Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means YBC® may earn a small commission if you happen to make a purchase. In addition, I wanted to point out that this post was written about two weeks ago. I am currently feeling less stressed, but I still wanted to post it because I think these thoughts are normal and relevant to others out there who tend to find themselves burning the candle at both ends. xoCandace
This post was originally slated to be called 5 Ways I Practice Self-Care, in an attempt to encourage me to take better care of myself following my insane travel schedule this summer and into the fall. If you’re new around here, I spent four weeks in Thailand, one week in Oman, one week in Greece and three weeks in Tennessee at a training. That was pretty much my entire summer. Then, I had about ten days at home before taking planes, trains and automobiles for another work trip - to Boston, DC, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver and Vancouver.
When I sat down to write the aforementioned post on ways that I practice self-care, I burst into tears.
I’m just overtired.
Sometimes I feel like self-care is so eye-roll inducing. Like of course a bath with essential oils is relaxing. Of course spending time reading and eating well, and catching up on sleep is a good idea. None of this is groundbreaking.
But what about when you just don’t have the time? When you’re so overworked and overtired that no twenty minute bath will release months of muscle tension? When no magical face mask will quite do the trick to calm your angry skin? When trying to fit one measly yoga class into your schedule as a student rather than the teacher will not undo the weeks of stress pulsating through your veins? When your efforts of self care are too little, too late. What then?
The “tough” part about my job, and I say “tough” loosely because let’s be real, I’m not curing cancer over here or anything, is that I find more often than not, I have to be “on” even when I’m not traveling. Take, for example, when I’m sharing Stories on Instagram. I was at our Tennessee training, and sharing snippets of my days just because I felt like that’s what one does on Stories - you keep it real over there.
And I got a message that essentially said, “It feels like every Story you post is an ad for your business.”
And in that moment I just wanted to throw my phone out the window, crawl under a table, and curl up in the fetal position. Sometimes, you just can’t win. Of course, some stuff is an ad for future workshops and incredible yoga retreats (how else am I supposed to get the word out?!), but when I was going through my day sharing little snippets here and there, I was literally doing just that - sharing my day with no other motive.
Instead of allowing my anger and frustration to come through, I publicly asked if others felt the same, and if so, I asked what they’d like to see on Stories. Because here’s the thing: when you build a brand that depends on a social following, you need to listen to your social following.
About 80% of the answers said to ignore those people and that they enjoyed seeing what my days were like regardless of where I was and what I was doing, and 20% were like, “Yeah, I miss outfit posts, make up posts, hearing your funny accents and stoplight CARaoke.”
And once again I just wanted to give up. Because 20% is not 2%. Twenty percent is enough to make me listen up. But man did I feel defeated. I felt like I’d been all over the world - sharing temples in Thailand, the Grand Mosque in Oman, the white washed buildings in Greece - and the people wanted outfit posts. Make up. My silly accents. Me belting out pop songs in my car.
So towards the end of the training, I stopped sharing snippets of my day to day life. Instead, I gave them what they wanted. I shared the holy grail brow product I got from the Friends and Family sale at Sephora. I shared the new necklaces I bought off Revolve. I shared a video of myself putting on make up and getting ready for the graduation.
And I felt empty about it. Sad, even. Slightly resentful that in addition to my Instagram feed, which is already highly curated, I now felt - based on feedback - that I needed to curate my Stories as well.
And when you look at the data - the swipe up Stories for the make up and clothing products perform so much better than literally anything else I put up. What does that mean? I mean, from a business perspective, it means I need to just do what they ask. So why did it bother me so much?
Even as I write this, I am mortified that this affected me the way it did. There are certainly far more pressing issues happening in the world. And as far as jobs go, I mean, come on. This is not that big a deal. It’s an easy fix. Give the people what they want, the end. Do your job and shut up about it.
In both of our yoga teacher trainings our trainees would come up to me and ask how I was doing. “No, really,” they’d say, leaning in, laser focused on me, “How are you holding up with everything you have going on?”
