As Beyonce says, “A diva is a female version of a hustler” and that is exactly what I am. I am a diva. I love the hustle. When I was in University, I prided myself on people’s comments on how busy I was. I filled my Google Calendar with sports, part-time work, dog sitting, internships, friends/family time, and volunteering all on top of my full-time student coursework. I loved that my calendar was a rainbow of filled up boxes.

 Image source: GIPHY.com
Image source: GIPHY.com

I have always been a curious being, but I understand now that I kept myself busy because it unconsciously fed my ego. It fed into society’s play that busy = success. It wasn’t until I graduated, moved to a different continent, and literally had to start from the bottom up did I realize how important it is to take a step back and learn that having free time is completely OKAY. In fact, it is healthy.

Images by Adam Sanders

Self-care is not inconvenient. It gives you the space to tap into your creativity and prevents you from burning out. I promise you that you will finish your to-do list AND you’ll do it with a healthier more stable mindset. It’s the best of both worlds!

So here are my 6 tips on self-care being the busy bee you are! Stick with just one or two for a month and you’ll be amazed at the things you’ll be able to do. Remember, self-care can be as short as 5 minutes or as long as 24 hours. Find what works for YOU.

  1. Practice gratitude
    This is a big one. Honouring something or someone in your life gives you a wider perspective that you are not alone and/or you have done a lot more than you realise. It doesn’t have to become a revolutionary thought, but something to remind you to count your blessings.
  2. Come back to your breath
    It is easy to forget about the importance of our breath. We need to breathe to stay alive. Notice how your breath quickens as your heart rate increases during a stressful moment. Notice how your breath is steady when you’re calm. Observations like these matter. Take 5 minutes out of your day to unplug.
  3. Fuel your body with healthy foods
    You are what you eat. It is a simple as that. Learn what your body feels good on and continue to fuel it with healthy foods. Plan your week ahead and prepare healthy, brain-fuelling foods and snacks to help you cross the finish line. Also, the human body is practically made up of water so don’t forget to drink your H2O.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
    People generally enjoy helping one another if you simply ask. We are all human beings. We all go through rough times. Putting your hand out proves how brave you are to ask for help. Within vulnerability, we build connection and strength.
  5. Sleep is just as important as work
    Anyone heard the phrase, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”?. Yeah… don’t listen. Sleep actually prolongs your life. There are so many scientific reasons why sleep is important. I encourage you to Google them because you’ll be fascinated by what sleep does for us. You need to sleep to run a successful startup. In fact, you’ll work even harder when you’ve had a good night’s rest. Catch your zzz, please.
  6. Set healthy boundaries
    If you have your own startup or are an entrepreneur like myself, it’s difficult to set boundaries because your work essentially becomes your life. You’re beyond the 9-5 lifestyle. However, whatever situation you are in, it’s vital to set boundaries and let people know when they have overstepped. Why? Because you are just as important as they are! Your startup needs you, so you need to find time for yourself.

Caring for yourself is not selfish. It takes persistence and discipline but is necessary for us to keep moving. You will have tough days where the mind will doubt itself. Self-care teaches us to be mindful and to respect ourselves enough to nourish our minds and bodies. We all strive to work hard, as we should, but my hope for all of us is to remember that grinding through life is unsustainable without self-care.

Madeline Bong

former SPARK Deakin Yogi in Residence

Madeleine now resides in San Francisco, California, and offers yoga and meditation classes online. Learn more at www.piscesflowyoga.com.