PODCAST 13: Self Care Is Fuel For Your Business

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I was so lucky to find Tara Pringle Jefferson last year when - like so many other business owners and entrepreneurs - I was juggling my business and a lot of other stuff that I hadn’t expected to be responsible for - like homeschooling during a pandemic, for example - and I desperately needed to create a new baseline for how to work within my business AND how to recharge so I could really show up for my clients as well as my family. She helped put me on the path to better balance. 


Tara Pringle Jefferson is a writer, speaker, and self-care coach with a lifelong passion for creating community. As founder of the Self Care Suite, she created a wellness community for Black women and other women of color to unlearn exhaustion as their default and develop self-care rituals to sustain themselves. When she’s not working, she’s making runs to Trader Joe’s and trying to perfect her recipe for the perfect pound cake. Born and raised in the Midwest, she lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.

If you’ve ever struggled to squeeze in time for yourself between work and other obligations, Tara has some great insights to help you prioritize filling up your cup.

In this interview, Tara shares:

> What self care actually is. (HINT: it’s not all bath bombs and pedicures.)

> The misconceptions we have about self care (especially the ones that prevent us from doing it to begin with - so we can move past them.)

> How community has been key to her business growth and her own self care journey.

PLUS, she shares the radical self care practice she does every year!

 


TRANSCRIPT

 

Emily Carter

Hey y'all, Emily here. Welcome to profit, purpose and pleasure your blueprint for more money, influence and time freedom. I'm so, so excited to introduce you to Tara Pringle Jefferson. I was so lucky to find Tara. Last year when, like so many other business owners and entrepreneurs I was juggling my business and a lot of other stuff. They hadn't expected to be responsible for things like homeschooling during a pandemic. For example, I desperately needed to create a new baseline for how to work within my business and recharge like and really show up for my clients and my family. She really helped to put me on a path to better balance. Tara Pringle Jefferson is a writer, speaker and self care coach with a lifelong passion for creating community. As founder of the self care suite, she created a wellness community for black women and other women of color to unlearn exhaustion as their default and develop self care rituals to sustain themselves. When she's not working, she's making runs to Trader Joe's and trying to perfect her recipe for the perfect poundcake. Born and raised in the Midwest, she lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. I'm so excited to share her wisdom with you today. In this conversation, Tara is dropping gems all over the place. So listen up as we dig into what self care really is, and what it's not the misconceptions we have about self care, especially the things that prevent us from doing it to begin with. How community has been key to her business and self care journey, and the totally radical and revolutionary things she does every year that keeps her creativity flowing, and her life and business in balance. Tara, welcome to profit, purpose and pleasure. We're going to be talking about money, influence and time freedom throughout the summit. I'm so excited that you're here with us. Let's just go ahead and dive in. How about we start with how did you how did you get here, tell us about the self care suite, what it is, and why you started it and kind of where that's headed.

Tara Jefferson

Sure. So I have been active in online spaces since 2008, actually launched my first website when I was pregnant with my son, which is like, you know, my second child, and I just said, Hey, you know, have this baby coming into the world, why not have another project on top of it. And so with that first business, it was called the young mommy life. And that was all about my experiences as a young mother, thinking about, you know, being a student parent, working through childcare issues, trying to find my own identity and sense of self, as I'm also raising these children. And that really, when you boiled it down, as I started to get older and kind of aged out what I felt aging out of the young mom demographic, what I really was talking about, pretty much through every blog post and event that I had been hosting was really about self care. And so as I was kind of aging out of that young mom demographic, I decided that I wanted to focus most of my time and energy on self care, particularly for black women. And so in 2015, I created the self care suite, and it is a hybrid wellness community for black women and other women of color where we come together to develop a new blueprint for self care. One of the things that I've noticed as a black woman is that we don't really have that blueprint. Nobody really sits us down and talks about how do you take care of yourself, what does wellness look like? And I wanted to bring us together so that we can create that blueprint collectively. And so the self care suite, like I said, has been running since 2015. And as part of the community we have in person events, we have virtual events now thanks to Colgate and and doing that pivot. But we also have an e commerce shop where we sell affirmation cards and journaling prompts. And then we're also doing some affirmation candles coming out really soon, which I'm really excited about. So that is the self care suite in a nutshell. But I think the most important thing about it is that it is a intergenerational affair and We have women from their 20s through their late 60s, and we come together, and it's just really full of wisdom. And you know, wisdom flowing from both directions. And I feel like I learned a lot about what wellness really means from the women in the community. And I feel like we're all in this together, I may have found a date, I may have started it. But I learned so much just from being in community with these women that is really improved my life. As a wellness advocate and expert, for sure.

