Finding a work/life balance with entrepreneur Hema Stewart

As life as an entrepreneur can quickly become hectic and overwhelming, we sat down with Hema Stewart to find out how she strikes the perfect balance

We often make small eco-friendly changes in our everyday lives, but when it comes to Christmas that goes out of the window. That’s why, Hema Stewart, founder of Curlicue, is on a mission to put sustainability at the heart of Christmas gifting. 

After becoming frustrated with the environmental impact of wrapping paper, Hema began her search for eco-friendly alternatives. Unable to find anything that wasn’t either newspaper or plain brown wrapping, Hema decided to take matters into her own hands, by launching Curlicue in 2019.

We sat down with Hema to understand how she manages to be a successful eco-entrepreneur while maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

Starting the day with self-care

I begin my day with a bit of self-care to get off to a good start. When I’m busy my self-care is the first thing to get sacrificed, so when I have time, I make sure I am spending a few extra minutes doing the little things that make a difference to my mental wellbeing. This includes doing my skincare and taking my vitamins.

No two days are the same at Curlicue. Obviously, everyone has life admin and emails and the basic functions that keep a business running. The most exciting parts of what I do are the creative ones. Getting to explore every element of my own ideas, and seeing them come to life on beautiful paper – this is what it is all about. After a full day of packing orders, tackling the to-do list, and squeezing in some marketing consulting sessions, I can finally go home and relax. 

I do struggle to find a balance. Running your own business is not easy. It’s difficult to prioritise yourself against a growing to-do list and a million other things that take up time, but I remind myself that I’m only human. It’s okay to sometimes fall off balance and take the time when I need to.   

I don’t have the most rewarding aspect of the day. I have the most rewarding aspect of the week, more likely. On a Friday, I tend to reflect on what I have achieved and plan for the coming week. It’s when I feel most productive, reviewing and analysing how everything has gone. In the day-to-day, it’s easy to get stuck in the weeds when running your own business. So taking a step, seeing all we’ve achieved and working out a strategic approach for the upcoming week feels very rewarding.

I take my time for TV (my favourite show is Charmed, the original series, obviously, not the reboot) before my evening skincare. I get into bed at about 10PM, read for about an hour before sleep, and then it all starts all over again.

Balancing out the day 

Escapism plays a big part in my leisure moments. Ensuring I have time to do this can be tricky though! When it’s busy, a business can be all-consuming. So I try to not put too much pressure on myself to “unwind”, because that can be stressful in and of itself! Instead, I find little pockets of time to listen to podcasts or watch TV throughout the day – like when I’m commuting to the office – and I try and plan in time to see friends and family so I have something to look forward to.

The honest truth is I am lucky to even get an evening. If I can, I want to relax, speak to my friends, spend time with my loved ones and let my mind wander, whilst watching a good show. It’s about ending the day however you can, with whatever time you have, which for most Founders isn’t a lot. So don’t feel guilty if you don’t have a balanced routine, that’s just the life of a business owner.

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