December 9th, 2018 - Stories

Just Breathe

Sunday, October 14, I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck.

The FLU. It struck hard and fast and lasted a long, long time.

I was miserable.

However, my forced convalescence taught me that if you don’t take a break – think lazy tequila-soaked beach weeks, Netflix and pjs Saturdays, laptop-free long weekends – your body will force a rest on you.

I wrote about this to my business besties – a fabulous group of entrepreneurs from around the globe.

It struck a chord.

The women of the group – strong successful broads running businesses, families, and side hustles – began a discussion around why we HATE the term SELF CARE, a discussion prompted by my disdain for the word.

Here’s what some said …

Self care – sounds namby pamby – needs a strong name, because the way it sounds – makes it feel selfish and BS, and ooh, lets have a f*&ing bubble bath, when actually what you need is Vodka on the rocks and some girlfriends – that’s self care.

Maybe it’s because we don’t call it “Care” when we’re talking about other people. Somebody’s got “mom-care” this morning. I’m going to do some “spouse-care” tonight.

Why the term “self care” bothers us so much: because it becomes yet another task on the checklist that we get blamed for skipping when things go badly.

Taking care of ourselves is so very important and most of us are so very bad at it. We are amazing at caring for and loving others but when it comes to ourselves, it somehow feels selfish regardless of what we know logically. I haven’t found a name for it that sits well but I will tell you I put it on my schedule as a Date with Me.

As I thought about this more, I realized that I equated self-care to selfish to being a bad mother and an inconsiderate partner. Meanwhile, my lack of downtime was killing my creativity, my inspiration and would soon kill the very business I thought I was building while I slaved 7 days a week, 12+ hours a day.

Does this sound familiar?

If so I’d urge you to step over that troublesome term self care, but find ways spend time with yourself, for yourself before it’s too late.

For me, a first step was investing in a year-long mastermind course to keep the inspiration flowing through 2019. It’s a way to force myself to find time to slow down and create.

I’m also going to be putting some mental health days in my calendar for next year, and I’m cooking up some ideas that might help you JUMP OFF the treadmill with me before it’s too late.

So stay tuned.

In the meantime, JUST BREATHE.

I know the holidays are here, but that doesn’t have to mean we run ourselves ragged trying to create perfection.

What’s perfect anyway? Maybe it’s just pouring a drink, cuddling a kid, a pup or a partner, and watching the tree lights sparkle.

With gratitude,

Shannon Larkins

Inspired by a little blackcoffee

Some of my favourite moments are spent in search of something beautiful while I drink my first cup of coffee and hear the house wake up. From there I move on to the paper and the news of the day. In this space, I’ll share some of those inspirations.


Shannon Larkins

Founder, Blackcoffee Studio

Over the course of 15+ years, Shannon has grown Blackcoffee Studio out of a love for building brands and reputations. She serves up Blackcoffee as a morning ritual while caffeinating clients and readers on the regular. You can find her at


Blackcoffee Studio

Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Hi I’m Shannon, founder of Blackcoffee Studio. A former reporter, spin doctor and politico, I now focus on using my powers for good.

I create mighty brands for clients and share their stories with the world. I’m also rather addicted to my nutty family, dogs with pushed in faces, Mexico and of course coffee … black.