Photo by Ed Gregory

If you are like me, you feel guilty when reading another compelling article about self-care. I get it. Practicing self-care is great. I don’t think anyone thinks this is untrue. However, self-care is still being written about because so many people continue to not practice it regularly. This certainly does not exclude the social entrepreneurs of the world. For us, self-care can be even more complex because it can feel like we are taking our “baby” of social enterprise and handing it to a babysitter. Our work and life flow are very different than a 9-5 job. We are on all the time, and most of us like it that way. Our work is our life and our expression.

We know the importance of self-care, especially for people that work so much. However, making self-care a part of our daily lives can be confusing and difficult, especially when you are used to putting out fires with the growing social enterprise.

Here’s my gentle reminder to you, though:

your social enterprise can continue even when you are practicing self-care. How do I know? I have lived it.

I was diagnosed with an onslaught of health problems, one after the other, over the course of about six months. Not surprisingly, that mind-body connection caught up, and I also began suffering from anxiety and clinical depression. As I attempted to integrate self-care into my current routine, I also felt that I needed a step away from the entire way I was running my life. I had to fly back to my hometown, and I began seeing all kinds of specialists. This did not leave the normal margin of time I was used to for my daily phone calls, texts, emails, and more with our growing (but still very young) social enterprise. While I continue to take care of myself, I have realized that instead of holding my “baby” enterprise with a closed hand, self-care has challenged me to open it up, allowing what should be there to flow through it and what should not be there to be let go of. It has helped me to depend on my very capable staff and friends. It has made me a healthier entrepreneur and has only sought to flame my passion for our organization. None of my fears came into existence. None of my shortcomings were brought to the surface in the way of manifesting themselves onto my organization unhealthily. Instead, I learned to let go and lean in.

If you are struggling with burnout or simply in a season where you are trying to integrate more self-care into your routine, I want to encourage you. Everything you love about what you do will continue to fuel you; everything that is burning you out could be picked up by a capable board or staff member, and everything can make more sense when you began implementing a routine and rhythm of self-care and rest.

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