Natalie Lowe is the Managing Partner at The Orangeblowfish, an award-winning independent creative agency with teams in China, North America, United Kingdom and Australia.
What does self-care mean to you?
Self-care means making healthy decisions that enable me to be my best, every day.
How do you know when you’re feeling stressed or burnt out?
This is a great question, and very timely too. I went through this with the recent 2022 Shanghai lockdown. It was an extremely tough situation to be in.
We were unable to leave our apartment front doors – for a period of almost 30 days. We were challenged to secure a regular food supply for our family. On top of this, we had to manage our daily family and work schedules.
During the third or fourth week, I started to slip on a few daily priorities. When I procrastinate and do the bare minimum, that’s when I know I’m burnt out.
But we need to give ourselves permission to take our foot off the pedal to re-energize, and re-focus. Once I gave myself permission to do that, I took the time to find the self-determination to get back at it again.
Do you have a regular self-care routine? If so, what does it look like?
I’m big on staying fit and healthy. My self-care routine has changed since the 2022 Shanghai lockdown.
During the lockdown, I made a conscious effort to
(a) workout 4 times a week, each time 30 minutes;
(b) spend quality time with my family, and that means no digital devices and
(c) make an effort to speak to my close friends at least once a week.
What bumps you off your self-care routine and how do you get back on course?
I have set myself a baseline. I’m an active mum and business owner. I’m not going to have an ideal day, no matter how much I plan. I control what I can, and that’s my own exercise routine and emotions. I am at my best when I exercise. As such, if I have a busy week, I do try to fit in two workouts, and tell myself this is the best I can do.
I set myself a lot of ambitious goals, and life happens. Sometimes it’s not possible no matter how much I try. Since the 2022 Shanghai lockdown, I’ve learnt a lot more about letting go and trust that things will get better. Learn not to take yourself too seriously. Learn that we need to learn to empower ourselves to feel successful.
Where do you go for inspiration, ideas or tools for self-care?
My kids are my inspiration. My son is one of the kindest and patient little humans on this earth. My daughter is the courageous one. They have taught me a lot about how to be better, to take care of myself, walk away when it’s not right, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
When I have a moment, my daughter gives me a hug and tells me it’s going to be OK. Or my son would tell me, “Believe in yourself mum. You can do it.” Honestly, they are my true inspiration. They teach me to be better and inspire me to be my best every day.
What do you think you need to improve in terms of your self-care practice?
Have an off day. The world around you won’t blow up if you have a day off.
Before you go…
Self-Care is our new interview series exploring the different self-care routines and habits of people from all walks of life. Get in touch with us today if you’d like to talk about your self-care routine.