2022 has been an important year for all of us. There have been highs like the end of our COVID-era where people have been able to hug and reunite again, and lows like the terrible Russia-Ukraine war and another recession, amongst other things I prefer to stay away from in this post.
From a personal point of view, 2022 marked the end of my self-appointed maternity leave and I was ready to get back into the workplace. Instead of going back to a full-time job, I decided to turn Krish Yoga from a side hobby into a serious business with serious services.
Until now, my professional experiences have been in academia and in industry, generally working from 9 to 6. So setting up and running my own business as a mom has been a huge transition for me. It’s only been 8 months since I decided to take this step, and I feel like I’ve had a growth spurt, both professionally and personally.
There have been ups and downs, unrealistic expectations of what an online yoga business really is, and of course, the real life daily struggle of balancing a new project where you pour your heart and soul into, whilst taking care of two small children at the same time with a partner who is constantly travelling for work.
It took some time, and I figured out the best way I can help people. That was to create an online Yoga membership for pre and postnatal mamas, which helps them feel empowered, transform feelings of anxiety into love, give them a community and support and feel strong and calm during the process. All of this is now available in the form of the Calm & Confident Yoga Membership.
I’ve learnt a lot this year with my entrepreneur journey. And I’d like to share with you my
Top 10 lessons I hope to carry over into 2023:
#1 Early bedtimes and more sleep
It turns out, this really suits me. Who knew?
Building my business and website meant many late nights spent in front of the computer whilst the children were asleep. This was ok, until it wasn’t. At some point this caught up with me, in the form of headaches, bad sleep, and incredibly low energy levels.
The thing that made me realise how tired I was, and you might think I’m vain here, were the dark circles under my eyes. Being online means I look at my face a lot in the camera, and people look at me. Yet, the only thing I could see were my dark circles!
Yes, I could try fancy creams and vitamins, but so far, I’m finding that less caffeine and early bedtimes are working very well. So here’s to more anti-social and boring evenings that come with early bedtimes in 2023!
#2 Find the balance between taking myself seriously and not!
Taking yourself seriously, in your work, your relationships and your health is vital. You only have one life, live it well. This philosophy comes easily for me. I am very good at taking myself and my work seriously.
AND, it’s equally important to known when NOT to take yourself seriously. This, I’m not so good at. But I’m learning. Thanks to my joker of a husband and my playful children, laughing at myself becomes easier each day. I’ve also noticed that now that I’ve found something I’m good at and love doing, I feel more confident in myself. It’s ok to lower the barrier and not be taken seriously and laugh at myself.
#3 Take regular breaks
Sounds obvious doesn’t it?
I’ve been an employee for many years. I always took decent breaks. There was always a colleague who’d come by my office and propose a cup of coffee, a chat, a walk. I’ve missed that these last few months.
When you’re working alone, there’s no-one there to remind you, except that calendar reminder you’ve set yourself, which you can easily ignore and delete.
During busy times, when the intensity of the online business and the intensity at home have peaked, I just wouldn’t take a break.
I’m aware of this stereotypical image of entrepreneurs working round the clock (who are usually young men by the way), how you need to put 24 hours into your business if you want it to work, but I’m not sure this is possible when you also have a house to run and small children to see to!
The thing was, as I was reducing my breaks, and working more physical time, my productivity wasn’t increasing. I was becoming less efficient, less creative, making more typos and mistakes and consequently getting more frustrated.
So, thanks to my coach and therapist I realised I need to treat myself as an employee as much as the boss. If I had employees I’d make sure they took breaks, so why wasn’t I applying that to myself?
We know this stuff, we even teach it in our yoga classes! Yet, we’re humans and sometimes we don’t practice it until it comes and bites us in the butt.
Now I take breaks. Real ones that don’t involve looking at a screen. It makes me better at what I do. Yes, not doing work makes me better at doing work. I find myself being more creative, efficient AND productive at the same time.
#4 Talk instead of write to people
Being a mom or an entrepreneur can be very lonely. Being both can be even lonelier.
You are in danger of being left alone with your thoughts all the time.
It’s easy to type out a couple of sentences on WhatsApp and send a smiley face here and there.
Find people to talk to, actually talk. Even if it’s voice notes, or over the phone or zoom if you can’t do it in person. And when you do, do it wholeheartedly. Put your distractions away, talk, listen, share. As we move to a more connected world, let’s make the effort to keep the connection real.
#5 Keep investing in myself
In 2022 I spent money on a business coach, a perinatal therapist and a physical therapist. It does hurt to spend it, especially when you are at the beginning of the process and you don’t have a regular income.
Yet, I decided to spend it on those things, instead of an assistant or social media manager or new yoga clothes. I identified these 3 things were key for my personal health and business, which now go hand in hand.
