The topic of self-care ideas is really important to me, especially in the midst of busy season. Every day I am growing more and more in my awareness of self-care and the importance of how it affects me. For the past two years, I have not put self-care on a priority list and it took a toll on me. I wasn’t burnt out yet, but I was feeling like I was giving, giving, giving and receiving almost nothing in return. I am a classic enneagram 2, the helper, so it comes naturally to me to give a lot of myself. But I learned it doesn’t come super naturally to take time for self-care.
When this changed for me about 6 months ago, I have truly been a better human and a better version of myself. Instead of working yourself into the ground this busy season, tune in to the 4th episode of All Angles Photography Podcast or keep reading to learn 10 self-care ideas. If it feels overwhelming, just start small. It counts and I know you’ll thank me later. Let’s get to it!
This day may change on a weekly basis because I know my schedule is never the same, but my biggest recommendation is to have a weekly planning meeting with yourself. For example, sit down every Sunday or Monday to plan out your week and decide when you will take a day off. On this day off, take care of things that otherwise get pushed aside OR simply take the whole day to relax fully and have no obligations.
I know it can be very hard to take a day off since a lot of times as entrepreneurs we put in many more hours than just 40 hours a week. During the busy season, we have weddings, elopements, engagement sessions, editing, a lot of work in and out of our homes, so it’s important to take a day off. You deserve it – you work very hard. In order to avoid thinking you can’t take a day off, in this weekly planning meeting go ahead and write down all of the things you need to get done that week, plan them out for each day, and go ahead and schedule this day off so you know you’ve taken care of everything that has to be done.
When you are stressed your body releases too much of a hormone called cortisol. This hormone in high amounts makes you more susceptible to sickness and this is the last thing any of us need in a busy season. Sleep is one of the top ways we can keep stress in check, so be sure to listen to your body instead of staying up until 1am editing – yes, I’m talking to you! As long as it depends on me, I don’t stay up past 10:30pm most nights. This ensures I get enough sleep and have plenty of time for a slow morning or to do my morning routine.
Every single person is different, but it usually takes about 7-9 hours of sleep each night so that your body, immune system, and mind are rested.
Remember that weekly planning meeting I touched on? When you are scheduling your day off, go ahead and schedule out your breaks too! This keeps you from feeling guilty for stepping away for an hour for lunch, or if you know you need an afternoon pick-me-up on most days, go ahead and schedule that into your day as well so it’s part of the day. You’re much more likely to do it if it’s on your calendar as an event. I have loved the way Jules Acree sets up her google calendar and I did mine the same! Jules is a productivity and organization guru, so check out how she maps out breaks and plans on a weekly basis.
This could be as simple as a walk around your neighborhood or going to the gym 3 times a week. Exercise releases endorphins and this is SO needed after a long day of editing or days of focusing on everyone except yourself. I have really loved doing yoga because it forces me to take good, deep breaths while moving my body and stretching it out.
If you are someone who doesn’t consider yourself the most “active” or “fit”, this could be as simple as a walk around your neighborhood. This could be a brisk walk or more so a take-in-the-scenery kind of walk. Stretching your body and letting the sun hit your face can do so much for your productivity and mental health. If it’s as simple as that, don’t downplay it – it still counts.
Being a photographer is hard on your body so make time to get a massage once a month to care for yourself. When I started doing this, I loved showing up and mindlessly laying there for an hour while my massage therapist rubbed all the tension out. I don’t know about you, but I hold tension in my shoulders so this has been a great way for me to feel release and cared for.
Clinical studies have found that people who regularly practice gratitude journaling (which is simply writing down what you’re grateful for) report better well-being, physical health, and increased optimism. It can be hard to remain grateful when you feel out of energy or really run down, so making a space for this time can have a lot of impact in reminding you why you’re doing what you’re doing.
I have recently started doing this where I write down 10 things I’m thankful for every single day. It helps me remain in a positive headspace instead of a negative or even simply a neutral headspace. I welcome you to try it with me, and if you do, share your daily gratitude (even just 1 thing you’re thankful for) on your Instagram stories and tag me at @allanglespod. I would love to reshare and create a community of uplifting thankfulness – who doesn’t need that?
Nothing uplifts me quite like taking time to tend to my heart and my relationship with God. I’m a Christian, so in my morning routine every day, I take about 15-30 minutes to read the Bible or read a chapter or two of a book. I can tell when I haven’t taken time for this – I am more short-fused, annoyed, etc. I have found it so helpful even though it’s only 15-30 minutes. Even if you aren’t a Christian, tending to this part of your being is important.
If you’re anything like me, your hobby (photography) became your career. I came to this point in my business where I was like… okay… I need things besides photography to do for fun. So I have started baking, cooking new recipes, gardening, trying my hand at houseplants, picking up my guitar again, and more. I want to challenge you to think of hobbies you can do every day in some capacity to have a fuller life and time to focus on something other than photography.
I absolutely love essential oils and the calming atmosphere they create. Candles are great, but there’s nothing like oil diffusing that has calming properties. Some of my favorites are lavender, stress away, bergamot and cinnamon. If you’re new to oils, I’d recommend Young Living or DoTerra because they’re both brands that have pure essential oils in them.
My friend, I cannot stress the importance of outsourcing enough. I was a one-woman show for far too long and I have only regretted not having a virtual assistant sooner. I also have an editor and a CPA, so this takes a lot off of my plate. When we’re in the middle of busy season, I know so many photographers who are defined by their never-ending editing list. If this is you, I recommend outsourcing your editing. We could totally do an entire episode about outsourcing editing, so let me know if you’d like that! But at the end of the day, I have gained HOURS of my life back during the busy season because my galleries were being edited for me. I only edit sneak peeks and the finalized versions, but my editor does the bulk of the work for me. Whatever doesn’t bring you joy, outsource it.
Now that we’ve covered 10 different self-care ideas you can incorporate into your own life, go ahead and brainstorm some ways you can make these ideas work for you and your schedule. Get out there, take time for self-care, and let me know how it goes in the comments!