REST with Grace Gulley
Today's muse is Grace Gulley, a female empowerment and community engineer. She is also an artist and the founder of CYL Collective, an incredible creative community of ladies.
In this empowering interview, Grace illustrates why rest isn't selfish. She also talks about her decision to let go of her successful art business, so she could prioritize her wellbeing. And she shares her weekly 'spa' routine, which I have a feeling you'll want to try for yourself! (I know I do!)
WHAT ARE YOUR RITUALS TO RELAX, REJUVENATE, AND RESTORE YOURSELF?
I am a serious advocate of a morning routine-probably to the point of exhaustion for those that talk to me a lot. I find starting my day in a very intentional way is incredibly empowering and uplifting to my mental state. As opposed to starting the day by checking social media, notifications or email-which is incredibly reactive and leaves you feeling a bit lost in the shuffle of things.
I also stay in tune with how I’m feeling. If I notice that I’m starting to get restless or agitated, I take that as a sign that I need to change gears temporarily, or remove myself altogether. This usually means a short walk (guys, I swear the sun is magic and vitamin D fixes nearly any ailment!) and a quick round of stretching every 90-minutes or so.
My favorite routine is my weekly ‘spa’ routine. After a long week and working on those important tasks that move me forward in business, this is my moment to be totally indulgent. I turn on a steam machine to have a sauna effect in the bathroom; shower by candle light; then steam my face; followed by a clay mask and a ‘sensory deprivation’ mediation; then a short facial massage; and I always lounge around in my robe after, usually reading and drinking cucumber water.
What is your advice to empower women to make time for (guilt-free) rest?
I know a lot of people struggle with self-care and the idea of relaxing. They argue it’s selfish for feel guilty doing it. But I’ve taken up the perspective it’s selfish NOT to prioritize it. Think about it… when we aren’t taking care of ourselves, we suffer. Our moods spiral, our demeanor darkens, and we just generally aren’t pleasant to be around. Our productivity also drops and we perform our daily tasks in anger or resentment. This is bad for others, bad for business, and of course, bad for you. When you do prioritize rest and self-care, every other area of your life is positively impacted. You perform your tasks with joy and love; your mood is infectious and people want to be around you; you are energized and more efficient than ever.
Please describe a time when you had to surrender to rest.
In 2016 I was grinding. Hard. I was running two ‘successful’ businesses. I was extremely dedicated. Things were happening. And I kept telling myself, rest will come later. But by the end of 2016 I was burned out. I hit a wall and lost any and all motivation to keep either business going. I actually resented both businesses at that point.
I decided that I would need to let one of the businesses go and focus on the other so I had time for me. I went into 2017 knowing I needed to make my wellbeing the top priority or I’d be no damn good to anyone. Things changed radically from that point. I started to enjoy my work again. Quality people started to enter my life. And I found joy more often than I had before.
How do you tune into your body's wisdom to know when to rest?
This is so incredibly important! Most of us are very out of tune with our own feelings. It’s easy to to let the sound of the world (and our obligations and other’s expectations) drown out the inner voice. I make time twice daily to be sit in silence and feel my feelings and hear what my body is telling me. If I notice agitation and anxiety, I know I need to make adjustments. If I feel joy, I know I need to embrace that and move in that direction.
Grace Gulley is an empowerment coach and community architect on a mission to help women create a life (and business) they love and don't need an escape from.
She is also an artist and the founder of CYL , a wonderful place to join forces with amazing creative entrepreneurs. You can learn more about her (and her rad work) at GraceGulley.com and on Instagram and Facebook.