Emily Carter

I really love hearing about community because I find that to be one of the most important pieces of my life,

Tara Jefferson

it really helps you release tension. But it doesn't have to necessarily cost money, it doesn't have to be something you have to leave the house to do. It doesn't have to be something that you do solo either. Going back to the community piece, I think people really think that self care, they take it at its word at face value, meaning it has to be something that you do alone in your room with a cup of coffee and a journal, where it can be a collective activity. And I found that with self care, having other people walk that road alongside you, it really helps you get clear on what possibilities are out there for you. So I try to surround myself with women who are pouring into themselves in different ways. I like to follow artists, I like to follow ships, I like to follow massage therapists and breathwork practitioners and all different types of people. So that I can get ideas about what I might be interested in, and how I can tend to myself. And in that way, it helps me show up more authentically for my community for myself or my family for everybody. So I think that the idea that self care has to cost money, it has to be this big, you know, kind of expense, or also I think another myth that's out there is that it's it's separate somehow from your, the totality of your life. That's self care. It's like, Okay, well, I got up, I brushed my teeth, now I'm going to do some self care. And then I'm going to go to work, when in actuality, I think self care is something that can really flow throughout your day. And it isn't something that is necessarily set aside as separate. But something it's not something that you do, it's a way that you live. That's how I try to approach it.

Emily Carter

Say that again. Yeah, so

Tara Jefferson

I really and I really do believe that self care, it's not something that you do, it's a way that you live. And I really do believe that because I think when you when I first started this work with the self care suite, back in 2015. And even now, when we get new members into the into the community, they there will be some resistance with the idea of self care, and some of the prompts that I would throw out, because they felt like hot man, like it's one more thing to add to my to do list. And it's one more thing that I have to try to fit in. And what I really try to, to counter that resistance in some way, is just reminding people of what you get out of it. And thinking about what that end result looks like, you know, if you are anxious, and you're carrying around a lot of anxiety and your nervous system is overloaded, it may feel like a big step to go take a walk or walk for 30 minutes or to book a massage or to you know, go to see a therapist, it may feel like a big hurdle, I have to do this, I have to add this to my to do list. But the end result is what we're looking for. And that end result is a settled nervous system, you know, less anxiety, more or less stress, more joy. That's what we're trying to get at that end result. So really, it's thinking about where you are currently what that looks like, and where you'd like to be. And I always talk about that like gap management of like, how do we manage this gap? How do we shrink it? How do we get us ourselves a little bit closer to where we'd like to be. And I think that looking at self care as not necessarily a one time thing, but a daily practice helps us to incorporate everything a little bit more gently and smoothly into our lives.

Emily Carter

Yeah, that resonates with me so much, because so often I've tried to compartmentalize it into this, like hour a day or something like that. But it really does feel so much better to have to sprinkle it throughout the day so that it's not a big hurdle that I have to get to or get through that it's really something that helps keep me going instead of just another thing on the to do list. It's something that fills me up as my day is progressing. Right?

Tara Jefferson

Right. One thing that I tell members of the community all the time is like we we aren't we're human, right. That's one of the things that we really We have a hone in on networking when and sometimes we treat ourselves like we have this endless supply of energy. And it's endless, you know, patience and all of these things. And the fact is that our reserves will run out. And always, you know, encourage women to do a check in, in the morning where, you know, imagine, it's kind of like the same thing. I use this example all the time, when you go to bed at night, and you plug up your cell phone in the morning, you look, it's at 100%, you're like, all right, to go. And think about the difference between when you wake up in the morning, I forgot to plug on my cell phone, and it said, Maybe 20% 30%. And you know, you may not be able to get a full charge during the day, or you might not be able to do as much because you're trying to conserve that battery. It's that same process, that same thought pattern that I like to try to get women to do in the morning, when they do that check in with themselves and think about their own kind of personal battery. Okay, I slept great last night, I'm excited about the day ahead, I think I'm at maybe 100%, I'm ready to hit the ground running. But if you didn't sleep well, or maybe you've had a stressful couple of days, you take that moment to check in with yourself in the morning. And you say to yourself that your personal battery is perhaps at I don't know, 30% 20%, you know, you're going to have to go slow, you know, you're going to have to kind of adjust things as the day goes on. And so oftentimes, we don't take that minute to check in with ourselves and kind of adjust what we need to do based on how we're feeling based on where our capacity levels are. And so that's one of the things that I always recommend that women do, because we need to, we need to really stop and take a second, take a beat, and figure out where we are so that we can move forward in a way that's more informed. And not just just as a matter of habit.

