22 Inspirational Millennial Entrepreneurs & Creatives of Color on their Self-Care & Wellness Routines
“Allow yourself to love yourself.”
I saw this statement on a Youtube video recently.
And it’s exactly how I would describe the act of self-care: allowing yourself to love yourself.
How do you love yourself and how do you take care of yourself? In this very moment, are you happy? Aside from the experiences shared with your loved ones, what did you do today for yourself that contributed to your happiness in this moment? And how did your mood affect those around you, if at all? These are some questions that come to mind when I think of self-care.
Eight months in and 2016 has been one heck-of-a year.
It’s a ‘9 year’ of completion and transformation, so this makes sense when you look at the bigger picture. Major local and global events are taking place, shifting and setting us up for the changes and new beginnings for next year’s ‘1 year.’ (If you’re into numerology at all.)
But between the election, global mass shootings, and senseless acts of police violence this summer, it is almost impossible to live in a bubble where absolutely nothing affects you. There isn’t really an option to put life on hold because of our anxieties or (perceived) fears.
So what happens when on top of all this (perceived) chaos, you factor in the added component of simply living your life while attempting to build a lasting foundation for a vision/business? Well, it becomes very real and very apparent that a self-care routine needs to be established, maintained, and utilized quick, fast, and in a hurry!
For me, self-care has become my armor of choice. It allows me to love myself as is and share this love with an open heart. Self-care has become an act of rebellion, where I put my needs and desires first in order to accomplish long-term goals and visions. As a Black Woman and Millennial founder, self-care for me currently looks like:
Setting intentional affirmations for the day every morning
Living with an attitude of gratitude (thanks Auntie @Oprah)
Guided & Chakra Balancing music meditations on Youtube
Aura cleansing baths
Working out (Kickboxing)
Sharing my creative thoughts/images on social media
Walks in the park/nature
Spiritual and metaphysical hobbies
Sitting in silence and listening to inner voice
Judging less, Loving more, and simply being true to self. . .
These practices and routines have allowed me to balance two professions, friends and family, dating, and finding the ‘me’ within it all in this past year.
For many more millennial entrepreneurs and visionaries, self-care and defining their unique version of self-care has become a necessity.
“Self-care is part of the revolution.” — zellie
There’s a continuing emergence of black and brown creatives, visionaries, and entrepreneurs, many of us millennial-aged and older, working towards our visions right now. And we’ve come with a support system: a network of family, friends, loved ones, unwavering faith, and certified self-care rituals, which we’ve constructed and refined along the way. And the great thing is we’re sharing these stories of our inner journeys more openly and freely than ever before . . . in my lifetime at least. (One time for transparency!)
At the Tech Inclusion conference in NY earlier this summer, Jonathan Jackson, cofounder of Blavity, spoke on one of the diversity panels, and touched on the “inner work” he did before becoming an entrepreneur.
About a week later, @CreativeSmartCo hosted a chat on Twitter about the importance of self-care for creatives and entrepreneurs which featured @HelloLaurenAsh @Brittanyphina, and other extraordinary young millennial women of color openly sharing and talking about their self-care routines.
Shortly after this chat I came across this post:
Confession: I don't believe in "self-care". In fact, I think it's a load of bullshit. Don't worry, I'll tell you how I…mytable4one.wordpress.com
It ain't all unicorns and rainbows. Sometimes entrepreneurship is lonely, isolating, stressful and depressing. In our…www.shopify.com
And finally this:
And it got me to thinking, how do we nurture and heal ourselves? And do we hold ourselves accountable for how we feel while working towards our goals?
Self-care also means consciously committing to consistently doing things that uplift and sustain ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Over the past few weeks, in between working on our upcoming VisionPledge BETA launch, my cofounder Lisa and myself have asked folks we admire or look up to, our peers, acquaintances and friends, creative visionaries and entrepreneurs of color, to share what their current self-care and wellness routines look like.
These beautiful people below all agreed to share a few of their personal faves, including links, for this piece. (Shout out and salute to you guys, thank you sincerely.)
Do what works for you. But if ever you’re in need of a new self-care addition, bookmark this article for your informal guide of go-to, self-care techniques. Keep pushing, keep moving forward and most importantly, take care of yourself.
