You Can't Pour From An Empty Cup

“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival” Andre Lorde

It’s Mental Health Awareness week and it’s already been so amazing to read so many brave stories from members of our network about overcoming mental health battles on a daily basis. As part of our contribution, and to help create awareness for this important subject, we have decided to share our journey with self-care, and talk to you about our strategies when navigating difficult aspects of running your own business or being freelance.

Over the past two years since we’ve started Mac&Moore, we’ve not only learned how to build a business, but also what’s essential to maintain your wellbeing whilst on this rollercoaster journey. The highs have been high the lows have been, well, pretty damn awful – but we’re firm believers that navigating through both can make you reach a deeper understanding of who you really are, and the value you provide to the world around you.

I hadn’t delved that deeply into self-care prior to setting up our business. I was still caught up in the London lifestyle that’s all too familiar, going out far too frequently, over extending myself professionally and personally whilst eating/drinking way too much of all the wrong things (aka bottles of Malbec and Tesco finest pizza range). Starting our business also came at time when I was heading into my 30s which was also a change that I hadn’t quite prepared for (does anyone!?). I’d had enough of the constant rat race and the #FOMO feeling that stalked me all year round, and I felt it was time to reset. I was heading for burn out and I knew I had to step back and take a moment to focus on myself. I also didn’t want to live with a constant guilt that I wasn’t enough, knowing this feeling was affecting my work and my personal relationships, two things I care deeply about.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including YOU”

Anne Lamott

I’ve had to prioritise what really matters and that means putting myself first before I start to think about how I help others. Previously I didn’t have a true understanding of what self-care really meant. I felt it was far too self-indulgent and narcissistic – wasn’t life about what you could put back rather than what you took for yourself? I recently looked up the definition of self-care and came across this that perfectly summed up the importance of putting yourself first:

“Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.”

Adopting self-care practices into my day-to-day life has taken constant work, but it’s resulted in radical transformations both within my relationship with myself and others. I’ve become more skilled at navigating difficult/toxic relationships and anxiety by trialling techniques from books, social media and various wellbeing activities/therapies.

Part of why Nat and I write blogs is to share our journey with our community. We also want to share stories and information that are educational or contribute a different perspective than you might have previously thought. Over the next few months, we’ll be documenting our continued journey into self-care and how we confront our anxieties and dark days. We’ll be meeting several different practitioners throughout London who specialise and promote wellbeing through their different practices with the view to offer some ways to make you feel like you have the headspace and self-support to be the your very best you. We will specifically be exploring:

·      Holistic therapieshow massage and reiki are not an indulgence but can be a powerful tool in relieving stress and tension from day-to-day life

·      Nutritionhow we find the right balance and food for our body and work on ourselves from the inside out

·      Fitness and wellbeinghow exercise is different for everybody depending on what your mind and body both need

·      Day-to-day activitiesIt isn’t about spending a ton of money on feeling good. Sometimes it’s just about giving yourself some breathing room to spend some time on yourself to feel better and more adjusted, or simply reading a book that gives you a more positive perspective.

It’s important to promote self-care in your own life if you’re a freelancer/founder of a business. We’re no experts (hence why we’re asking professionals on their point of view!) and our journey is very personal to us. But hopefully by starting an honest and open conversation we can help our community through a bad day, moment in time or difficult life transition by educating or simply by saying you’re not alone.

We’d LOVE to hear of your own self-care life-savers or anyone who has inspired you to think differently. Part of the reason we love what we do is to tap into the incredible minds of our community who offer us so much support and wisdom.

Love Jess X