Holly Hughes On The Self-Care Routines & Practices Of Busy Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders

An Interview With Maria Angelova


Dance is my favorite and most-powerful self-care routine. When I dance, I lose track of time, don’t check my phone, and experience joy.

All of us know that we have to take breaks in our day to take care of ourselves. “Selfcare is healthcare”, the saying goes. At the same time, we know that when you are a busy leader with enormous responsibility on your shoulders, it’s so easy to prioritize the urgent demands of work over the important requirements of self-care. How do busy entrepreneurs and leaders create space to properly take care of themselves? What are the self-care routines of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders? In this interview series, we are talking to busy and successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, and civic leaders who can discuss their self-care practices and self-care routines. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Holly R. Hughes.

Holly Hughes is an intuitive energy healer, speaker, and award-winning author of the book, “Real Not Perfect: How to Become Your Happy Authentic Self.”

She has dedicated her life to the empowerment of those who feel belittled, erased, and unworthy. Holly’s mission is to connect women who feel invisible to their inner confidence again.

Holly’s here to support you when you’re done making excuses and are ready to heal, find direction, and reclaim your life.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is an honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you please share with our readers your personal backstory; What has brought you to this point in your life?

I believe life is an adventure and I’ve been along for the ride. My life experience includes:

  • The first-hand pain of growing up with an alcoholic parent.
  • The devastation of losing a home to a fire then a second time to an earthquake.
  • The ramifications divorce.
  • How small you feel when surviving emotional and verbal abuse.
  • What happens to people who speak out about sexual harassment at work.
  • Being sexually assaulted.
  • The profound grief associated with infertility and miscarriages.

And how to overcome all of it. I know the worst days don’t define you and happiness is an option.

What is your “why” behind what you do? What fuels you?

Why do I do what I do? That’s an easy one to answer.

One study shows 74% of girls are under pressure to please everyone.* Girls are learning their emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical identity is meant to please others before themselves in order to be valued. This “earning worth” mentality must end.

Another statistic shows only 41% of people are satisfied with their quality of life. **

Yet another poll demonstrates that 56% of women are dissatisfied with society’s general treatment of them.***

I do what I do because I believe happiness is an option. And I want to be one of the people making the world a better place.

Client testimonials:

“I walked out of Holly’s office a changed person. There was an anxious churning in me that she swiftly named and healed.” — S.A.

“You unlocked something in me, Holly I have so much clarity like something clicked back into alignment. Like the fog is cleared.” — R.A.

* https://heartofleadership.org/statistics/

** https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/02/politics/unhappiness-americans-gallup-analysis/index.html

*** https://www.apa.org/monitor/2022/03/numbers-women-society

How do you define success? Can you please explain what you mean from a personal anecdote?

I think we have to redefine success. The old paradigm of thinking success is earning millions of dollars and having things, followers, or wealth is false. I’ve worked with enough people to know money doesn’t buy happiness.

Success is health. Success is carving out time to do what brings you joy. Success can be a homemade birthday cake.

Success for me is attracting clients who want to do the work of healing. It’s being able to dance and celebrate Halloween. It is the ability to love and be loved. It means seeing parts of the world in person and trying new things.

Success is doing what I do well without fear holding me back.

What is the role of a growth mindset in your success? Can you please share 3 mindset mantras that keep you motivated, sane, and propel you forward?

Mindset is a vital piece of success. If I didn’t believe in myself, how could I have the courage to try, sometimes fail, learn more, and then succeed?

3 Mindset Mantras:

  1. It doesn’t have to be perfect. My mantra is Real, Not Perfect! I wrote a book with that title :)
  2. Take time to feel your feelings. Learning new things has ups and downs. It’s okay to be sad or annoyed, angry and irritated, but you can’t wallow.
  3. Ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t mean you are less; it means you know your limits, and that’s a good thing! No one can do it all.

You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I hope that my gifts uplift and inspire.