Emily Carter

Yeah, that's a really powerful exercise to kind of get out of the habit of making assumptions about where you're at. Right? Right, right. So self care is sort of a buzzword, I'm sure that you are well aware of how it's become a buzzword in the last few years in particular. But can you share this a little bit more about maybe some non traditional ways that you've found to implement self care?

Tara Jefferson

One of the biggest influences on me right now is looking at my four mothers. So looking at my grandmother, her mother, my aunts, etc. What did they do? Like What Did wellness look like for them, and when looking at that, you know, it's a very simple thing. They didn't overthink it, it wasn't like I'm gonna sit down and write down a five step wellness plan for myself, they kept it very simple. And in a lot of ways, I had to keep it simple, because they didn't have some of the same opportunities, they didn't have the same, their lives weren't structured in quite the same way, they didn't have some of the same stressors that we may carry today. But I think that one of the things that and I've been doing a lot of research on black women and the 50s and 60s and what they did in the civil rights movement, to kind of keep their, to keep their hopes up and and keep that, you know, wellness front and center. And they kept it simple. So they would, you know, form community was the backbone of a lot of what they did, and getting together to just talk or to cook together or to, you know, my grandmother in particular, you know, she was in a lot of bowling leagues. She, you know, they did all of these things. And it was kind of like what I was talking about before in terms of self care being a way that you live, and not necessarily something that you do. So keeping it simple. I think we're going to start seeing more of that, with the burnout that a lot of people are experiencing and, and have been experiencing just from the simple fact of trying to navigate this pandemic. I think that you're going to see more simplistic modes of self care popping up. I know, people love looking at different herbal remedies right now. And that's been one of my favorite things, looking at butlerian, root and skullcap and all of these different tinctures that we have on the market, which I think are amazing and printable. And that's also tapping in to some of those ancestral practices that some of our former others might have used.

Emily Carter

Yes, speaking of that, you know, as you know, this summit in particular is all about modeling the practices that business owners and entrepreneurs can use instead of business as usual. And and I'm just curious what sort of wellness practices for business owners do you model

Tara Jefferson

Yeah. So I live in Northeast Ohio. And it is, you know, people think that it's super cold all the time. But it's really hot right now it's really cold in the winters, like very extreme kind of temperatures and throughout the seasons, and I've noticed over over the past maybe five or six years, I my creative output has been really low in the winter time, like I just don't want to work, I don't want to be, I don't want to envision things I don't want to brainstorm. It's just that just doesn't work with my natural flow and rhythms. And perhaps maybe three years ago, I just kind of accepted that, like my natural output is lower during this time of year. And so I have developed a annual sabbatical that runs through the holidays. So It usually starts, usually November to February around there. And it's not as I'm not working, but I'm not doing that public facing working. I'm not launching new programs, I'm not posting every day telling people look at me look at my site, look at what I'm doing. But I'm really taking that time to develop new interests for myself, too, you know, maybe 10 to some of those areas of my life that need a little bit more in depth focus than I maybe have been able to give it the other nine months of the year. And I really take that time as a opportunity to recharge. And that's how it started started as my annual recharge. And it grew and grew and grew from like one week to two weeks to a month to now it's you know, almost three months. And my annual recharge is where I recharge my batteries. And I think that that is one of the most crucial things for entrepreneurs, and maybe you can't, you know, take three months off, or two months off, or however long you can take for this recharge, I think it's worth it. Because we spend so much time nurturing these businesses, nurturing these ideas that we have. And we really have to take a step back. Because as I always tell people, our greatest ideas do not happen when we're sitting down in front of the computer, they just don't, you'll get that great idea. You know, thinking about the shower principle, you get that great idea in the shower, or when you're you know, out on a walk or you're in conversation with a friend and then all of a sudden that that problem that had been perplexing you for you know, weeks or months even, it becomes clearer. And so I think that that is that's a bad call is one of the cornerstones of my business. I know a lot of people would be so hesitant to take time away from you know, launching and running their business in a much more intensive way. But I found that that you know, time apart that fuels the rest of the year, like that fuels me through the other nine months, and it gives me that opportunity to really catch my breath and pause. And you know, watch Netflix and go for walks and bake, you know, cookies out of my, my family's recipe books and paint walls and, and buy art and do all of these things that give me clarity, it gives me peace of mind, it gives me It soothes me in a way that I really need as a business owner. And so I really encourage all business owners to think about how much they're pouring out, it goes back to that capacity issue. Again, how much are you pouring out on a daily basis? And then how can you give yourself time and it might not even be like a straight three month period, but maybe it's you know, one long weekend, a month, or maybe it's you only work three, three weeks out of the month, structuring your business in some type of way that gives you that deliberate downtime, where you can dive in wholeheartedly to the things that will actually fuel your business by walking away from your business. I really think that that is a crucial key to my development. And I've noticed a I mean a distinct difference in what I've been able to produce when I've taken that sabbatical versus when I hadn't been. So definitely I would recommend that as

