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ep 04 transcript:
advocating for your own work-life balance

My name is Laura and I'm a wellness expert and founder of BE.FLOW Digital, a social media marketing studio. This is a space where I share thoughts and musings on marketing philosophies and how you can create more space for yourself and your wellness as a business owner. advocating for your own work life balance. So I'm having a really good day. Today I'm sitting in my office with a candle burning, and I made my own homemade iced coffee, which I can tell you about another time and a smoothie. And I'm just feeling good. And feeling really good. So let's get right into it. Today, I'm going to start with a poem I'm loving, by Wendell Berry. He's one of my favorite poets of all time. It's called the Mad Farmer Liberation Front. And this poem is about a lot of things. But it challenges me specifically today to think outside of the box to do a little bit of everything in life to question a little more especially the things that I know to be true. And to just embrace life, embrace the here and now. And for me, embracing life and working against the grain of society's expectations means having the courage to embrace wellness, which really, truly can feel against the grain, right. And I see that as an act of defiance. That is like my sticking it to the man. priority. It's my revolt, and I refuse to back down. So here are a few excerpts from this poem. I'm not going to read the whole thing because it's pretty long. 

 

Love the quick profit, the annual raise vacation with pay, want more of everything ready made, be afraid to know your neighbors and to die and you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery anymore. Your mind will be punched and a card and shut away and a little drawer. When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit, they will let you know. So friends every day, do something that won't compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. love someone who does not deserve it. Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the Millennium millennium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant that you will not live to harvest. Listen to carry on. Put your ear close and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come. Expect the end of the world laugh laughter is immeasurable. be joyful. Though you have considered all of the facts. Go with your love to the fields. Lie down in the shade rest your head and her lap swear allegiance to what is nyeste your thoughts. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.

 

Oh man, I just like have so many chills right now. It's crazy. Again, this poem is about so many things. But I'd say the biggest thing is that it really does challenge you to question what you know. So my question today in particular, is what if we all as a collective made the rebellious decision to redefine what a good life means? what success means? It's not always a six figure paycheck, which is what seems to be on my Instagram all day every day for some ungodly reason. Here's a common scenario. You start your own thing to get more freedom in your life. Maybe for you freedom means more time to travel. That was definitely my motivation, spending time with your kids escaping the tyranny of the nine to five corporate grind. For many of my people, you have a mission on your heart that you just want to see through. You want to serve in some ways or a cause greater than you. It's all romance and sunshine until you realize You have to fill every single role in your business. Or if you're lucky enough to hire people, the responsibilities sitting on your shoulders slowly starts to eat away at that freedom you wanted to begin with. Pretty soon you find yourself trapped in this life you intentionally chose but didn't realize was so brutally unrelenting, never mind fitting in, you know, self care. A lot of us actually love to work, we chose it, you know, but even still, our bodies are revolting against us. Because this level of sustained work and focus simply goes against our biology. business gets to be filled with ease. It can and should be something that brings you joy, and nourishment. And cultivating wellness boils down to this, listening to your body, and responding with intention. I could give you all the tips. But before you even commit to do the work, you first need to believe that making wellness a priority is the best thing you can do for your life and business. If you don't believe that, if it's not a part of your core values in life, you won't do it. It needs to become a central tenant of who you are as a human being. Now, wellness isn't just a fluffy endeavor for rich people. It's a way of life, it's accessible to everyone. And it's integral if you want a support system for your big dreams. We are not made for continuous output. A lot of us have heard the quote, you're not a human doing your human being. Translation. We are not made for continuous output. Here's the thing. It's all life. every aspect of your life is life. Work is life. Taking care of the kids is life. That evening skincare routine life, mowing the lawn life, gardening life. In my mind, you have to start with a mindset of appreciation for each moment and a recognition that all is life. And life is a blessing. Each moment is a blessing. It's all one thing seamless and fully integrated. One aspect of life is not the enemy of the other. each facet feeds and supports the other. I think sometimes people think they have no time for wellness, which tells me that they're convinced wellness will be counterproductive at the end of the day, that their work matters more. And I challenge you to challenge yourself to try the things that seem counterintuitive. When I challenge you to make plenty of space for your leisure. What questions doubts or obstacles come to your mind, what stands in the way of you incorporating more leisure into your life. So for today, that's all I'm going to say about cultivating belief. But I do think it starts with observing how it makes you feel to think about incorporating more self care, more leisure, more wellness, what comes up? What obstacles come up, I think that's a great place to start. And then to go back to that poem, question your everyday assumptions, you know, realize that all is life and that each aspect of life feeds the other and dare to find an alternative approach to what everyone else is doing. Dare to add more wellness into your life. And to believe that is a cause, both for you as an individual and for us as a collective as a society that is worth standing on. 