One study says 60% of Americans feel anxious, nervous, and or on edge.*

I use my gifts and success to reach those who are stuck. I share personal stories to demonstrate that the hard things in life don’t have to limit the kind of life you can create. I sincerely hope I’m a light of possibility in others’ dark moments and that I demonstrate compassion, grace, and a bit of snarky humor.


Can you share a mistake or failure which you now appreciate, and which has taught you a valuable lesson?

I’m a goal-setter. I love ticking off boxes as proof that I did something. One goal I had was to step on stage and speak to people about setting boundaries. I was invited to be a featured speaker at an event, and the person in charge slowly but surely began insulting me. She told me to move my hands less and don’t be so expressive. She nit-picked everything I did until I was so flustered that I became very sick and despite audience members telling me I changed their life, she had other things to say. When I asked her if she heard me speak at all, if she came into the room I was in, she admitted she had never heard me speak. I’ve been afraid to get up in front of a large group of people ever since.

What’s the lesson for me? Every opportunity offered is meant for me. Although I’m glad I conquered my fears and her criticism, I know the warning signs and understand it’s okay to say “No,” when I’m not aligned with the event’s energy. Now, when people invite me to speak, I research the event, and the person in charge, I get paid and ask questions at the beginning. We co-create boundaries, and if my Spidey sense tells me I’m not respected, I can say, “No, thank you,” and walk away.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Three traits instrumental in my success are:

  1. My ability to do things scared. I don’t let fear stop me from trying. The worst thing that could happen is someone telling me, “No,” and then I’m not in any worse position than I was at first.
  2. My ability to make choices. I don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. I make a choice and go for it. If that doesn’t work out, I can learn from the mistake and make a new choice.
  3. My willingness to learn. I love learning and am willing to listen, research, and gain perspectives. I know I don’t know everything.

My intuitive energy healing gifts allow me to help others tap into their strengths and own their power. A healing journey is about identifying a person’s unique assets.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting new projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I created the Real, Not Perfect Academy. It’s an eleven-week program where clients get unprecedented access to me. I lead you through a step-by-step process to reclaim your voice, passion, and self-worth. This life-affirming and life-changing interactive workshop excites me the most!

My Real, Not Perfect Academy is a fit for you if you’re at a crossroads in your life in your:

  • Career
  • Relationships
  • Feelings of loss or grief
  • And don’t know how to stop waiting to make yourself a priority

The Real, Not Perfect Academy will help you:

  • Identify the root cause of your pain and suffering
  • Teach you coping strategies
  • Heal your heart and emotional wounds
  • Create a plan for moving forward
  • Provide daily support
  • Hold a safe space for you to experience all the emotions you’ve bottled up
  • Receive unconditional support during the metamorphosis you’re taking on
  • And celebrate the you you’ve always wanted to be

Real, Not Perfect Academy Topics:

  1. Why your people pleasing is hurting you.
  2. Reconcile the choices you made and how they created your present reality.
  3. How to define yourself in terms besides being a mother, wife, sister, daughter.
  4. Heal your regrets.
  5. Help you say no.
  6. How to create support and ask for the help you wish you had.
  7. Carve out you time.
  8. Demonstrate adulthood to your children.
  9. Why you can’t say No even when you want to.
  10. Creating the life you want.

At the end of the eleven weeks, you’ll successfully manifest long-lasting change, have blockage breakthroughs, and cleared internal clutter!


“Holly helped me end a situationship. I stopped making excuses for his bad behavior and made myself, my feelings, and boundaries a priority. Best thing I did for myself. Now I’m happily engaged to a better man!” A.C.

“Not only are her messages accurate and specific, but they’re delivered in a very heart-centered way and felt at the soul level. Each time I’ve experienced validation, I felt seen, loved, compassion, healing, clarity, lighter, and strength to make difficult decisions and moved. I’ve recommended her to many of my friends and family members and will continue to. She is a gift. I’m so grateful to have her in my life.” T.G.