as a way to kind of embed those wellness practices into your business because if we, I didn't get into business to structure it, you know, the same rate as I would if I was in an office and it took me I mean, I've been working for myself since 2010. And it took me maybe six years to start with like the nine to five structure of my business and really, you know, just and I really adapt to my natural energy flow throughout the day. And so I really got into business because this is this is my business. And this is my opportunity to structure it, how it needs to be structured, to take the time away that I think I might need to be able to get crystal clear on what it is that I want to offer, how I want to show up, how I want to serve my community, I think that it's crucial for us to be able to do that, as business

Emily Carter

owners. That is some of the most amazing advice, just that space to create for yourself that that really serves you as the business owner, because ultimately, it is your business. So when you're the decider, but also you are really integral to the business. And what it produces you are you are creating that business. And so when we ignore our creative capacity, thinking that it has, we have to constantly be producing, you know, I think of it of this in nature, I am really drawn to to drawing parallels between human experience and biology and nature. And you know, a lot of seeds have to go through this process of stratification. And stratification is the seed isn't doing anything but but something's occurring anyway. So a lot of seeds go through cold stratification where you know, it has to like be really cold and damp before it will ever be able to germinate. Some seeds have to go through fire in order to germinate. But what's important, I think, is to understand that there is this space where it doesn't look like anything is happening because the seed isn't doing anything. It's allowing things to flow and having that space to allow your flow. I think it's just nothing short of revolutionary To be honest, especially in the state these days of online business. Yeah,

Tara Jefferson

definitely. And I love that you. There's so many parallels in nature, like we're part of nature, I think we forget that sometimes we think that we are, you know, above what the plants do, and what the trees do, and the moon in the sun and all of that we're part of nature. And the more that I remember that and recognize that the more I am able to accept what's happening and to be able to flow with, okay, it's dark outside, I'm tired, I'm going to go to sleep, that's a natural human rhythm. Instead of fighting against it and trying to squeeze out more work in a day flowing with what is natural for you. I think it's something that we get away from because we are disengaged from what it means to be human to be part of nature. And the more that we can get back to that I think that we'll see better gains for ourselves, our own personal wellness, and our businesses as well.

Emily Carter

Yeah, and you know, that sense of judgment that we can have on ourselves when when we are tired and need that break, right? The The, the, you know, those negative thoughts that we have about ourselves, why can't I just do it? Why can't I just power through it? Well, Would you ever consider judging a plant for not blooming out of season like it just when you put it in that kind of perspective, I think it really helps me understand that this is actually the the best thing that can happen for me and for my business, when I'm tired is to stop, you know, to pause.

Tara Jefferson

Right? Exactly, exactly.

Emily Carter

You know, as entrepreneurs in an effort to be vulnerable to connect authentically, we sometimes make the mistake of falling into thinking that everything we do can and should be for public consumption. I know you talked about not pausing or when you pause when you take that sabbatical, not posting every day. You know, can you speak into sort of what we can do to make sure that we're caring for ourselves as we're building our personal brands, because creating those boundaries and being intentional about how we're doing this. So that you know, there is space for us to just be as opposed to constantly feeling like we have to produce and put it out there for the public. What advice do you have for us there?

