It’s not unusual to open up your social media feed to see hashtags like #thegrinddontstop and #sleepwhenIdie. And in those moments if you are kicking back and binging the latest season of “Orange Is The New Black” in footies smelling like yesterday, you may suddenly feel like you aren’t doing enough.
Nevermind that you may have worked overtime and spent hours of your day stuck in traffic, or even spent 50+ hours in a week working towards growing your brand, all while cooking, cleaning, taking care of kids, trying to keep your relationship intact, and have an active presence on social media. In that moment that you chose to do absolutely nothing but enjoy your favorite chick flicks, you may suddenly experience a tinge of guilt.
You may also feel like you have no right to rest and should be grinding harder. That somehow success only comes to those who never sleep, barely eat, and don’t take vacations.
And that’s furthest from the truth.
A few years ago a successful friend of mine had invited me over to watch movies. As he ran down a list of titles, he was shocked that I hadn’t seen at least 90% of his favorite classics. I remember him saying, “You don’t watch movies?” and I responded, “I don’t have time. I’m normally working” ( aka I have better things to do with my time.)
His response was, “You need to live a little. You need to escape.”
That day I didn’t quite understand what he meant because I come from a work-obsessed culture who pegged the television the “Idiot box.” Escaping to me meant running off to a secluded island, or traveling to a foreign place, or even immersing myself into a good book — but a movie or binge watching a show, “Nah.” And even those things had to be done moderately because again, we are a culture of super talented, creative dreamers and entrepreneurs who are afraid to take breaks and vacations in fear of falling off. That there may be someone who works harder or is more talented that will slide in and take your place.
If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that burnout is counterproductive to growth. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your company or brand in the long-term.
In 2015, I experienced burnout and was exhausted beyond belief. After I closed down my site NecoleBitchie.com, I went to work immediately on a new site, xoNecole.com, that would launch just two months later. During an interview that I set up with CurlBox owner Myleik Teele who is one of my entrepreneur sheroes, I remember her saying, “I read somewhere that you recently took your first vacation after 6 years. I was like ‘Is she crazy??’ I took 10 vacations last year.”
I sat there shocked in all my burned out glory, with barely enough energy to be on the call, let alone transcribe and formulate the interview I was currently having into a well-written feature article. All I could think was, “10 vacations? What am I doing wrong?” After years of working non-stop, I barely had enough energy left in me to launch a new brand, yet Myleik was sitting on a thriving empire that included a subscription box service, opening her own warehouse, and a podcast and she had somehow managed to give herself permission to take 10 vacations in one year. It was very obvious of who had it all wrong, and who was doing things the right way.
And it wasn’t me.
That conversation was a blatant reminder that instead of refusing to get adequate sleep, or grinding non-stop, those moments when you are feeding your soul with the things you enjoy like that hour-long pilates class, that weight-lifting session, learning a new language, happy hour with friends, a movie night, an unplug day from social media, a vacation and even binging your favorite show, only lead to more productivity and creativity in your professional life which ultimately will help you become a better performer at work and better version of yourself.
And you should never feel guilty about those moments.
Just recently I went on a 7-day vacation to Thailand, and had a blast, but there was a lot of times during my trip where I felt guilty about the time I was taking away from my website. When I returned however, I felt relaxed, recharged, and I was bursting out the seams with new ideas and projects.
Let me say this:
You should never feel guilty about the things that make you happy.
You should never feel guilty about not giving your time and energy to other people before making sure that you are good mentally, spiritually and emotionally first.
You should not feel guilty for doing the things you love.
You should never feel guilty or selfish for indulging in self-care.
Self-care is a form of self-love and self love is asking yourself what you need every day and then making sure you receive it. That could be as simple as unplugging from everything, and doing absolutely nothing but catching up on some much needed rest, or enjoying your favorite show.
Because you deserve that.
“The shit that makes your heart beat faster and your eyes glow when you do it or talk about it, no matter if it’s hiking, yoga, gardening, painting, sex, meditation, photography, going for walks, helping others – do that. Do it as often as you can. Because that’s what life is about. Creating as many passionate, happy moments as possible. Don’t let anyone stop you from doing the things you love – not even yourself.” – Unknown
If you are an entrepreneur, do you find that you experience guilt when you take time off from growing your brand to do a few things you enjoy? What are ways you are practicing self-care? Let me know in the comments.
***Photos snapped at Sri Panwa, Phuket Thailand.