Not so long ago, I did something that was potentially not the best move for my health and happiness, but was a winner for my bank account. I took on too much work.
Alongside running my What Emma Did business, I’m a bridal makeup artist and a freelance copywriter. The bridal makeup side of work I can control. I tend to allow 1-2 weddings a month, as I try not to let them stack up over my weekends due to working so much in the week.
The copywriter side is the one which recently got a little crazy. I’m part of three agencies, in which two have always been super manageable with realistic deadlines. The other one is very demanding, and it didn’t take me long to realise it’s a full-time job in itself.
But instead of working on reducing the workload I take on from them, or coming up with a solution, I just went full steam ahead, thoroughly enjoying the extra money my bank account was seeing. I’m self-employed, right? Us freelancers need all the extra jobs we can get.
Wrong! I was doing absolutely fine before I took on these extra work loads, and now I was squeezing in an extra six hours of work a day, on top of my usual 8 hour working days on my What Emma Did business. Not cool.
I saw the usual signs of an unhealthy lifestyle creep in. Working on my laptop at 11pm. Setting my alarm of 6am so I could squeeze in extra work before 8am. As much as it pained me to do so, I’ve now massively reduced the work so I can go back to normal. Yes, my bank account is going to hate me for it. And yes, I feel so anxious about doing so. But my gut knew the whole time it was massively unhealthy for my health and well-being. And self-care is what I want to talk about today.
I’m making a conscious effort to spend the rest of 2019 enjoying my life, having a healthy work/life balance, and reducing any stress as much as possible. If that means earning a lower income, then so be it. I can always put some plans in place towards the end of the year if I wish to make some income amendments, but that can be parked up until a later date.
They say it takes 21 days to build or break a habit. What we forget most of the time is that positive habits don’t need to be a huge life change all the time. My life change above was quite dramatic, but I’ve done it slowly.
There are so many little ways you can start to make room for ‘me time’ and focus on living healthier and taking care of your well-being. Here are 3 habits I’m completely and utterly behind:
1. Drink more water
Oh here we go, the old New Year’s resolution we set ourselves every single year, and then realise in August that we’ve completely slipped. Well this year, its been a turning point for me. I’ve been making a conscious effort to keep up with going to the gym 2-3 times a week (without pressuring myself to go more) which has helped me hugely when it comes to carrying a water bottle around with me.
Honestly, it sounds silly but invest in a good watser bottle! If you love it, you’ll enjoy drinking from it. Slip slices of cucucumber, mint leaves or lemons into the water if you just can’t stand the bland taste.
2. Invest in time-out to relax
Too many times I find myself feeling guilty for things which I genuinely enjoy doing. An example is having a two-hour lunch break with my friend in one of the Northern Quarters (Manchester!) cute cafes, ordering expensive smashed avocado on toast and drinking oat milk lattes. The truth is, I’ve enjoyed myself, I’ve caught up with a good friend and I’ve ate delicious food in one of my uplifting places. I shouldn’t feel guilty about indulging in these things (as long as I don’t do it daily!).
This has led for me to now indulge in spa days and pampering sessions more often, because after all, it’s all about looking after my body and mind. Spa days – in my opinion – are the perfect break away from your normal, busy life. They give you time to relax, treat yourself to a facial or a massage if you like, have a swim, bathe in a bubbling jacuzzi or even work out their in a gym.
I tend to bring my sister, my mum or my partner, as I feel spa days should be enjoyed with those closest to me. Going to a spa for the weekend has wonderful effects on my state of mind. I always leave feeling refreshed and revived, ready to take on a busy week of work when the Monday arrives.
Honestly, spa days shouldn’t be seen as an extravagant treat that can’t be allowed in your life. To me, they are a necessity that even if you book one just once a year, it’s a treat your body and mind needs. Look at booking an overnight stay, where you can give yourself a well-deserved lie in!
3. Create a morning and evening routine
Routines used to be something I turned my nose up at. My life is busy, and no two days are the same. How was it possible to look at routines?
Well, everyone talks about the importance of a morning routine, and now I get it. It doesn’t matter where you are. You could travel around with work, be a full time Mum or the boss of your own company. A morning routine works by starting your day with an intention and noting down tasks to accomplish, which is the same as goal-setting. When you accomplish some tasks, it feels AMAZING. Even if it isn’t every task on the list.
What many people forget about though is the importance of having an evening routine as well. Getting yourself ready for the next day ahead is a great way to plan while still staying present. Doing your skincare, reading 30 pages of a book, putting your phone away an hour before bedtime, doing the dishes — whatever it is that makes you feel prepared for the day ahead.
I always get my to-do list done the evening before, so that I don’t have to worry about waking up the next day and tackling a long list and organizing my day, while noticing it’s already approaching 10am and half the morning has gone!