In this episode of LivingUpp's Conversations with Smart People, I talked with Nikki Closser, a gifted photographer and creator of Busy as a Mother: The Work & Life Balance Bootcamp for other photographer moms. Balancing self-care and family can be tricky.
Listen to our full interview here:
Before Nikki was a photographer, she spent twelve years as a therapist and social worker, so she knows a thing or two about the challenges that surface when you're juggling parenthood and entrepreneurship.
"Balance looks like different things to different people," says Closser. And we all have a threshold when it comes to how much we can handle as individuals.
The topic of balance brings up a lot of emotions for many people. Some see it as a myth, believing it's impossible to achieve, while others struggle to find it daily.
Guilt is a real challenge, and it can leave us feeling debilitating, explain Closser. We can feel guilty about not spending enough time with our kids, our spouse, our friends, or on our business.
"But when you're on the back-burner all the time, you have to be out of balance at that point," she says.
Capacity isn't a magical thing that some people have and some people don't, it comes with putting systems into place.
Being organized is they key to balance.
It is possible to release guilt. "You can be a really amazing mom AND a really amazing partner AND a really amazing entrepreneur," says Closser. You just have to learn how to do it.
What's one of the most effective strategies for releasing guilt?
Knowing when and how often you will work, and knowing what you will say 'yes' and 'no' to is essential. Building skills around how to say no is one place to start. For example, Nikki recommends telling someone what you CAN do rather than what you can't do because it's a gentler way of communicating your boundaries.
Because when you say yes to something you're not a good fit for, you're robbing the people you're serving from getting something better.
If you're not careful, pretty soon you're a giant ball of cotton candy and everyone's taking a piece of you. And before long, there's nothing left to give.
Time management is also critical. Time Tree is a calendar you can share with family members and business partners. Rather than wasting time coordinating daily tasks, everyone can refer back to a shared calendar.
In addition to setting boundaries, asking for help is another biggie, according to Nikki.
So, how can you tell when you need to get back on track and back in balance? Here are two common signs:
You're not getting enough rest. One sign of imbalance is not getting enough restful sleep. This can lead to inability to manage emotions and negativity.
You're short-tempered. If you find yourself yelling or acting out of character, it's a sign that you might be out of balance.
Self-care helps us re-balance when we need to.
What is one of Nikki's favorite self-care strategies? Getting enough alone time is critical for her, and it requires careful management of her calendar and commitments.
Self-care looks different for everyone; it's personal. And that means we need to conduct experiments to discover what we need as individuals to feel our best.
Nikki's balance bootcamp is designed to offer supportive systems so you can do all of the things you want to do - without feeling guilty or frustrated.
Have a thought about balance? Leave a comment below.
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