Image sourced via Pintrest
It was the one piece of advice I didn't receive when I started out with my fashion label HUX.
I had a lot of, 'throw yourself into it' and 'hard work pays off' and all the other generic spiel you hear. Actually you needn't listen to that kind of advice because working hard will come naturally because of your hunger to succeed.
What won't come naturally is stopping.
As many of you know, having your own business means working all and any hours. There really is no end or beginning, it's when you decide you should start and stop.
In my first year of running HUX I didn't have any boundaries. I would be working in bed with my laptop until the early hours of the morning, snacking on some carb-sugar-combo-nonsense, punishing myself to stay awake and frantically trying to figure everything out as fast as I possibly could. I had no real work-life balance. As a result it took it's toll on my health - both mentally and physically. I was constantly tired and falling sick every couple of weeks. Then I would be angry at myself for not being able to function effectively 100% of the time. How could I get sick when I had so much stuff to do!?
Image sourced via Pintrest
I didn't realise at the time that the problem wasn't not doing enough or being resilient enough to my own pressure. The problem was I wasn't caring for myself properly.
If you let yourself descend to that state, you'll be absolutely no use to anyone, let alone capable of running a business to the best of your ability.
Caffeine can only help you so much. When that crash comes you need to listen to your body and start to craft out more time for yourself. Hopefully you'll read this and factor in that time before you even have a crash.. but to be honest sometimes burning out is exactly what you need to learn and put everything in perspective.
In December I made a a resolution to put myself first.
It's a phrase you often hear, but I didn't realise what it meant until now.
Having learnt the hard way, how frazzled and utterly useless 2016 had made me, I decided that 2018 would be about doing more of the things I love every single day and putting my mental and physical health as my priority.
To celebrate this new revelation I decided to jerk my mind into focussing on me, rather than tax returns, by planning a two day trip from KL to Melaka with my partner. It was in the diary.. for the next day. During this time I decided to completely switch off from all social media. I deleted all my social apps and made a conscious effort to be present. It made a world of difference, just getting some proper head space. I didn't reinstall the apps after I realised the impact they had on me - being constantly available to the world is not healthy (but more on that another time).
I felt more in control again.
Image by HUX
Melaka is absolutely beautiful by the way. I spent my time eating my way down Jonker Street and discovering small alleys filled with beautiful doors and buildings. Man do I love photographing doors. Oh and plants.
Image by HUX
Crafting out time can mean different things to different people. You might not be in a financial or flexible position to go on holiday, or even have a whole day off to yourself. Maybe you could schedule in an hour of leisure reading and tea instead? Maybe you spend some time wandering around taking photos, or run a hot bath to unwind? Maybe you meditate, or go for a long walk? I've found that spending more time outdoors has been crucial to maintaining mental clarity (again, more on that another time).
Image sourced via thedecorationist.com
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you're getting enough of it every single week and that it's something you genuinely enjoy. It should feel like your time to escape from the world and just be with yourself. I would highlight here that it's good to spend this time totally alone, as opposed to with your partner or kids.
I now know that I need about 45 minutes to an hour every day doing something I love. As i've mentioned before, I'm currently living in KL, so I might spend an hour swimming, or drinking some herbal tea in the sun. Sometimes I even love just lying down and listening to some music.
Not only has it changed my mood and way I view down time, but also it's made those hours I do work much more productive. I have less time so I do more. Parkinson's Law! My favourite law of all.
I'd love to hear what you think. What do you do to make sure you get enough time for yourself? Leave me a comment in the comments below or reach out via instagram or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org