I’m confident in my Calm & Confident Yoga Membership, and next year I’ll re-invest the money from there back into my business to keep improving my offerings!
#6 More alone time
I hadn’t realised how important it was for me to have alone time, until my husband went away on a boys trip. He came back and said: it was amazing. I think you should go away for a long weekend with your girlfriends. My immediate reaction was ‘’yes, of course, why didn’t I even think of this was an option until now?’’
Until then, alone time meant teaching yoga, working from home whilst the kids were in school, or the occasional 1-2 hours where someone has taken the children to the playground. For the record, that doesn’t count as alone time. What he was referring to was real, valuable time where you get to be yourself, just you, not someone’s mother, not someone’s partner, or not sit at home by yourself waiting for the laundry to finish.
So, I did it, kind of, 3 times! The opportunities came by accident. I taught at a yoga retreat for 4 nights – this was kind of alone time but also work. I had a weekend away in Italy – it was kind of alone time, but I was with my husband at a wedding. And finally, I travelled to Hong Kong on my own to visit my grandmother – which was kind of alone time as I was also surrounded by lots of family.
There was some mom-guilt in all of them, yet I identified my need for alone time. Being away from my children and husband made me a better mother and wife. It also makes him a better parent. So for 2023, I’m set to create some real alone time.
#7 Take messy action
I’ve always been a straight A student and a perfectionist. I’m someone who can’t fall asleep if the dishes haven’t been cleared or the clothes put away. Well, when it comes to setting up a business, I learnt that I had to let go of being ‘’Miss Perfect’’ (a real nickname I was called by my older cousins by the way).
My business coach Susanne Reiker is an advocate for messy action, and messy action I had to take, which I now love!
It’s ok if the lighting or your hair is not perfect. Just take the video.
It’s ok if your website is not finished. Just put it out there.
It’s ok if I can’t record this episode in the perfect condition. Just publish it.
Just do it, don’t overthink it, it might not be perfect, but we’re all humans and we all make mistakes. I love the 80/20 rule. If it’s 80%, then it’s ready. It’s ok to show your imperfect sides.
#8 Disconnect before bedtime
Lesson #1 was getting more sleep…but this is easier said than done. It´s especially hard for a light sleeper who has toddlers coming into her bed every night. I’m also extremely sensitive to external stimuli, like what I see on TV or the phone. This sensitivity has become stronger since my first pregnancy.
I´ve found I need the same approach to bed as my children! Soft sounds, dim lights and no technology before bed. I’m not going to lie and say I don’t look at a screen 1 hour before bed, but that what I’m AIMING for: 1 hour. I do it in the morning, I wait at least 1 hour before I turn my phone on, so I’m confident I can do it at night too!
#9 Keep up my yoga practice
There was a period this summer where I was totally absorbed into building my business, I spent way too many late nights in front of the computer, skipped yoga classes and my yoga practices to finish building my website and create content and material. I knew the consequences this would have on my body and mind. Surely enough, I started getting headaches, back aches and my sciatica started flaring up again. I had to spend many hours at the physiotherapist to sort my neck and hip and get back a decent shape.
This affected my mood, my work and my relationship with my family. I simply couldn´t function properly without my regular practice.
My excuse was that there was no time. No time to do my stretches, my practice, stop, breath and meditate. At the end of the day, I’m a yoga teacher, I NEED to practice yoga to teach. I also know how important it is for my emotional, physical and mental health.
I realised I needed to change my attitude towards time. I needed to make time instead of finding time.
#10 Be present with my children
It happens more often than I’d like. I’m in the middle of a post and a child comes up to me. I want to finish my post before I attend to them. Or I’m taking them to bed, and whilst they’re brushing their teeth, in my mind I’m preparing tomorrow’s yoga sequence.
When I’m lying in bed with them, waiting for them to sleep, I might be thinking of the changes I need on my website. Instead I want to feel their soft skin, absorbs their random bedtime chatter and soak up how their breath changes as they slowly fall asleep.
Being present is SO important. We may think they don´t notice, but I´m sure they do. They know when we’re present with them, and when we’re away in our thoughts.
My solution was to start small. I don’t take my phone out with me when I go pick them up from school or to the park. I shut my laptop at 5pm and when I’m with them, I’m with them. Of course, there are exceptions. But I keep reminding myself I´m human, I´m a mom and I´m also running a business. It´s hard. Then I ask myself if what I´m doing can wait, and if it can, my children come first.
I hope my lessons from 2022 help you in your journey. I’d love to hear your thoughts and what biggest takeaways for 2023 are!
Get in touch via Instagram or drop me an email at email@example.com.
For now, I wish you a very happy new year and a wonderful start to 2023!