Self-Care: Check-in

At the moment, I feel pretty great.  I’ve slept in the past two mornings.  I’m currently sitting at my kitchen island with no makeup on, drinking fresh homemade lemon ginger tea.  I’ve actually gotten to see and spend time with my husband the past two days (which is incredibly rare because of our conflicting work schedules).  Not to mention, I’ve been “catching up” on some things that have taken a back seat recently. I feel pretty awesome at the moment.  I’ve found my chill.  My Happy Place.

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But the past couple weeks (let’s all be honest here… the past couple months really) I’ve been a mess.  I’ve been so caught up in the hustle of every day life and work. I haven’t been sleeping well.  I’ve been stressing excessively about everything going on both at work and at home (all good stuff, promise! just lots of it). And  my body has been sending me huge flashing signs that things aren’t right.  I’ve been feeling sick, tired, and achy but all without being actually sick.

I’ve been in a not so great place both mentally and physically.  

Last weekend was a huge turning point.  I had the most incredible opportunity to stop everything, travel to another state, spend time with incredible people, eat awesome food, get a little spoiled, enjoy amazing scenery, laugh, and just relax.

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The best part???  I didn’t open my computer, check my email, or return any phone calls (except to my amazing husband at home) for THREE DAYS!  3 DAYS!

Rachel and I even went live on facebook on our way home to talk about how we need to invest more in self-care because she and I had never gone three days without talking about work.

Since getting home on Monday afternoon, I’ve done my best to stay in that positive place and keep going with the self-care.  For me that means getting a good night’s sleep.  Going for a run.  Getting a massage, occasionally.  Stopping to spend time with my mom.  Having dinner with people I love. Taking time to put on my makeup and dress nicely when leaving the house. Listening to a podcast. Making tea.  Lazing on the couch. Etc.

The phrase “sleep begets sleep” has come up a lot in conversation the past couple months and I think it can translate really nicely to self-care.  Self-care begets self-care.  It is a practice, a habit, a mindset, and a routine.  Self-care does not always come easy to me, so I have to practice.  Some weeks, I do better than others.  But I know the more I practice taking care of myself the easier it will come and the better off I will be for it in the end.  It has never been more clear to me that “you cannot take care of others until you take care of yourself.”   Resting, treating my body well, and tuning into my overall well-being help me to really hustle when I need to and to be more present and helpful for others.

How do you engage in self-care?

Handling the Hard Parts of Owning a Business

Don’t get me wrong for even one second.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do. In fact, I wrote a whole post about it recently on our Leaders Blog.    I sincerely believe I have the best/coolest/most rewarding job on the face of the planet.  And really, who could argue with this cuteness? Music Class With Katey

But that’s where the conversation usually ends with most people who also think they have the “best/coolest/most rewarding job”.  Most business owners I know won’t openly divulge the icky, not-so-fun parts of what they do, which is terribly unfair.  Business ownership is often put on a tall, shiny pedestal without so much as a mention of how that pedestal was built, how it stays standing and polished, and what it takes to stay there living the perceived awesome entrepreneurial life.

Want the honest to goodness truth??  It takes a lot of hard work and grit. We are talking serious determination. Long hours. Unpaid work. Tons of trial AND error. Revisions like you wouldn’t believe. And so on and so on…

There are things I have dealt with as a business owner that I never thought I would encounter in my life, let alone before I was 30.  I have had to learn so many things outside my general scope of knowledge and way outside comfort zone (website building anyone).  I am challenged and encounter something new nearly every day.  I have had to learn to rely on other people in my life who love me (especially my incredibly supportive husband, amazing family, and outstanding business partner, thank you all!!) and learn to accept help… which is really hard for me.  I have had to accept that there are serious growing pains that come with trying to grow my business that also seriously affect my personal budget.  I have had to learn that there are very few things I have complete control of and that I have to trust the people and processes I am surrounded by.  I have had to have some serious moments and really tough conversations with people.  I have had to put on my big girl pants and become a real boss in both my personal and professional life.

Yes, those are the some of the hard parts and I don’t anticipate them to just going away.  Every day that I am a business owner, I fully expect to be challenged.  I understand, acknowledge, and accept that some days are going to be really rough and more often than not there is nothing I can do to change those things that occur.

The one thing I can control is my response. How I cope. How I react. How I handle myself in stressful situations. And how I learn and grow along the way.Running for the Win

Today, was tough. I felt anxious and upset when I was walking through my front door.  My first instinct was to curl up in a ball and cry. My second was to run. So, I ran.  I employed a couple of my favorite self-care strategies and went for it. I listened to a podcast that I knew would be motivating and a pushed myself to run faster!   When I got home, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and like I could move forward with what I needed to get done.

