Last month, we talked all about self-care and how important it is. This month, I'll be featuring successful women and their self-care routines. I am so excited to share this fascinating look at the lives of many women I admire.
In addition to sharing the daily routines of women, I'll be hosting a 31 day self-care challenge over on Instagram. Make sure to check it out and join in. Each day, I'll be sharing one thing you can do to take care of yourself. It's going to be a wonderful way to start off a fresh month, and get ready for our Wake Up Call Retreat in April! I'm so excited to do this with you. Be sure to tag your photos with #31dayselfcarechallenge. I'll pick one photo at the end of the month, and the winner will receive $200 off a ticket to the retreat!
Today, we’re featuring Kelci DeFrancesco. Kelci is a small business marketing consultant and graphic designer. She is passionate about working with female-owned small businesses, and helping to connect women through her work in marketing campaigns and hosting local events. I am also honored to announce that Kelci will be leading workshops at our Wake Up Call Retreat!
Last spring, I left my full-time position as a marketing director to start my own business. One of the reasons I made this decision was that I wanted to find a better work-life balance. I planned to invest some of the time freed up by my career change into a more consistent wellness routine. Even with that mindset, I was slow to jump on the self-care train. I had read tons of blogs, taken challenges, and even enjoyed reading other people’s routines. But, for some reason, self-care was the last thing I incorporated into my wellness routine.
It wasn’t until a few months ago that I began to notice the need for consistent self-care. I exercise regularly, practice yoga, and often make time to see friends or explore. Still, I never felt like I had time to truly relax. For this reason, I was feeling really stressed out, anxious, and out of touch with how I was doing mentally and emotionally. I even found myself stumbling when people asked me how I was doing. Why was that so hard for me to answer? The reason, of course, was because I wasn’t carving out time to check in with myself. After I realized that, I made an effort to start incorporating mindfulness into my weekly schedule.
Two to three days a week, I'll wake up about an hour before my husband and start my day. I like to wake up before the sun, so this usually means I set my alarm for 5:45 am, and get out of bed by 6 or 6:15. Giving myself the opportunity to wake up slowly is a treat, especially when the wake up call is pretty early.
Typically, I’ll wash my face, brush, and floss. It may sound silly, but I’ve found that the intention behind what I do is what turns the routine from a chore into a treat. If I quickly splash some cold water on my face, that’s not very restorative. However, if I take the time to thoroughly cleanse my skin and moisturize, I start the day feeling refreshed. It’s important to me to use natural products, many of which are oil-based. Washing my face so early in the morning allows for the oils to fully absorb before I start my day or head out for meetings.
Another thing I enjoy doing is using my stainless steel tongue scraper. In Ayurveda, tongue scraping is an important part of any wellness routine. Scraping removes toxins and residue on the tongue, allowing you to detox your mind and body. It is also said to improve taste, improve digestion, and stimulate your internal organs. From a realistic standpoint - it’s one more step that gets me feelin’ fresh. ;)
Once I’m all fresh and clean, I head to the living room, where I have a simple stationary bike. It sounds funny, but I like to get some gentle movement in while I do my morning meditation. I know that the idea of exercising while you meditate may be a bit counterintuitive, but hey, whatever works, right? I kind of think of it like breath work during my yoga practice. This practice wakes up the body and relaxes my mind. I love doing this while it’s still dark, and the sun typically begins to rise while I bike. There’s something so calming about meditation and taking time to yourself while the world is still asleep. I really love it.
I meditate using my favorite app, Daily Calm. It allows you to set your time in increments up to 30 minutes, which is an easy way to time my bike ride as well. I’ll usually meditate for around 20-30 minutes, and I like to select a theme for my meditation that will help to ease my start to the day. Many times, I’ll choose the Loving Kindness theme, which allows me to offer myself and others compassion and love. It’s a really wonderful day to begin my mornings.
Once I’m finished, the normal routine begins: coffee, breakfast, and a little time spent with my family. By the time I sit down at my desk around 8:30 or so, I feel ready to take on the day. Needless to say, this simple routine has had a major affect on my well-being. As soon as I began, I immediately felt the benefits. Now, I have many more calm days than stressful ones. This routine has given me a reservoir of peace and energy that I can tap into any time I’m feeling a little anxious.
To me, self care is self-love. As I’ve grown this routine, I’ve found myself offering myself more compassion and love in other parts of my life. As a solopreneur, your thoughts are your coworkers; they're pretty much the only "people" we talk to all day. When you think of it that way, it's kind of crazy the things we tell ourselves and how mean we can really be. But, I’ve found that it’s really hard to be mean to yourself when you’re being nice to yourself. Does that make sense? Who’s going to be rude to a person that just pampered them, right? It’s amazing how much this practice has helped me to stick to my priorities, take care of myself, and relax throughout my day. I’m sure my routine will change through the years, but I plan to continue to make time for self-care as much as I can.
Thank you so much for sharing your journey, Kelci!
Make sure you head over to Instagram for more self-care inspiration. The challenge is in full swing, but it's not too late to join in on the fun. It’s never too late to begin to take care of yourself. See you over there!