feeling. Is there tightness in your shoulders? Are you breathing deeply or shallowly? Are you hungry? Do you need to stretch? Are you anxious? Spending 5 minutes to engage your body and mind is a great way to get back in touch with your self.

Learn to say no so you can say, “yes” to your life. Being a people-pleaser for most of my life, this is a hard one for me. But I’ve learned that saying, “yes” when I mean “no” does not help the person I am saying, “yes” to. And if it’s not helping them, or me then why am I doing it? The next time someone asks you a question, take a deep breath, close your eyes and then think about how you feel in your body if you say, “yes.” Then, try doing the same thing, but this time imagine how you would feel if you say, “no.” Honor your body and your intuition. Then, make that choice.

Dress to impress (yourself and others). If you are a work at homie (as I like to call it), your wardrobe may consist entirely of your PJ’s. I am guilty of being a sweats all day and almost every day type of writer. It’s comfortable and my easy transition from getting out of bed to exercising to sitting my butt in front of the computer. But after my writing partner commented a few times about how often I wore exercise clothes, I began to wonder if maybe I was getting just a bit too comfortable. It’s fine to be comfy, but if you’re going out consider wearing professional clothes. According to research, first impressions can last a long time and be difficult to change. Since you never know when you might run into a potential client it may be worth it to wear something nice when you leave your humble abode.

An added bonus? Right now, I’m wearing a little bit too fancy dress for a casual Sunday afternoon. But I have to tell you it feels great. Dressing nice for is a good way to take care of yourself. Why? If you feel like you look good, you feel good too. Why not dress nice just for yourself? You deserve it. And you don’t really need any other reason than that.

Go on a mini retreat. I have been on a search for the ideal retreat. But everywhere I look, I am astounded by the astronomical costs it takes to go on one. Then, I realized that I didn’t have to go far, or extravagant in order to reap the benefits of one. Retreats can be self-created. I took a weekend trip once, well twice because I loved it so much, to a place called Point Reyes. It rained the whole weekend, but that was a good thing. What I love most is the cottage we stay in. All weekend I sat, read, stared out the large picture windows and watched as horses trotted by. Whenever I need a break, I return to my little five hours away weekend retreat.

But retreats don’t have to take you far. You can spend a night at a local hotel to get peace and quiet. Or you can simply close your door, put a sign on it that says,

Please do not disturb. Serious relaxing going on.

Then, turn off your phone, unplug your computer and put on headphones if you have to, and just be still. Listen to some instrumental music if it’s difficult for you to get complete silence. Take a writing pad and write or draw. Read that magazine or book that’s been taking up your bedside table, but you haven’t been able to touch. Light a candle. Meditate. Paint your toenails. Do anything that you’ve been meaning to do, but didn’t think you had the time to do it.

Practice a do less mentality. I created a 21-day challenge for entrepreneurs and self-employed workaholics who needed a break from the rat race. It was inspired by my own desire to start to live my life more by doing less.


What do you do to decompress? Is it hiking, biking or meditating that helps you take care of you? Share your self-care tips below.

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Brandi-Ann Uyemura is a freelance writer and an associate editor for Psych Central. She writes to inspire people to follow their dreams and encourages them to pursue their passion on The Inspiring Bee. You can find out more about her and her writing on her freelance writing website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Devon Ellington April 19, 2011 at 7:32 am

Great article!

Yes, it’s important to go outside every day, no matter what the weather. Although, I do admit to swearing a lot when I was out to shovel snow every other day this winter! ;) Still, it helped.

Regarding clothes, I usually wear yoga clothes when I write, because I take breaks to do yoga throughout the day. However, if I leave the house to run errands or attend a meeting, or whatever, I dress appropriately. I call it putting on “real people pants”. I don’t wear shoes at home, so when I go dashing around, it’s a good excuse to wear my cute shoes, too (unless I’m out walking one of the wildlife sanctuaries)!

Also, dressing professionally to go out and about makes it more FUN to go out, because it’s not just about running to the post office or the library or the grocery store, it’s about GOING OUT, and that’s a psychological help, too.