 

Okay, so now let's get practical. Here are three steps you can take to begin integrating wellness into your every day and to begin taking a more proactive approach. Number one, build a structure that makes space for wellness. So what do I mean by structure, I mean, actually mapping out the flow of your week from a big picture perspective. Here's a basic structure for your week that you can use. This is sort of the guide I use. It can be flexible, but I do think it's really helpful. First, schedule the bookends of your day, intentionally decide on your mornings and evenings and make that time about nourishing yourself. So maybe you've decided that mornings are for prepping yourself to have energy, focus and joy that's your goal. So what activities will facilitate Take that. Now move to evening evenings, maybe your goal is relaxation, decompression leisure, what activities will move you toward that. Be specific actually write it down and be specific about the timing to okay does not have to be hours, but it can be, you know, like an hour, I don't know how much ever time you have in the morning, a half hour, make it fit your life, but be specific and map it out, be proactive, not reactive. Next, schedule meal times, I include workouts here as well. Because for me, that is an mealtimes and working out are integral for wellness, and for energy and for focus. So most small business owners I know skip two out of three meals in their day, meals aren't self care to them. And here's the thing. I believe that meals are self care. I also believe that meals are a necessity. Meals are literal fuel for your brain. So why skip out on this important tool that will do nothing but aid your focus and productivity, if that really is what you value. So it's not just self care, it's a necessity. Next, schedule commitments that can't change. So this varies from person to person, maybe this is picking your kids up from daycare, maybe this is a standing meeting that never ever changes, things like that, like non negotiable commitments that don't change from month to month. Okay, next, so schedule, and you're off time, I think a lot of people think about their work schedule, and then they plan around that. But I'm going to challenge you to think critically about what your chosen off time is. Okay. So don't let your work day just end when it ends. Obviously, this means you set start and end times for your work. But you're also really setting aside time that you know, you're going to be off, so maybe it's a date night, maybe you're dictating your days off, or the amount of time in the evenings, but I really want you to start to commit to that time off. It's an intentional choice. Finally, after that, build in your work schedule around all of that. Okay, so what this does, is it gives you those set periods of time where you can integrate more self care more leisure, more time with your family, more things that you value outside of work. And that gives you a more holistic approach. This is only one view of what it means to integrate wellness, but it is my strategy. And by the way structure can make room for spontaneity, too. You only have time to be spontaneous, if being spontaneous doesn't give you a heart attack that you're dropping the ball on something else. Do you know what I mean? Build your weekly schedule in such a way that your work doesn't make you feel that constant overwhelm, if you're feeling that overwhelm, it's time to pull back. Again, it comes back to values. Okay. So that was the first step building structure now is like sort of an inside peek at the structure that I like to recommend the second step, learn stress management techniques and integrate them into that structure that we just built. Okay, so not all stress is bad. But what isn't great is that chronically high level of stress that we just weren't meant to sustain stress management techniques. Again, I think it varies from person to person. But in terms of scientifically backed methods for dealing with stress, I'm going to make a couple recommendations. And I'll put some links in the in the show notes so that you can reference some of the tools that I personally use. So the first would be breathwork and an SDR. So that's non sleep, deep rest. Okay, techniques, like the physiological sigh, or nasal breathing, or, you know, there's so many other breathwork modalities and programs out there, yoga nidra. These are all practices that are sort of designed to help you bring your stress response levels down. So incorporating those I would say on a daily basis, but at least weekly. social connection, do not underestimate the power of social connection for your health and well being. I know the pandemic changed a lot for everyone, and I'm an introvert. So I tend to not want to socially Connect. But it is scientifically backed, that we are made to be in connection with other humans in some capacity. So lean on your people. The third thing would be movement and nutrition. Okay, so these are fundamental ways to fuel your body and your brain. Again, these aren't just self care. To me, these are like, necessity, the body is made to move. And the food that we put in our bodies will dictate our mood, our energy levels, the way we interact with our family, and our kids, our patients. To me, these are things that are so fundamental and deserve your time, your money, your energy to really figure out a way to incorporate them into your daily routine. So that would be the one that I would say, start there. Next, get more exposure to the outdoors in nature, connect your feet to the literal ground, let your eyes capture a broad expanse of sky rather than a screen every now and again, these are all ways to keep you both inspired and grounded in what truly matters. But also, these are proven ways to lower your stress response. So one quick way would be to get outside every morning, first thing and let your eyes kind of capture the sky capture the sun look around, observe, just It doesn't matter. If you feel wide awake, it will set you up to be both alert, but also calm for the rest of the day. It's what your body's circadian rhythm needs to sort of get in its little sweet spot. That's just me putting it simply we can get more into that another time. And the final thing I'm going to suggest is hobbies. I'm a person that I've done what I love for work for a very long time. So I oftentimes turn my hobbies into careers. But as I get older, I realized more and more the importance of doing things you love that aren't attached to money. So I talked about this a lot. I don't care if you love your work, that is not relevant. You and your work will be better if you cultivate interest outside of it. Again, this concept that each facet of life feeds the other. Okay, so I want you to think about if you have hobbies, they can be simple like reading or elaborate like weaving. I don't know, you do you you know, but pick a hobby, and watch your life blossom and flourish and your capacity for inspiration and connection with people will also expand. Or at least that's that's my hypothesis. Okay, so that was the second way the first, the first step for integrating wellness into your everyday life is to one build a structure to learn stress management techniques and begin integrating them into the structure. So integrate them into that morning and evening book and that you've scheduled, integrate it into your meal time routine, you know, that time off? These are things that you can integrate there. And the third and final way is to find ways to optimize your work life. Do you need to find ways to make more space for non work hobbies, activities and leisure? If so, it's possible that you need to find ways to improve the work facet of your life. One way to do this is to set better boundaries with your clients and colleagues. What boundaries you need to put in place around communication expectations, meetings scope, what do you need to do to set up the life that you originally set out to have? Another way to optimize your work life is to raise your rates. Remember that pay is not just about time spent on a task. It's also about the value and the knowledge that you bring to the table. Next, find ways to batch like tasks so you can work more productively. Okay, so one example of this if I'm creating content for a client, I could work on one graphic, one caption, move on to the next graphic, next caption, etc etc. What I've done instead is I've decided that I have a day that is graphic design focused. And I have a day that is writing and caption focused. That way, it's easier for my brain to sort of get in a flow, if that makes sense. And I work more productively as a result. Finally, delegate so you can work in your zone of genius. There is a lot of content out there on productivity. So I'm really not going to belabor it here. And honestly, I'm working on delegation myself. But that is definitely a top tip. So if you have the funds to delegate, okay, so those were the three steps to start integrating wellness into your everyday. So just to recap, real quick, one, build a structure that makes space for your wellness, to learn stress management techniques, and integrate them and to the structure. And three, find ways to optimize your work life. Okay, so this is a constant work in progress. And it is not about perfection. We're all in a different place on this spectrum. In a world where so many people and things vying for our time remember that you are in control of your life. And you have that agency to advocate for your life, you get to choose how you fill it. Always remember to evaluate how you can be proactive toward your own wellness and you'll do just fine. So as promised, I want to leave you with some mantras for the week ahead. So here we go.

 

I have everything I need to create my own joy.

 

I nourish and nurture my energy by making my wellness a priority.

 

I am a perfectly imperfect work in progress.

 

I get to choose who and what fills my time.

 

I am my own best advocate.

 

If you're enjoying these philosophies and want to continue the conversation come join me over on Instagram @beflowdigital or dig into our blog over at beflowdigital.com/blog. There are all kinds of free tips and advice over there and we love to balance it with a whole range of musings on entrepreneur wellness. Thank you for listening!