And I felt like I couldn’t tell them the truth - that I was overtired and overworked. That I was stressed as hell. That I wanted them to succeed and I was worried about them. That I wanted everything to go smoothly and that the bumps in the road kept me up at night. That I couldn’t remember the last time I had a good, solid night’s sleep. I couldn’t tell them because I felt I had to be “on”. I was the leader, and how would you feel if your leader crumbled in front of you in tears and confessed that she was run down? Would you want to learn that from that person? Cuz I wouldn’t.
I love being in business for myself. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And I grew up around entrepreneurs who owned their own businesses and demonstrated a very clear line between their work and personal life, but with blogging and social media, there’s a definitive grey area. Despite having a full team behind me, I am the face of the brand. It’s YogaByCandace which means that Candace needs to be present. Candace is the business. But Candace is also just a human being. Who is driven. And ambitious. And tends to sometimes overcommit. Who knows her strengths but often suffers from self doubt. Who sometimes takes things to heart even though she knows better. Who gets overwhelmed when there’s too much on her plate. Who overanalyzes to a fault. Who is honest about it and then feels embarrassed about being honest about it. Like right now.
Ultimately, I believe a few key things when it comes to business and I wanted to share them here for my fellow entrepreneurs who are feeling similarly:
The customer is (nearly) always right. This is a lesson my mom taught me years ago when she owned her little consignment shop. In social media and blogging, it’s therefore important that I listen to feedback and if I can, give them what they want. If people want more variety in the Stories, I just need to give it to them. It’s still authentically me, I’ve reasoned with myself, I love make up and enjoy putting together outfits and I do both daily so it’s not exactly extra work for me aside from just documenting it.
Set professional boundaries and have a clear line between the work/life balance. This is where it gets tricky because as I mentioned, when it comes to social media and blogging, the blogger is the brand. In the past, I have generally viewed social media as a job. I really would only log in to work. It’s not the method I use for staying in touch with the important people in my life. On weekends, I don’t post as frequently as I do Monday - Friday. So maybe that’s where the link is drawn for me - with the work days. And when I’m on trainings and retreats and in close quarters with people 24/7, I think I need to do a better job of just taking care of myself without getting too in my head about it. I will always worry whether my team is doing the best we can and whether we are delivering a great experience. But maybe I don’t have to worry as much. Maybe I just practice what I preach: Do your best in every moment, understanding that the definition of “best” will fluctuate, but whatever your best is in any given moment, let that be enough.
Stay authentic. I didn’t want to write that post on self-care because it felt hypocritical since I know I’m not taking care of myself the best that I could right now. Anytime I’ve written about self-care in the past, things were going smoothly for me. Newsflash, turns out I don’t have my shit all figured out. And I don’t know why I get on myself about it because I know that none of us really have anything figured out - we’re just all doing the best we can with what we have. So that’s why I decided to be real in this post and share what’s truly going on with me. It’s just weird, though, because I feel comfortable writing about it here, hitting ‘publish’ and casting it off into the depths of the internet where thousands of people will read, but then some of those people will come to a workshop or retreat and I’ll cheerily say, “I’m great!” when they ask how I am. The thing is, the “I’m great” isn’t a lie. I am, overall, feeling pretty great. I mean aside from a few weeks of just being in my own home state, how could I honestly be better?! I am living my dream. I love the work I do. I have the best team around me. I’m just, currently, temporarily, tired and stressed and run down. But I’m not about to say that to someone’s face who has paid for a fantastic week of rest and relaxation with me. Or someone who has traveled to partake in a two hour workshop. Nope. I will just say, “I’m great!” and leave it at that. But now, I’m thinking, maybe I just need to be more honest and authentic in person. Maybe I just tell the truth: That I’m great, but I am also excited to get home and cozy up in bed with a good book, a hot cup of a tea, and absolutely nothing planned on my agenda.
Moving forward, I have to continually remind myself that each day is an opportunity to learn and grow. I am grateful for the busy schedule I have and the success of our small business. And I’m appreciative of the opportunity to continue to learn how to best balance my work and personal life. And because ultimately I am committed to taking care of myself and practicing what I preach, I’ve blocked off six days around Thanksgiving where the entire YBC® team will take a break. I’m planning to catch up on sleep, and spend time with my boyfriend, friends, and family. I’d love to hear how you’re holding up in the self-care department - please feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments section.