Building Mindfulness into Your Busy Founder Life

Mindfulness is a desired state of being, where you are centered in the present moment, not worrying about the past or future “what ifs”. Women are constantly seeking balance, but daily stressors are overwhelming us all. The mission of MYRetreat is to reach 1 million women with bite-sized self-care practices, to slow down for some much deserved “me time”.  

When women ask me – a startup founder – “How do you stay so relaxed?”, what they’re really asking is “How can I feel relaxed too?”.  The answer I always come back to is that you must schedule self-care to achieve wellness.  Whether you make time for one minute or thirty minutes to focus on your needs, it’s worth it.  Below are self-care practices from my life, as a mom, wife, therapist, and entrepreneur. 

1 Minute: Set a daily reminder in your phone

Your Google Calendar tells you when you need to drop everything and go to an event or a meeting, but what else can you schedule?  My calendar reminds me to take out the trash Wednesday nights, but let’s dig deeper.  

In 2020, I had a daily mantra saved in my calendar telling me, “You are already enough”.  This year, my calendar reminds me at 9:00pm to “Find the moon”.  This prompt is quite literal, star gazing is something that brings me joy and with all my responsibilities I could go months without remembering to look up at the night sky.  

Take a moment to consider what value add your phone can be set to remind you of?  Then schedule your custom alert at a time that makes sense for you. 

5 Minutes: Brew a cup of coffee

I’ve had four cups of coffee in my life.  A cup in Costa Rica at age 18, one in Spain at age 19, another in Hawaii at 21, and the last in Rwanda at age 22 (I’m not counting the sip of Folgers, at 7).  Tea is my hot beverage of choice, though that half coffee/half hot cocoa cup in Spain was pretty tasty.  

Whatever you enjoy, brew a cup, and brew it mindfully.  

Begin by listening to the sound as you pour the water. Observe the areas of dullness or shine on the coffee maker. Notice the texture of the coffee grounds/beans. Feel the warmth of the mug. Pause to breathe in three deep breaths of the coffee’s aroma.  

30 Minutes: Take your break.

Give yourself permission to step away from the work. Gift yourself time to be your most authentic self.  Scope out places that are within walking distance of your office space.  

Pre-Pandemic, while working as a therapist, I went to the dollar movie theater and watched a part of a movie for a break in my workday. During the Pandemic, I’ve taken our kids in the car around the corner to our favorite sledding hill for 30 minutes, watching them play and hearing them laugh that day was epic.  What ordinary or extraordinary way can you take a break today?

Slowing down can be as ambitious as being productive.  Be aware of the moments you’re achieving wellness. Replicate.  And repeat. Will you slow down and schedule self-care?

Melissa Mueller-Douglas

Melissa Mueller-Douglas

Melissa Mueller-Douglas, LMSW is the Founder and CEO of MYRetreat, at the intersection of tech and wellness. She is on a mission to impact 1 million professionals to revolutionize self-care. Melissa enables professionals to intentionally balance work and life responsibilities through Chocolate Mindfulness sessions. She is elevating wellness as a priority in the workplace through the Chocolate Mindfulness App. Melissa obtained her Masters of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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