Lisa M. Fennell, Cofounder of VisionPledge
At 33 my self-care routine involves more “just me time” than I ever thought I would want or need in my 20's! I make a point to go phone free at least one day per week to detox from the constant contact that bombards us on the regular. I also spend one morning at the beach per summer weekend (weather permitting) and in the colder months, spend time by a body of water (yes, even the Hudson & East Rivers). Being at close proximity to water has an immediate calming affect on me.
Brittany Josephina, Empowerment Coach and Founder of Brittspiration
Whether you’re just starting out or running a killer empire, self-care is priority. Think of it this way. You are a car and self-care is the gas. You can only go as far as you’re equipped to go — or else, you will be exhausted. You won’t be able to get to your destination.
In my opinion, an underestimated key to successful self-care is renovation. I’m often switching, shifting, adding, removing and experimenting with my routine. This is partially because my personality enjoys variety, but it’s also because our realities are often changing. Your self-care practice should be personalized and intentionally tailored to you as a being, and where you’re at on your path. My last year of college was incredibly busy and I found myself overwhelmed. I couldn’t understand why, but I later realized, I was responding to my current reality, which increased in workload, with the same self-care routine I had previously, which had more free-time. That’s why I love self-care. It calls for discernment and awareness of self.
In the conversation of self-care, I love the emphasis placed on taking breaks, meditating, eating to fuel your body, affirming yourself and exercising. However, something I want to highlight is the necessity of detachment, boundary-setting, giving yourself the freedom to change your mind and saying no. Frankly, some things are just not worth your energy. Period. My cherished self-care statement of the moment is, “I don’t care.” You’re never obligated to invest your energy in things that don’t feed, energize or ground you. That’s a radical truth we must always remember.
I drink lots and lots and lots of water.
And refer back to my list of goals and steps to take to make them. I wrote a web series where the main character deals with depression.
Sometimes, I feel lost and get depressed because I feel like I’m lacking direction and won’t ever accomplish anything, but looking at the list reminds me of what I have already accomplished, and all the other accomplishments I’m going to make.
Esosa Ighodaro, Cofounder and President COSIGN
Disclaimer, I’m human and still a work in progress. I try to think of 5 things I am grateful for every morning. It starts off every morning on a good and positive start. I also try to pray every morning and night. Prayer is my meditation. Lastly, I try to have 30 minutes of something I enjoy everyday. I enjoy social media, so I feast on it for 30 minutes a day. My social media of choice: Facebook. Why? It’s a world without limits to me. I get everything from news to personal intel on people I care about. It’s everything, hun.
Guillaume Alain PorQuet , Founder TheFoqusGroup
My perfect morning is to wake up early, pray (for others to heal through these tough times among other things), write down my schedule for the day, run while listening to an audiobook about self help, and then I go on about my day wishing everyone else is having a blessed day just like me.
Finding a balance is important. I practice a 10-minute morning meditation I really like that gets me centered and ready for the day. I also work out at least 3–4 times a week, making sure to push myself to lift heavier and heavier. Hitting that next level gets me riled up to crush my next project!
Prayer/Meditation: I start my day thanking God/universe for being
alive as well as everything I’m thankful for (family, friends, lessons).
I also take this time to reflect upon my purpose and how I hope to align my daily actions to support my purpose. I use this time to center myself and channel a positive, productive day. (I’ve used the app HeadSpace for helpful, quick meditation exercises.)
‘Me Time’: As an entrepreneur, my days are extremely long. I like to carve out time to enjoy an article or TV show, work out, go for a nice walk, or treat myself to a face mask and bubble bath, something that relaxes my mind and allows me to unwind from the long day.
The Top 10 rules of success videos are clutch. I watch Evan Carmichael’s YouTube channel for inspiration and insight from thought leaders & entrepreneurs. Countless gems from a variety of influencers and
industry titans. https://www.youtube.com/user/ModelingTheMasters
I don’t believe in roadblocks nor limitations. When I face challenges
with my two startups, I don’t allow myself to stress out. I take the
time to read a few articles from these sites & brainstorm https://www.entrepreneur.comInc.com. Music, meditation, and walking Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
Jessica Santana, Founder of New York on Tech
I lose myself in a good book. When I’m not working, I like to contribute to my knowledge flow and explore literature that cover topics I am interested in, but are not related to my work. Also, I make sure to not work after 7pm and schedule no work on Sundays (unless truly necessary).
