If you run your own business (or you have other reasons), you know what this is like.
You work 7 days a week, 8+ hours a day (but usually 12+ hours a day), and never can take any time off. If you take a day, or even just half a day off, you feel the pressure and guilt about all the work that you're not getting done.
When you run an indie business, especially if you don't have a partner, all of the pressure is on you, all of the time. If you take time off, there is nobody else to pick up the slack. The work that you are not doing that day is still there the next day, which usually means that taking a day off leaves double the work the next day, and double the hours needed to catch up.
It builds up and it keeps on building, leaving the feeling, "A day off? What's that?"
This might be something that you say. I used to say the same thing for years. It may even be something you're proud of. I know I was. Being a hard worker is definitely a positive thing. Working towards a goal is good. Accomplishing things you set out to do is great. Creating something out of nothing is gratifying.
But like everything, there needs to be a balance.
All the days, and all the years, of overworking and under resting myself, rarely taking time off and trading work for sleep many nights, finally caught up to me. My body took what I was doing, and mentally, emotionally, and physically stopped me. It could just no longer take it.
Being forced to stop, on all levels, was a tough thing to deal with, but one of the best things to ever happen to me. I had to make changes. I started by cutting out anything I could. I took a break from my part-time job (which ended up turning into a permanent leave), and stopped doing anything work-wise that didn't directly relate to getting Wunder Budder straight to the people who loved it. I started saying "no" to some things, whether they were business-related, social, or personal. I started to find my own limits. I started to change my life.
Learning to take time off was difficult, but the more I did it, the easier it became. I liked having more time to do other things I loved. I began doing yoga daily (instead of on the rare occasion like I had for so many years), began reading books for fun again, starting (and finishing!) crochet and other projects, and once I got a dog, started taking a few walks a day.
I still work on most days, but now it's just because I love my job, not because I feel like everything will fall apart if I take a day off. I've also found that taking more breaks has allowed me to get same amount of work done in less time because I'm more motivated and more able to focus. I take daily breaks, and sometimes whole weekends to rest, and I do it without guilt, knowing how important it is to find balance.
And I never have to say, "A day off? What's that?"
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I'm taking part in an Instagram Challenge called March Meet the Maker. Joanne Hawker started this challenge in 2016, but I only heard of it this year and jumped in late, just a couple days ago. Joanne set up each day with a different prompt, and makers share photos and stories related to that prompt. Today's prompt is "design process", and since this is my favorite part of my job, I wanted to share more than an Instagram post would allow.
Each type of product I make has a slightly different design process, depending on whether it's a lip balm and I'm creating new scents, or it's an aromatherapy blend where the ingredients are therapeutic, or it's a limited edition body product that is completely new. But they all start the same - an idea. Usually followed by the question, "how can I make this scent with just natural ingredients?"
Two years ago, I was browsing in a bookstore, and I picked up a book on their bestsellers table. I liked the way the book looked and felt in my hands, and I made a split second decision to buy it just before they closed, completely unaware that what I felt was what the book was about - an item sparking joy in myself. The book was Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Though the KonMari Method is about following your heart, not necessarily your instincts, I'm so glad I picked up that book!
I love stuff. I love to collect things, especially old things. I love the memories they hold, the connections they remind me of, and the history they contain. I am comforted by always having useful things around in case I need them. It's rare I ever leave my house without a bag (although I do try to challenge myself sometimes).
Over the last couple of months, I've been joining new groups and meeting a lot of new people, especially other women in business. When asked what I do for work, I usually end up stumbling over my words a bit, unable to decide between a few different ways to answer.
I make lip balm is a good, basic answer but not the whole story.
I'm a herbalist* and aromatherapist and I make products is a better description of what I do, but it feels like I'm selling my brand short.
I own a small natural skincare and aromatherapy company is my favorite straightforward answer, but it's often met with questions like these:
"Like day creams and night creams?"
"Do you make under eye serums?"
"Do you have something for these wrinkles, haha?"