Self-care is the foundational underpinning of the visibility journey. If you don’t have a solid practice to help you weather the emotional ups and downs of being visible online, you’ll find it very challenging to maintain consistency and hold space for conversation and community. In this post, I’ll take you through 7 of my favourite self-care practices that support my commitment to showing up and being visible each week.
One of my favourite self-care practices is cutting flowers from my garden, arranging them in vases, and placing them in spots that’ll surprise and delight me throughout the week.
I started this practice when I was at university roughly 25 years ago, writing my philosophy thesis. I was deeply immersed in the world of Michel Foucault and it was such a lovely thing to take a break, walk into the garden, pick some flowers, arrange them and remember that a whole world was unfolding whilst I waded my way through ‘Discipline and Punish’, ‘Power/Knowledge’, ‘The Order of Things’, ‘The History of Sexuality’ and the rest of the Foucauldian cannon.
I buy the best loose leaf tea I can find (green and earl grey are my constant companions), I use my favourite teacup; one that my ancestors brought to Australia by boat more than 100 years ago (I only have one left in the set so I guard it with my life), and I usually sit quietly and listen to the birds and the breeze and take time to be grateful. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
All of the self-care practices I’m sharing in this list strengthen my capacity to be visible. They keep me emotionally strong. They keep me grounded in what matters and they help me release what doesn’t. They keep me true to my vision and my message by bringing clarity to my days. ⠀
3. WALKING (AND LISTENING TO AUDIOBOOKS)
Because our emotions are stored in our bodies, walking (and any sort of moving really) is one of the very best things anyone can do to stay creative, to connect with a deeper truth, to eliminate the flighty mental energy that can keep us from following through on a project or staying consistent with a message. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So I aim to walk every day. And it happens almost every day. Sometimes I walk in silence because I need the stillness. Other times I listen to a book because so much of what I’ve learned in this world I’ve learned by living inside another person’s world, albeit temporarily and even when that world is fictionalised.
I consider storytelling to be one of the most precious aspects of the human experience. I’m forever grateful to those who choose to speak up and share their stories with the world.
(The Stationery Shop of Tehran by Marjan Kamali was my most recent audio reading experience. I loved learning more about the history of Iran during the 20th century. The political history was the backdrop to a love story between two characters that I so enjoyed spending time with. I even had one of those rare reading experiences when I gasped out loud at a plot twist. How satisfying is that? And Mozhab Marno’s voice is sooo nice to listen to. I could listen to her read the telephone book and be perfectly content.)
4. MY KIDS
Spending as much time as possible with my kids (and especially savouring all their hugs and kisses) isn’t so much of a practice as it is my whole reason for being visible in the first place.
If I wasn’t trying to make the world a better place for my kids, I’m not sure how I’d spend my time. (Although I’ve been working for social justice my whole life so perhaps they just make my purpose ever clearer.)
But because I want them to live in a better world than I grew up in, visibility matters enormously to me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When I think of what the world would have been like in the 70s and 80s if we’d had access to more diverse voices and stories and perspectives, it makes me sad for Gen X but so happy for Gen Z.
What’s not to love about reading? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
A few years ago – after motherhood completely derailed my reading habits – I decided to find a new way to prioritise reading again.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So as soon as the kids are settled in the evening I go straight to bed with a book. That gives me anywhere from 30 minutes to 180 minutes of reading each night and I couldn’t be happier.
I view reading as essential to the visibility path. It expands your imagination and encourages curiosity, gives you such an array of ideas for how to express yourself, requires extended periods of concentration (the perfect antidote to the social media age we live in), and a study at Princeton found that readers of fiction have better social cognition.
When I’m looking for someone to pay attention to and learn from, the fact that they’re a reader is a big plus in my world. Because it can be easy to assume that reading is a very mind-based activity, and it is. But ask any good reader and they will tell you a deeper truth; that reading is an activity that resides in the heart. ⠀
6. MAKING PESTO!
I quite enjoy cooking (when I have a decent stretch of time and no little ones under my feet). Sometimes I fantasise about having entire Sunday afternoons to cook big meals, drink red wine, and generally luxuriating in the sensory pleasures of food and drink. Alas, that’s not the time of life I’m currently in, so I make do with pesto!
Each week and sometimes twice a week (because they never last as long as I think they’re going to), I make a fresh pesto for dipping, spreading on toast, or as a topping on salads, pastas, potatoes etc.
I have loads of mason jars in the cupboard so I can store them in the fridge. All my pestos include broccoli stems, whichever herbs are flourishing at the time, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini and nuts (if we haven’t already eaten them all).
Nourishment is the foundation of healthy living, and healthy living makes the best foundation for healthy forms of visibility.
7. SLEEP AND OTHER SEDENTARY ACTIVITIES
Speaking of nourishment, I consider slowing down, stopping, and sleeping as essential to living my most creative and productive life.
After years with chronic fatigue where no amount of sleep would actually refresh me, and then years with a small child who just wouldn’t sleep through the night, I now think of sleep as my most prized gift and resource.
There’s no aspect of visibility that isn’t enhanced by a good night of sleep. I treasure it soooo much (and am wildly happy that my second kid sleeps so well!).
BONUS PRACTICE! STAYING CONNECTED
Staying connected to other business owners – people who are putting themselves out there, building something new, growing their influence and reach – is so important to remaining consistent on your visibility path.
It’s critical to have people around you who are happy to witness you, to hear you and reflect back what they hear, to laugh and cry with you, and to just be there with you.
This is what conversations with me dear friend @amandajanedaley look like.
We ‘speak’ most days via messenger. I find it such a great way to stay connected. If we were to dedicate the same amount of time each day to telephone calls, we just wouldn’t stay connected in the same way. But because I can listen and leave messages at times that fit easily into my workflow, it feels like we’re in a near state of constant communication, which is lovely!
I believe every business owner needs a network of other business owners around them to support them in the ups and downs of business life.
I also believe having business besties is critical to staying connected to the joy, the creativity, and wonder of business building. That’s why we recently introduced peer to peer circle meetings into the curriculum of our visibility mastermind experience Women Speaking Up. Because upping your visibility game is not something you want to be doing on your own.
If you’d like some more intimate support and the chance to connect with a group of amazingly encouraging and inspirational women, our signature program Women Speaking Up is for you. Our doors are closed at the moment, but you can find out more about the program and join our waiting list here.