Tara Jefferson

Yeah, so this is something if I'm completely honest, like I've struggled with tremendously in building my business, because as running a wellness community, people want to see you doing things to see you participating in your wellness practices, and what do you do and they want to see that so that they can follow you and get inspiration. And my life is very kind of like low flow, like I try to keep a very kind of relaxed, balanced atmosphere in my house, especially in my working space. And so the idea of pulling out my phone to record all of these things that I'm doing to take care of myself, it feels intrusive. And it feels like okay, am I really relaxing? If I'm thinking about the best angle, and I'm thinking about, you know how long this should be? And should I make it a real is this video, is this a snippet for for Twitter, right? You feel very intrusive. And so one of the things that I've decided, is having some type of ratio have how much you know, I'm putting out there specifically to create for content. And what I'm just doing for myself, because obviously, I don't think my every journaling experience, my every, you know, meditation session, my every walk that I take around the block, all of those things don't need to be captured. for public consumption, I might capture it for myself, just so that I can have, you know, my own personal archive of how I've cared for myself, particularly during this time when you really need to be very focused and intentional about it. But having some type of ratio, so maybe that is, for me, it might be one day a week, where I posts you know, my Sunday, my self care Sunday, or I post what I did this weekend, on a Monday morning. But one thing that I don't do, that I used to do, I used to post in the moment all the time, I used to say, Hey, I'm here at the lake, and I'm relaxing, and you know, I'm meditating or whatever. And now I might get to the lake, take a couple pictures, put my phone away and just focus on what I came here to do. And later and afterward, I can go through photos and edit and post it, but not interrupting my actual practices, my actual attempts at some type of self care in the moment. So I would say to people, you know, to make sure that you are one comfortable with how you're showing up online. Because often, what we do is we try to fall into that Instagram aesthetic, we try to do that, okay, everything's bright, it's kind of wide, it's got plants in the background, it has, you know, everything looks clean and polished and everything. And people say like, Oh, no, we like the real life, you know, things on Instagram, but we see, you know that there's a great Instagram aesthetic. So make sure one that you're comfortable with how you're showing up online and that it feels authentic to you. If nobody was looking, you know, if nobody if it didn't matter, you know, you got the deals Anyway, you got sales anyway, how would you show up and try to make that more authentic. And then also thinking about going back to that ratio of, you know, how much of this is for other people, and how much of this is for yourself. One thing that I go back to, and you know, it might be you know, I might be in the minority of people. But I like that when there is some. When your work kind of speaks for itself, I know that we're in this age of hyper visibility, and you feel like you have to be out there producing content, 24, seven, just to be seen, just to be noticed, but I think it's better to post perhaps maybe three really great pieces of content a week, versus, you know, posting every single thing that you do throwing up content, you know, four or five times a day, just to feel like you've been seen. So I feel like it's definitely you know, thinking about that quality over quantity, for sure.

And then again, going back to how you structure your business, how it really works for you. Some people like myself, prefer the written word. So Instagram can kind of be a challenge for me. And so if you're one of those people who feel like Oh, man, you don't have to show up this way for video, etc. There's different ways to kind of work around that for your own sense of comfort. And you know, that allows you to show up more authentically to who you are. So maybe you're doing more audio types of posts, maybe you are doing just a quick snippet. from something that you've written and you elaborate in the cut and the captions. There's ways to work around, I think the social algorithms, so that you can still show up authentically and you don't feel like you are promoting this kind of false sense of who you are in order just to be seen, to be noticed to get the clicks to get the likes to get the comments. And so I feel like there's ways that we can connect without over exerting ourselves or feeling like we are being consumed by social.

Emily Carter

Oh, wow, that is some of the the most succinct advice that I've heard about how to show up online. The the idea, I loved it when you said if you were going to if if it didn't matter, what would you be posting anyway, right? How would you be showing up? How would you want to be showing up and using that as sort of a yardstick to measure and where your boundaries are, as is just so easy to check in with ourselves on? Terra, we're coming up on the last the the end of our time together, I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing your wisdom today. This has been such an eye opener for myself, and I'm sure that other folks are going to feel that way as well. And they're going to want to connect with you and hear more about what resonated with them today. Where can they engage with you more? Where can we find you?

Tara Jefferson

Yeah, so I would love I'm really proud of our website. It just has all of the things that we offer. And you can sign up for our mailing list so that you can be in the loop. But you can find us at the self care suite. com that's su i t. And then also, we'd love to hang out with you on Instagram. And that's the self care suite as well. I try my best for any woman who is in our community, I really try my best to be that consistent voice of encouragement, where you come to our page you are in our group you're on our mailing lists, what you'll get is a very soft, gentle invitation to care for yourself better. And we try to do that with no judgment. We try to meet you where you are. And we try to make it so that as I said at the top of this interview so that you can really make self care, just a part of your everyday life without a lot of extra effort or or extra effort, we can just make it be a part of your life where you begin to do it without even thinking. So that is where I hope that all of the women who joined the suite and up and we're happy to walk alongside you as you figure it out.

Emily Carter

Thank you so much, Tara. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Hey, one more thing before you go. If you want to return to this interview with Tara again and again after this week, you can purchase the blueprint kit and do just that. You can return to that amazing quote or helpful self care practice anytime you need it by purchasing the kit. money from your purchase goes to the Climate Justice Alliance, an organization focused on clean community energy, regional food systems, zero waste and efficient, affordable and durable housing. So you pick up your kit, you're helping folks get what they need for a more sustainable life on earth and you're growing your business with ease, enjoyment and effectiveness.