I’m learning to garden, and I find having my first cup of coffee in the morning outside, before I do my first 1K of the day, and unwinding in the late afternoon with a glass of wine at the end of the official workday helps a lot. If I want to go back and work some more at night, I do — but these times are important for my mental well-being.
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Cathy April 19, 2011 at 8:35 am

Hi Devon: Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your M.O. Isn’t Brandi great?

I used to ALWAYS put on at least mascara (clothes. too) :-) around the house. Now, I only do that if I go out. I absolutely cannot take a client call in PJs. It’s like I think they can see right through the phone.

I will be doing my 8th 3-Day, 60-Mile Walk for Breast Cancer so I am a huge supporter of walking. Since moving to Idaho, I now having a cheering section of horses, cows, goats, sheep and all kinds of birds-ducks, geese, pheasants. It’s awesome!

BTW, Devon, I give you full credit for my change in routine of “writing for myself” for the first hour of the day. It has made such a great difference-so thank you! :-)

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Brandi April 19, 2011 at 11:25 am

Hi Devon~

I love your comment! So funny and true about putting on your “real people pants” and about the psychological help of getting out of the house.

And your tips for having coffee outside and unwinding with a glass at the end of the day are great ones! I like to begin my day with a hearty breakfast (cereal with blueberries and banana), get a pick me up with a cup of tea in the middle of the day and end the day (hopefully) with a little meditation or tai chi.

Thanks for your comment!
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TS Redmond Mize April 19, 2011 at 7:45 am

Wow! She’s absolutely awesome. Thank you so much for sharing her tips. Brandi- I can wholly relate. This came at such a great time- though, to be honest it seems like just when I am really thinking on something, one of the many great bloggers touches right on it…Lol

Thank you for this post, it’s a good reminder.
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Cathy April 19, 2011 at 8:36 am

Hi TS-I couldn’t agree more. I love, Brandi! She touches me with each and everyone of her posts.

Thank you for sharing with us and hope to see you again.

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Brandi April 19, 2011 at 11:31 am

Thanks Cathy and TS! So happy that’s what I’m hoping to do with my posts. =)
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Cathy April 19, 2011 at 11:44 am

Thank you so much for your post, Brandi. You are knocking it out of the park with comments. It’s so fun sharing a talent such as yours. :-)

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Martha Giffen April 19, 2011 at 7:52 am

What a wonderful list! I have to say I am guilty of wearing the same comfortable clothes over and over. I have found, though, that if I dress up a bit (maybe add jewelry and make up! LOL), that my whole attitude changes towards what I’m trying to accomplish. There is something about appearing “professional” that goes a long way.

Don’t get me wrong, PJ’s are great too, but if your writing is getting stale or boring, a change in attire is a great attitude adjustment!

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Cathy April 19, 2011 at 8:44 am

Hi Martha: Aren’t these great tips? And so simple. I moved in with my 89-year-old Mom about a year ago, after my Dad died. I’d like to say it was to take care of her, but I think more often than not, it’s the other way around.

Mom prepares a hot meal for lunch (when we have our big meal), so it forces me to stop working and enjoy. I know, I am so spoiled.

Thanks for sharing your tips, Martha, and thanks for stopping by.

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Brandi April 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

You know what’s funny? I was just watching an old episode of, “The Nate Berkus Show” last night. And the author of the, “Happiness Project” Gretchen Rubin was talking about how to do small things to make yourself happy. Dressing nice every day was one of them.

Thanks for sharing your comment! I love what you said about how what you wear can affect your writing too. It’s true!
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Kelly Maria Clark April 19, 2011 at 8:26 am

I got rid of my cable a year ago and I can’t tell you how much it has helped me. I have also noticed that I tend to work better when I get dressed as I would for an office job and go do my work at Panera.

What great tips! Thank you for the post.
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Brandi April 19, 2011 at 11:36 am

Wow that IS inspiring! And something I should do. I have noticed that when I go to that cottage in Point Reyes, I am so much more relaxed and get more writing done because there is no phone or TV.
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Cathy April 19, 2011 at 8:39 am

Hi Kelly Maria: I have not gotten rid of cable, but I sure don’t watch a lot of it. When I go to Maui on vacation, however, I never turn on the TV the whole time I am there and I absolutely love it.

