In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.
Two years ago, Ashlei Lauren posted her very first video on YouTube as a natural hair care blogger. Since that day, the 28-year-old influencer has started multiple businesses and amassed more than 85K followers. A lot can change in a short amount of time and adaptability is the name of the game when it comes to leveling up after making a major transition, but the key to this Pretty Hippie's hustle is balance.
Born and raised in Birmingham, Ashlei is a self-proclaimed workaholic in recovery. As a full-time wife, mother, songwriter, and business owner, it's not easy to find time for herself, but according to her, self-care is not an option, issa necessity. She told xoNecole, "I will work day and night until I get overwhelmed and desperately need a break. One day I sat back and analyzed my life and I put everything into perspective. My son needs a mother and my husband needs a wife and that is more important than anything else."
Courtesy of @kevcolephotography
When she's not burning Palo Santo, creating content, designing jewelry, or spending some hardcore one-on-one time with her fam, Ashlei is somewhere manifesting the life of her dreams. The blogger shared that by focusing on what she wants in life, she's found herself seeing less of what she doesn't.
"I always use basic Law of Attraction: What you put out into the universe is what you are going to get back," she explained. "So if you focus on the things that are hard or negative in your life, that's what you're going to keep attracting. If you continue to focus on the things that are going well when life gets hard, you can shift your reality to align with your thoughts."
We got a chance to sit down with Ashlei, who shared exactly how she finds balance as a sage burning mommy on a mission. Here's what she had to say:
What’s been the driving force behind all of the hats that you wear these days? What is your “why”?
My why is my two-year-old Sun "Solar Ray". I'm determined to provide a better life for him. When he's of age to work, I don't want him to have to clock-in to a 9-5. I'm focused on establishing a brand that will remain in the family so that when I retire, Solar and my future children can take over.
What is a typical day in your life? If no day is quite the same, give me a rundown of a typical work week and what that might consist of.
A typical day for me would be waking up and cooking breakfast for my son and feeding our puppy, Heru. Then, after breakfast, I do learning activities and interact with Solar. After that, I check emails and IG messages and see how my pages and content are doing. Then, I plan my posts (sometimes I do this the night before) and edit pictures. If I have to take pictures, I get dolled up and play in makeup!
After that, I have to put my son down for a nap. Normally while he is napping, I edit my Youtube videos or use this time to record when it's nice and quiet. When Solar wakes from his nap, I make him lunch then we may go outside or to the neighborhood park. After my husband comes home from work, I prepare dinner and then start my studio sessions. I'm currently working on my first EP.
Courtesy of Ashlei Lauren
What are your mornings like?
My mornings are funny! I wake up to a demanding two-year-old screaming, "Mommy I want Juice! Mommy I want to eat! Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!" And an occasional jump on the head if I don't get up in a timely fashion! I'm grateful to have such a happy child. We normally spend our mornings dancing and playing while getting breakfast ready. Oh, and potty training! Oh what fun! (Laughs)
How do you wind down at night?
I wind down by rounding up my family and putting on a movie while we lay in bed. It's another way we make sure we are spending that quality time. Then, we all just pass out and fall asleep.
When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?
Courtesy of Ashlei Lauren
The most hectic part of my week is having to make products and ship them out in a timely fashion. Because I'm so busy working on content and doing all of the other things I mentioned, running two businesses where I physically have to make and ship the products is the most hectic for me. I do everything myself at the moment. I can't wait for the day my husband can leave his job. Then it won't be such a big load for me.
Do you practice self-care? What does that look like for you?
Absolutely! Self-care is taking the time to heal your mind, body, and spirit. I do this by taking out time for myself. Whether it be going to shop, attending a hula hoop class, having a girl's night, or just [being] secluded in a room alone with just me and my thoughts and no interruptions, self-care is always on my to-do list.
What advice do you have for busy women who feel like they don’t have time for self-care?
I would say it's a necessity. If you don't have time to care for yourself, how can you properly care for someone else? I have to be 100% to give 100% to my family. If I'm stressed, it shows in the way I care for them.
Courtesy of Ashlei Lauren
"If you don't have time to care for yourself, how can you properly care for someone else? I have to be 100% to give 100% to my family. If I'm stressed, it shows in the way I care for them."
How do you find balance with:
Honestly, I don't have many friends. I may go out with friends once a month, if that, so that doesn't really take up a lot of my time. My husband is literally my best friend and we are together for the majority of the time.
I have been with my husband, Tevin, for eight years. We have been married for three years. Keeping the communication open and honest allows us to maintain a healthy relationship. He has an understanding of what I do and what it takes for me to reach my goals, so he is very supportive. Even if we are in the same room working on two different projects, at least we are together on the same page. We make sure we keep the romance alive in our relationship by having date nights. They are always spontaneous and never planned, but they are always so magical and remind us why we pursued each other eight years ago.
I find balance with myself by communicating with my spirit. Asking myself questions like, "Are you happy? Are you ok? Are you wasting time or progressing on your dreams?" That helps me get a sense of self and my state of being. If I feel weird about any of the questions I ask myself, then I know it's time to visit some of the areas and find out the root causes of my discomfort.
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
I pull out my labradorite crystal and wear it. This is my go-to for any creative block I may be having. It hasn't failed me yet. Wearing or holding Labradorite helps you tap into a higher state of consciousness, therefore I can create on a higher conscious level. Uncertainty has always been a struggle for me. Always being too critical of myself and wondering if people will even like me are the thoughts that used to consume me. I had to learn to let go of fear because fear keeps you comfortable. In order to get different results, you have to do different things. So if I'm doing "fear" and it hasn't been working for me, I now have to do "brave" if I want to accomplish my goals and that's exactly what I am doing now.
What does happiness mean to you?
To me, happiness means the mind being free. What I mean by that is, letting go of all hurt and anger, practicing forgiveness daily, and being aware of anything that may have caused pain or trauma and dealing with it. Once you dive deep into yourself and let go of things hiding in your soul, you can become mentally free which leads to everlasting happiness.
"I had to learn to let go of fear because fear keeps you comfortable. In order to get different results, you have to do different things. So if I'm doing 'fear' and it hasn't been working for me, I now have to do 'brave' if I want to accomplish my goals and that's exactly what I am doing now."
What is something you think others forget when it comes to finding balance?
I think people forget to love themselves and love those around them. It's easy to get caught up and neglect yourself and the ones you love while chasing your dreams. I know because I've done it. Finding that balance is very important.
To keep up with Ashlei, follow her on Instagram @_AsheliLauren_!
Featured image courtesy of Ashlei Lauren.