For the past few weeks … er, maybe months… I’ve been creatively jammed up. You know? Like I WANT to create :: to write, to plan, to DREAM BIG but the energy just hasn’t been there. I’ve been stuck. Majorly.

I heard it again and again — from friends, mentors, my intuition :: REST. STOP DOING.

I didn’t.

I felt like :: um, body… I’ve been giving you rest. I’ve been eating better. Getting back into the swing of working out. I’m self-caring … TIME TO GET STUFF DONE.

So, I pushed.

And, then… I got sick.

When you get sick ?, it’s time to ask yourself :: what is my body trying to tell me? (Shoutout to Lauren Wardell) I’d been getting the message to slow down for weeks … and I didn’t … and now I am straight outta commission.

You know the out of commission when you’re like:: am I dying?? ☠️

The meds ? have started to kick in (??), So friendly reminder of a lesson I’m learning again :: you can’t wait. Take care of yourself. ?Listen to the whispers before they become shouts (because they will and all the caffeine ☕️ + Advil + other ways to mask the tiredness and pain will be futile.

The struggle to not think about all the things I’m not ✔️ing off of my to do list,

of the people I must be disappointing ?, and

the super extreme :: oh my gosh I am ruining my life right now because I am trapped in ???

are so SO REAL.

And I just have to remind myself to surrender. To feel ALL the feelings ?. And trust that it’ll all be okay.

I am pretty great at giving self-care tips + advice to others … I do after all fancy myself a self-care strategist. However… I’m not always great at taking the advice :: that’s the rub isn’t it? It’s super annoying but also beautiful because the lessons that challenge you the most, will also be the ones that you become the greatest teacher of.

So, here is what I’ve learned (or you know, am in the process of learning … for the thousandth time ?) on my self-care journey — my BIG takeaway on this go around:

There is no “recipe” or “standard” for self-care :: you REALLY have to do what works for you.

That means no shaming yourself over needing EXTRA self-care:

Getting by on the littlest self-care possible is not the goal.

Honoring your mind + body + soul is ?

Maybe you tick off your 8 hours of sleep, green smoothie, and hour of yoga but still don’t feel recharged … guess what? Time to level-up the self-care! There is NO SHAME in needing more.

Let me say that again:

You are not in a competition to see who can get by on the littlest amount of self-care.

Less time for self-care DOES NOT ? EQUAL more productivity.

And, trust me, I am saying that as much to myself as I am to you.

I’ll leave you with this: 6 little self-care tips that are on the top of my mind as I rest + recharge on my couch:

  1. SLEEP. ? like… 6–7 hours may not be enough for you some days (or all days!) :: HONOR THAT.
  2. Get out in the SUNSHINE ☀️
  3. NOURISH your body ????
  4. HUG your loved ones ?
  5. LEAN on your friends for support ?
  6. Be GENTLE with yourself ?

You will forget. You won’t be perfect (Lord knows I’m not!) but the more you focus on giving YOU WHAT YOU NEED, according to you, the more magical ?✨ life will be :: you’ll feel happier ? + stronger ?? + you’ll mostly likely get your creativity back ?

Originally published at


  • Kirsten Lee Hill, Ph.D.

    Researcher, Creative, Entrepreneur

    Kirsten Lee Hill, Ph.D. is an expert in creatively leveraging traditional research expertise to support community-driven change, and has worked with global leaders in innovation such as Virgin Unite and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Kirsten partners with people and organizations with inspiring ideas for how to change the world so they can leverage the powers of research and personal wellbeing to advance their cause. She also inspires changemakers to embrace gracefully breaking rules through her podcast, Graceful Rulebreakers.