Thanks for sharing your morning routine, Kelly Maria, and for stopping by. I do appreciate it.

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Steve Rice April 19, 2011 at 9:27 am

Thanks for such great tips. It is hard to remember to care ourselves sometimes as business owners. These guidelines are commonsense, but applicable. Thank you.
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Brandi April 19, 2011 at 11:45 am

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the comment and for stopping by my blog! I hope these simple tips with be a reminder for all overworked entrepreneurs.
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Cathy April 19, 2011 at 9:43 am

Hi Steve: Thanks for stopping by. I agree, it’s sometimes the simplest solutions that we tend to overlook. Thanks again sharing your perspective.

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Bertie Williams April 19, 2011 at 11:26 am

I can’t tell you how quickly I connected with your blog. I am just begining to get into web marketing, trying to sell books I’ve written and those that my friends have written. I have a website, blog, and facebook page dedicated to this.

But, what made me take most notice is the similarities between myself and your opening statement. My wonderful cat, WuTang; my pet companion of 14 years died this past Thursday. I have recently had one of those family hissy-fits twixt my son and daughter in law and myself that has left me confused and hurting. Although my physical health is good so far and at 63 I am quite lucky, my mental stress compensates with plenty of punches to the psyche.

I will take your advice posted here . I do not know how to say “no” when asked for help and this leads to great difficulty for me. I will have to practice this if it will help me.

I tend to spend literally hours on the computer working on poetry, stories, etc. without any rest or break, then feel the strained arms, shoulders and back. In short I am doing alot of wrong things that I think this blog can help me overcome. I am so glad that I read this and am adding this page to my favs so I can refer to it often. Thanks and many Blessings to you and yours.
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Cathy April 19, 2011 at 11:41 am

Bertie: Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your story. Isn’t Brandi great?

I think we all have tendencies to forget how important it is to take care of ourselves. I totally believe if I had not left the Corporate world, I wouldn’t still be in this world. It wasn’t my bosses or the jobs, it was that I wasn’t following my heart.

Thanks again, Bertie, for stopping by, and we hope to see you by this way again. :-)

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Brandi April 19, 2011 at 11:55 am

Hi Bertie,

I am so sorry about WuTang. Pet loss is devastating and it takes a lot of time to heal from. Sounds like you are definitely going through a lot and I can relate. I am so happy you found this post and excited that it may be the sign you may need to take better care of yourself. I have a 21 day challenge over at The Inspiring Bee that may help you. Every day there are simple tips to begin doing less. Take care of yourself Bertie.

Sending you love and good thoughts ~ Brandi
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Johan Horak on Sharing Goodwill April 22, 2011 at 9:00 am

Hi Thanks for sharing some nice ideas. When I saw your mini retreats it reminded me of the 10 day silent retreat I went on that cost you nothing. At the end you can make a donation or come back and work in the kitchen for ten days. If you love meditation have a look here and find a place near you http://www.dhamma.org/
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Cathy April 22, 2011 at 9:07 am

Hi Johan: Thank you for sharing the retreat information and thank you for stopping by. Have a fabulous weekend.

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Nicky Parry August 3, 2011 at 9:44 am

Fun post – Nice to meet you, Brandi! I really resonate with the idea of dressing to impress, even if you don’t get to see another human being each day. At the moment my freelancing is still my moonlighting job, so I have the privilege of needing to dress to impress for my day job. But I know at weekends sometimes, if I’m home alone and plan on a day indoors to work, I still “force” myself to hit the gym & dress as if I was going out. The temptation to hibernate can be all too great, but there’s something very soothing & therapeutic about self-care.
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Cathy Miller August 3, 2011 at 9:55 am

I think I’ll go change out of my San Diego Charger t-shirt now. :-)

Thanks for the reminder, Nicky – I think. :-D
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Brandi August 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Hi Nicky,

Your comment reminded me too! I had an interview yesterday and realized again that dressing to impress (especially for myself) is important when you stay at home all day. Thanks for your comment! And glad to e-meet you too. =)
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