John Henry, Founder of Cofound Harlem
Things that come to mind: Meditation. I’ve been meditating for over 2 years now consistently. It’s deepened my spirituality, helped develop an even-temperament, and allows me to respond to events rather than re-act. I read a lot. The New York Times, The Economist.. so vital to stay sharp.
Jonathan Jackson, Cofounder of Blavity
Cooking: I grew up in a Caribbean infused household, so food has always been a connector and source of love in my house ( I think it might be one of my love languages haha). I learned how to cook when I was little, and since then, I’ve found it to be a way for me to make something with my hands, feel connected, and feel that community again, even if I’m by myself.
Coloring: This is something I rediscovered recently, but I find so much peace in just shading and using different colors to make something appear in color. I spend a lot of time painting with my words, but it’s fun too.
It’s the activities that we do as children that give us that sense of wonder and imagination that I find to be liberating right now.
Lauren Ash, Founder & Creative Director at BlackGirlinOm
I have recently enjoyed tuning into my girl Tracy G.’s audio affirmations as a means of uplifting my spirit on a tough day! She’s amazing and super inspiring, especially as I can relate with her as a fellow Black woman: https://soundcloud.com/shesbeautyandthebeast/sets/tgep
Lloyd Cambridge, Founder of Progress Playbook
My self care consists of a routine I do every morning for 1–3 hours:
Spend time in gratitude and prayer
Read and meditate on scriptures from the bible
Affirm myself in my values and beliefs.
Review and visualize my goals and my day
Journal if inspired
Make a vegetable and fruit smoothie and take a multivitamin, fish oil and garlic pill.
Get to work on my to do list
Mary Olushoga, Founder of the AWP Network
Self-care/wellness routine: I pray, (I believe in the power of prayers.)
I meditate, (music helps me to achieve this.)
I write, (writing is such an important part of my life, I try to do this almost every day.)
I travel (when I need to think outside of the box, I travel. Movement reminds me that change is constant.)
Michael Hackney, Digital Marketer
I work out daily for at least 30 minutes — running, jogging, resistance bands, skating. It releases endorphins.
I listen to motivational seminars during my commute: Eban Pagan for Marketing; Echart Tolle for Spiritual Guidance; David Dedia for Relationships.
Odinakachukwu Obilo, Founder & CEO of TLO Event Complex | Philly
I think the power of being an entrepreneur and astute business man or woman is being able to see and be connected to people. One of my wellness routines which is also a fundamental part of my business, is engaging people and having a realistic understanding of their needs. Also the gym is vital to my sanity.
Ranasha Chittick, Founder of Sheek Technology, Virtual & Technical Assistant
Two purposeful actions I take each day:
- I write down my goals, even the smaller ones that help me on my way to achieving my bigger goals. It is important for me to start my day off with positive words of encouragement or affirmations to myself.
- Read an inspirational daily quote via app based on the book: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
- The app summarizes the book and offers great daily quotes that help me personally and in business.
Starrene Rhett Rocque, Author of “Bloggers Can’t Be Trusted”
Self-care is sometimes hard to stay on top of when you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, but I’m learning to be better. Simple things like taking a social media break on weekends, finding time in the morning to journal before my day gets started, and writing a gratitude list are extremely helpful to keeping me balanced.
Tiffany Ashitey, Cofounder of Benchmark Creative Group
I start and end my day with 5 minutes of pure silence and a glass of water. The silence resets my mind, and the water resets my body, before and after the chaos of any given day. Plus it gives me time to just appreciate the moment.
Tracy G, Founder of She’s Beauty & The Beast
I do my best to open my day with gratitude and seal it with gratitude, noting something overlooked (small), necessary (medium) and extra saucy (large) that I’m thankful for. Also, developing my audio vision boards, which are millennial affirmations set to bomb beats, is a very cathartic process for me.
Iesha Williams, Blogger & Writer
I have to make an effort to alter the destination of my energy; release the fear and anxieties of the uncertainty of what I’m facing and trust God as well as actively do things that I know will positively feed my energy: meditation, prayer, and yoga.
Have you established a self-care routine that works for you?
Let’s continue to believe in ourselves and our ideas.
We want to invest in the visions of underrepresented millennials of color and underserved millennials with student loan debt. VisionPledge is currently seeking the #Visionary100, the first 100 Visionaries to fund their creative projects and startups on our community-funding platform launching at the close of August.
Let’s work collectively to achieve these goals and take care of self while pledging to fulfill the vision.