“Holly has been such a gift in my life! I started seeing her when I was struggling with the heaviness of being in a toxic relationship and not knowing how to leave. She supported me by helping me learn how to strengthen my boundaries, thus finding my own voice. She has helped me build a stronger relationship with myself and taught me how to better listen to my own intuition and tune into the divine guidance all around. Holly’s work is wonderful! I’ve even recommended her to a few friends who I felt could benefit from some energy work to help them to keep moving forward as well. Holly is real and I am so grateful to be both her client and her friend.” ❤️ T.M.

If you’re not ready to commit to the program, you can start with a healing session.

I work one-on-one with clients in person, via zoom, and over the phone. I receive the same information and intuitively guided messages no matter how we connect.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview about Self-Care. Let’s start with a basic definition so that we are all on the same page. What does self-care mean to you?

My definition of self-care is doing something that makes you lose time.

As a successful leader with an intense schedule, what do you do to prioritize self-care, and carve out regular time to make self-care part of your routine?

Self-care is a non-negotiable for me. And as a former people-pleaser, I understand how many people put self-care at the bottom of an endless to-do list.

Self-care has to be a top priority.

How do you expect others to treat you if you can’t love yourself enough to pay attention to your needs?

Will you please share with our readers 3 of your daily, or frequent self-care habits?

Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are three easy-to-do self-care habits:

  1. Unplug from your phone at 9 PM, and don’t charge it next to your bed. Buy yourself an alarm clock.
  2. Turn the music up loud and dance.
  3. Call a friend.

Here’s a self-care bingo card I created:

This is the main question of our interview. Based on your own experiences or research can you please share 5 ways that taking time for self-care will improve our lives?

Dance is my favorite and most-powerful self-care routine. When I dance, I lose track of time, don’t check my phone, and experience joy.

There’s nothing like being part of a community of other people dancing. It’s freedom and exhilarating. Learning how to dance engages my mind and body. It’s a time when I’m not in charge, and it provides a way to channel and express emotion.

There have been plenty of days when driving to dance is a hassle. I hate the traffic. I can be tired or grumpy, but my energy shifts when I step into a studio. I shake off the day and see my friends. My stress is replaced with playfulness. My body starts letting go of the tension held in its muscles, and my mind shifts to the music. The old competitive dancer in me loves the challenge of learning something new without expecting to be the best. I’m smiling even as I type why I love to dance so much. I’m thinking about the steps I learned last week. And it brings me joy.

The noise of the world fades, and I live in the now.

This is why self-care is vital in a person’s life. It reminds them of who they are. It fuels your emotional and spiritual body, impacts your mental and physical health, and helps put things in perspective. And most of all, it brings happiness back into your life.

Sometimes we learn a great deal from the opposite, from a contrast. Can you please share a few ways that NOT taking time for self-care can harm our lives?

When you don’t take time for self-care, you risk exhausting yourself.

One demonstration of this is when people-pleasers hide in being busy. Some people feel like they can control things outside of their environment. They work hard to make another person happy, believing this will improve things.

They over-promise and under-deliver, creating huge amounts of stress in their lives. They take care of everyone until they’re burned out and then wonder how they got sick or why they can never get it all done.

What would you tell someone who says they do not have time or finances to support a regular wellness routine?

Look back at my self-care bingo chart. Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. Going for a walk is free. Putting pigtails in your hair is free. Calling a friend isn’t costly. It isn’t about the stuff or physical maintenance. It’s about feeding your soul. Find the wonder in the world around you and plug in.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)

These are the three people I’d love to have a conversation with:

Jada Pickett Smith. I’d love to pull up a chair at the Red Table with Jada, Willow, and Gammy. Their generational perspectives always leave me wishing I could join in the conversations.

Brené Brown because she’s a badass, and her research validates all the things my gifts have me feel and experience.

Drew Barrymore because we were in Hollywood around the same time, and her sincerity, creativity, empathy, and relatability make her special.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

Website: www.hollyhughesintuitive.com

IG: @holly_hughes_intuitive

YouTube: Holly Hughes Intuitive

Email: Holly@Hollyhughesintuitive.com

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher, and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness, and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at angelova@rebellious-intl.com. To schedule a free consultation, click here.



Maria Angelova, CEO of Rebellious Intl.
Authority Magazine

Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl.