Being busy and stressed is not cool, not fun and should not be the norm. It's so easy, especially in London, to accept being busy and stressed as normal - but that's not OK.
My day job has been unbearable recently, power plays and politics have left me bewildered, vulnerable and crying on the tube to work. This follows months of work being busy, hard and requiring more than my contracted 9-5. Add this to setting up a company in my free time and you've got one busy and stressed woman.
The first things I cut back on were the nice things like seeing friends and weekends away, then it was the healthy things like exercise and cooking at home and then finally, and admittedly not intentionally, sleep. It was only two weeks ago that I looked at my pale, bloated, scruffy self and realised I had gone seriously wrong. I work in fashion and love beauty - it was not OK that I looked and felt like a downgraded version of myself. Not to mention I couldn't think clearly and hadn't gone a day without crying in weeks.
I'm a hard working and disciplined person and I was not impressed with myself - I challenged myself to get a grip.
First step was deleting work emails from my phone, next step was to decline all meetings not held between 9-5, third step was to get a haircut. The first two steps were very hard, the third much more fun but just as necessary. A couple of days after these changes I was starting to feel like myself again, I was relaxing after work (thanks to no emails) and so was sleeping again and my new haircut inspired me to revisit my wardrobe and stop wearing the same three dresses.
Finally, after the above, I had just enough energy to arrange some time with friends and so last weekend I caught up with old friends, met up with new ones and relaxed with friends so close they're practically family and finally, after months, I began to laugh again.
This might all sound so simple, but I can't explain my surprise at the restorative effect of creating a little head space and time with good friends. I know, I should have known! I'm sure you know this all already but in case you don't please learn from my mistakes and book in a couple of the below for the next week:
- Phone free nights
- Sunday brunch with family
- Yoga class
- Evening in with a home cooked meal
- Lazy morning with a good book
Even better if you can do all of the above in a week. Life is just too short to spend it thinking "things will get better" - they wont unless you make them.