Getting to the point: There will be hard days, tough situations, and challenging moments. I handle them with lots of support from my friends and family, engaging in serious self-care strategies that work for me, taking time for reflection and rest, and acknowledging that all of the hard work I have put in has helped build something incredible that will simply keep growing every day because I love what I do.

Using Music for Personal Healing

Yesterday afternoon, my mom called to tell me my great aunt had passed away.  She was in her late 80s and not in great health.  She had been in and out of the hospital a lot recently.  So it wasn’t entirely unexpected,  but that’s not to say that it didn’t break my heart a little.

We weren’t terribly close, but my Aunt Lorraine is one of the sweetest people I know and has always treated me splendidly.  She and my uncle Jack have always supported me in everything I have done (including generously helping me buy attire for pageant I didn’t place in) , sent cards for every holiday and major event, and spent time talking with me fairly regularly.552334_3548775843945_584792454_n

I was distracted by the news and was having trouble focusing on things. My stress level was already high and the loss I felt wasn’t helping. Certain songs kept playing in my head distracting me even more from what I was trying to accomplish. So, I put everything down and listened to what the music was trying to tell me.

I pulled out my favorite songs or ones that spoke to me in the moment (mostly mellow, minor tunes) and sat at the piano.  I played, I sang, and I played some more. I teared up with some of the lyrics and didn’t play all the right notes, but it was sooo incredibly helpful.e4a17e1f968485c41647ac83ecb6ab64

Using music is a coping mechanism and tool that I teach others to use daily, but I forget how powerful it can be for me..  I forget that it helps to soothe my soul, work through tough emotions and situations, and recenter my mind.  Taking time for me to deal with things in a way that I know works is so incredibly important.

I’m not going to feel 100% ok right now, but at least I have a way to help me cope.

How do you cope with difficult situations or loss? Do you have go to music that helps you?

It’s Tuesday… and I’m Exhausted

Actually, to be honest, I was exhausted yesterday when it was only Monday (and even the day before when it was Sunday) and that feels like that was forever ago.  Really, truly,  Monday feels like it was at least three days ago.

But why am I sharing this?  Why do I sound whiny instead of sharing something useful?

I need to be honest and vulnerable with you.

I can preach things like self-care, simplifying, and work flow until the cows come home, but you have to know that I still struggle with these things.  I struggle to take time for myself when I need it, say no when people ask for things, or simplify when life gets too busy for me to actually accomplish everything I want to.

I still struggle and I know I’m not alone.

So, by telling you the truth that I’m exhausted and having a hard time accomplishing what I want to right now, I hope it gives you the room to be honest with yourself and do what you need to in order to better take care of yourself.

What am I doing to help myself?

For starters, I went back to bed this morning and I slept in a few extra hours because my body really needed it. I have celiac disease and was “glutened” the other day so my body is on the mend so I need more sleep than normal and every task is more taxing than it usually it is.

What else? I’m relying more on my amazing business partner, intern, and team to help get things accomplished. We share the load and try to cover more when the other person is feeling down.  I’m trying to be honest about what I can and cannot reasonably accomplish in one day and shortening my to do list to just a couple actionable items.  I’m taking time to just sit and talk to my husband because we haven’t had more than a solid 30 minute block together on any day in over two weeks. I’m trying to be present in whatever task I’m doing.  I’m following my personal work flow and what I’m inspired to do in the moment so it doesn’t seem as draining. And I’m having faith that my energy will rebound soon, especially as my body continues to heal and I take care of myself.

So, how are you helping yourself??

Being a Supervisor…

…definitely has it’s challenges and tough moments.  There are long nights, hard conversations, sweat, tears, stress, etc.  I get it!

However, it is one of the most rewarding and consistently joyful things I have ever done professionally.  I love having the opportunity and ability to influence someone and help them grow into the professional they want to be.  I love being there when they have questions and being able to answer them or learning new things along the way by finding the answer together.  I like being able to have conversations where we talk about the aspects of Music Therapy or business that often get swept under the rug or taken for granted.  AND I am absolutely thrilled whenever I see my intern succeed.

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The past few weeks, Alisabeth has displayed an incredible amount of growth (whether she realizes it or not) and in spite of some really challenging situations. Needless to say, I am beyond excited to see where the next few weeks lead!

Mostly, I just wanted to take a moment to encourage anyone in a teacher, supervisor, student, or even parent role to take a step back and look at where you started.  Notice what steps you’ve taken.  Acknowledge any successes.

It’s really easy to get caught up in daily affairs and not take notice of what is happening along the way.  Sometimes, the changes and growth are subtle.  Often, they are stealthy and you don’t notice them happening.

So… Take a moment. Sit back. Re-assess. And Be Proud! 

You’re doing a great job!