We’re thrilled to introduce the Dorai family to Laura Abate, an expert on self-care, that specializes in helping entrepreneurs. We’ve learned a wealth of applicable advice from the digital content Laura creates, and we’re fortunate for the opportunity to dive deeper into self-care with this interview. Read on to hear all about Laura’s background and first-hand experience with burnout, what types of people she’s aspiring to help, and her unconventional self-care tips. Don’t forget to check out her Instagram @oh.cocoon and website.
Q : Tell us a little bit about your background & how did you got into this:
A : I was working a corporate job but wasn’t passionate about what I was doing. In 2017, I decided to go on the road, and build a travel blog while doing social media management. Turns out, I wasn’t being present or connecting with the work, and it led to burnout. I just wasn’t happy. We live in a society where we are told we need to be busy and hustle. At that time, I learned firsthand that that wasn’t true. I spent 6 months depressed, healing from trauma, and “cocooning” - growing slowly and intentionally. So many entrepreneurs are stuck in that business mindset and not actually living their dream. In 2019, I finally started living my dream by helping women who are burnt out live a natural life.
Q : Tell us about the people you’re focusing on helping navigate self-care?
A : I am currently working with female, solo-preneurs in the age range from 25-35 (in your 30s this wake-up happens where you say, “what am I doing”). The thing with creative entrepreneurs is that their right brain is always trying to create, and the left brain is bogged down with the admin and day-to-day. Thus, these entrepreneurs' brains are constantly overloaded and bogged down. One of the main things we focus on are how to hack your business planning around your hormonal cycle.
Q : What are some common trends you see with entrepreneurs?
A : Here are some super common things I see with entrepreneurs :
- Social anxiety: the need to always be on social media, and to be on every platform, and show up constantly.
- If their energy isn’t in what they are doing or a platform they are trying to participate on, , they need to let it go.
- They’re bombarded with a lot of messaging. They feel the need to do everything in all aspects of their business, they think they have to learn and they don’t learn to outsource. Energy is going everywhere and tasks are never-ending. Outsourcing is a form of self-care: investing in yourself and your priorities.
- Self-care is about having this shield and boundary, showing up as you are, unapologetically.
Q : How do they make time for self-care and break that cycle of burnout?
A : You really just have to schedule it in: stop work at a certain time and no more cell phones to distract you during that allotted window. You are your own best client! You would never skip a meeting with your client, have a pop-up and that’s your set aside time for self-care. The other stuff can wait. The more you rest, the more you’ll allow that space to come, that energy to show up for your work.
Q : What are the precursors to proper self-care?
A : First and foremost, you must recognize that self-care is all a part of your business thriving.
The mindset needs to be a priority, otherwise you and your business suffer in ways that you can’t see.
We also tend to compartmentalize, but it’s all holistic when we think about stress on our systems. Realize that Your energy is what attracts clients, those clients refer you, and keep working with you. You need self-care to bring that energy.
Q : What are your 5 Unconventional Self-Care Tips, especially for those who may not connect with stereotypical self-care practices?
- Indulging in something nostalgic: Tap into something you really enjoyed as a kid: puzzle, board game, painting, OFF of your screen (not just more screen time). You don’t need to IG your self-care, it’s just what your body needs. The nostalgic parts help bring us back to a time when we didn’t have all the screens and didn’t have others to compare ourselves to. What did you stop doing because life happened?
- Having a light therapy lamp: So many people are staying inside due to weather and snowstorms, and not enough Vitamin D. It makes us feel happier and helps immunity. Lamps remind us of the sun so we can pretend we’re in Mexico sitting by a sunny window. It does wonders.
- Sound Bathing - Using a subliminal audio track that has self-affirmations: Go on Spotify or Youtube. Everything is energy, everything has a different vibration, when you use certain sounds, it can help calm your body in certain ways. Put on this sound bathing, it will help with deep healing. Listen for 30 min or you can put it on all night, it will help heal you at a deep cellular level with subliminal messages and affirmations.
- Switch your caffeine fix for an adaptogenic latte: So many times we’re rushing through the day with the mentality that more coffee is better. Caffeine is telling your body there’s stress by increasing your cortisol to give you alertness. It’s creating more stress internally. Switching over to an adaptogen blend mixed with warm milk helps your body adapt to modern stresses. Ashwagandha, Lion's Mane, Cordyceps are a few and there are many others that target energy and focus. When coming off coffee, try switching to matcha then going to an adaptogenic latte. [Laura has an entire blog post with info about Adaptogenic mushrooms here.]
- Don’t wake up with an alarm: Listen to your body and wake up naturally. I allow my body to sleep as much as I need to. Don’t feel obliged to a 2-hour morning routine. When I work with entrepreneurs, I give them permission to not wake up at 5:30 AM. Nobody cares what time if you start work, despite what Instagram might tell you. With more people working remotely, It’s better to establish how much sleep you need and then build your work start time around that.
- Bonus Tip - Declutter your space: Decluttering your physical space will clean up your mental space. You can delete digital clutter, unfollow other people, get rid of mail, stacks of papers. Have very little extra stuff in your office area.A bonus, cleaning can be meditative. It’s okay not to sit and meditate, you can bring that mindfulness to that action in your body.
As entrepreneurs who aren’t always the best at taking a bubble bath (I know, crazy given the Dorai Bath Stone) or meditating, we’ve loved this high effective and implementable self-care tactics. Laura’s has a wealth of resources on this topic, don’t forget to check out Laura’s Instagram @oh.cocoon and website.