Raise your hand if you suck at self-care (…subtly raising my hand from my keyboard here)! Honestly, I’ve been on quite a journey when it comes to self-care. It doesn’t come naturally to many women PERIOD, let alone women entrepreneurs! We are constantly doing ALL THE THINGS, and when you’re running a business it can be hard to know when to stop. When you’ve been a photographer for as long as I have, you discover your career eventually hits a place where it’s no longer sustainable without self-care.
It’s so imperative that you take care of your business’ most important asset – YOU! Here’s how I’ve learned to take the breaks I need and treat myself.
1. Boundaries, Baby!
If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve heard this one before because IT’S SO TRUE! Boundaries are the best form of self-care, although they take some practice to implement. When you get the hang of setting healthy boundaries, you and your business will flourish.
Some important boundaries for your photography business might include:
Limiting the number of shoots you will do in a given week. More is more… but that doesn’t mean more is BETTER. I know you didn’t get into business for yourself in order to work your butt off all the time – so make sure you have boundaries to keep yourself from over-booking. Block days off ahead of time, put a cap on how many shoots you want in a month, or schedule your vacations in advance. Trust me, when your business takes off, you will need these days pre-blocked.
Setting your prices and sticking to them. There’s nothing worse than having someone haggle with you over pricing, and then showing up to the shoot to have it be the most draining experience. In many cases, the people who are trying to get the best deal are also going to be really high-maintenance clients. If you don’t mind dealing with that, that’s up to you… but I prefer to have clients who value my work as much as I do, so I recommend setting your prices and sticking firm! Remember, not everyone who wants information is meant to be your client.
Setting work hours for yourself. As I mentioned before, women entrepreneurs are #wonderwomen who are doing everything… and there is always going to be more you can be doing for your business, no matter how many hours you’ve worked this week, month, or year. My advice? Set work hours for yourself and stick to them. Set a timer to remind yourself to log off your computer, schedule downtime for yourself in between busy shoots to recharge, and make sure you have time to just do you.
2. Body Care & Massage
You can’t perform well as a photographer if you don’t take care of that beautiful bod of yours! As a successful photographer, you’re expected to do whatever is necessary to get the perfect shot, and sometimes that means standing on a stool, crouching on the floor, or doing some serious camera gymnastics! This type of work can be really hard on your body so make sure you get what you need as far as physical care. Take Epsom salt baths, schedule a monthly massage, or see a bodyworker – or if you’re like me, do all three! Throw in some warm tea and that’s my perfect idea of a day off.
3. Find Creative Inspiration (Outside of Work!)
Yes, I’m telling you to put the camera down and ENJOY LIFE. Listen, some of the most creative and successful people I know find their inspiration when they’re doing everything BUT working. Our brains need space from the grind in order to process our experiences and reconnect with our creative flow. Find other things you like to do that make you feel creative, expansive, and free. Get outside, read a book, meet up with friends, or just hang out in your sweats letting your mind water – your brain will thank you for the break and your business will benefit from your fresh perspective!
I know taking time for self-care can be hard to justify when you’re running your own business. Trust me, I struggle with it too! When I’m having a hard time taking a break I like to ask myself: what advice would I give a friend in this situation?