15 August 2019

STEP BACK TO STEP FORWARD


^^ Image by Oscar Nord on Unsplash / Quote by Unknown on Pinterest ^^

I've had a bit of a blogging hiatus recently; not through choice, but through just having a Homer Simpson style 'monkey with cymbals' banging loudly in my brain. This post is for you if you are feeling all the stress right, overwhelm and tiredness right now.

I often write blog posts on the other side of something I have been through; today, however, I am writing this smack-bang in the middle of it, because I want to talk with real honest emotions about some things that I am feeling and going through in my head, without accidentally 'airbrushing' them in any way at all.

Yesterday I bit the bullet and went to the doctors (my pride and sheer stubbornness means this can take a while sometimes). I went because I feel like my body is turning against me. I sat in the waiting room and silently tapped away at the 'notes' section on my iPhone, listing all the symptoms I am having, before I went into the doctor; I have a tendency to get a bit anxious and forget things, so a list is helpful for me. It is important to mention here that I never just take myself to the doctor on a whim, it is usually when I really feel I need more advice, rather than a panic about something. Some of my symptoms have been going on a while and, as much as I kind of knew what she may say, I thought it best to run some of them past her.

My symptoms were listed as: extreme fatigue, frequent palpitations, dizziness, lack of concentration, the inability to balance very well (generally feeling a little bit 'out of it' coordination wise - I don't have much room for manoeuvre here because I am bloody clumsy generally!), aches and pains and weight gain for literally no reason... oh yeah, and I have had numb toes for months

Explaining all of this and feeling like I was about to turn my toes up or cry in frustration, she asked me to list out to her what my daily routine looked like... 'okay, doc', I said...

4.45am/5am - alarm goes off
6.30am - gym
8.15am - home, breakfast, shower
9.30am - drive to work
10am - work (housekeeping)
2.15pm-2.30pm - leave work
3pm - home for lunch and shower
4pm - work for business
6pm - cook and eat
7pm - work until I can keep my eyes open anymore, usually around 10.30pm-11pm.

This is the routine for every, single day of the week, except when I am not at the hotel on Mondays and Thursdays, where you can replace the 'housekeeping' section with 'business work'.

The doctor looked at me and raised her eyes. 

I have blood tests next week just to check everything, but the overall message was 'you need to slow down, you need more time where you are not doing anything at all'. She spoke to me for a while about the things that can happen as a result of lack of quality sleep, as well as the constant stress on the body from being 'on' all the time. We all know this right? But, if you're anything like me, you may think that, for some reason, you are immune to any side effects. 

I came home with my tail between my legs, feeling emotionally drained, tired and, of course, with all the symptoms I listed having a field day throughout my body - oh joy! As I hung some washing out, I played the first podcast on my 'to listen to' column and was hit with 'The Freelance Fix' episode, titled 'Morning and evening routines'. Within the first few minutes of the episode there was talk of the importance of slowing down and getting good quality sleep so our bodies and brains can restore.

Did you know that lack of quality sleep can result in:

mood swings
anxiety
depression
micro sleeping (where you fall asleep without realising)
weight gain
low immune system
increased risk of type 2 diabetes
cardiovascular and blood pressure risks
(and may other things too) 

If I am honest, I knew 85% of this already, but to have two people in the space of an hour push it in your face I figured I had better snap out of it.



I think one of the hardest things (for me anyway) is trusting that by taking a step back I will get results, because it seems like I will just be quitting. But I have honestly never felt so exhausted and so all over the place; my ability to function seems to be dwindling away and we all know that burn out is real, so there are no options but to change things right?

Can anyone relate to any of this so far?

So, a plan has to be made and that is something that I will be sitting down to look at this evening. I am going to be looking at my training routine, to make sure that sessions are not as intense and stressful for my body the entire duration I am in the gym. I will also be trying to find some kind of routine and structure for knowing when my work day ends, a way of closing things down for the day that, with a 9-5, would be as simple as walking out the office and going home.

Creating space for me again will mean beach walks, sunsets, cups of tea outside, walking, and being still, instead of the constant rush from task to task, which is totally unproductive as I am too tired to do anything properly. There must be other ways and I am determined to find a way that works for me.

For now, I will call this blog post 'part one' and I will keep you updated of changes as I make them and how I am feeling because I know I am not the only one going through this! There are so many of us, and we all need to find better ways of doing things. 

If you resonate with this in any way please comment because I feel like we can help each other.

Here's to a more productive, less time-hungry and mentally/physically draining week ahead!

Let's do this!
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4 August 2019

WEEKLY GRATITUDE


^^ This little bear is everything in the world to me! ^^

Hey my loves, I am still alive, despite failing to post anything for the last two Wednesdays and only managing to post my 'Sunday post' on a Monday (insert crazy faced emoji here!). I’m going to have to ask you to forgive me for my sporadic posts for about another week or two; I have so much work on with Leaf Lane Studio that I am somewhat lacking in time for anything else right now, which is beyond ideal because this space means the world to me. There is one specific project I’m doing that, once I have that sent to the client, will mean I am much more free to carry on doing other things again, so bear with me!

PS: I usually link in the weekly vlog with this post, but it is still in its early edit right now, so hang fire, it won't be long!

Let’s leap right on in to today’s weekly gratitude list shall we?

:: It’s funny how in the midst of one of the busiest times ever I feel at my most alive, despite the fact that I can barely stay awake, feel like I’m dragging myself about and like I can’t string a sentence together. But what I am feeling is like my hard work is paying off. Obviously the way I’m feeling is far from ideal but that only stems from the fact that I have a part time job going on as well, which also happens to peak during the summer season in terms of how much energy it requires to do that job! But I am aware it is only a temporary feeling of tiredness and am doing all I can to ensure that I am looking after myself to my best ability until everything settles back down again. I am super grateful for all the opportunities that are showing up for me right now, they feel so good and I am excited to push them all forward.

:: The one, slightly negative aspect of all of this craziness right now, is that it is easy to have a tunnel vision away from all the meaningful things in life, the things that keep me calm and relaxed every single day. This week I was forced out of my 'busy brain' whilst training at the gym. I was upstairs on the cardio equipment, when I suddenly snapped out of my business related thoughts and realised I could smell the sea. Not mind blowing particularly, because my gym is a stones throw away from the coast line, but I hadn’t stopped to take it in for so long that it suddenly knocked me off my feet to become aware of it again. I felt annoyed with myself for allowing life to blur out the things that really matter to me in this world. When I left the gym and head to the shop to pick up some food, I stood in the car park and just took some deep breaths and reminded myself how lucky I am to be able to smell the fresh ocean air and to be seconds away from it most of the time. I am so grateful for that, and I won’t be letting myself get that wrapped up in life again in a a hurry. 

 ^^ Cornwall in the sun is the best ^^

:: Following on from the first two points, I have mentioned before that I want to take regular trips out to have a ‘meeting with myself’ for the blog and business, but I still haven’t actually been able to fit that in. This busy period has really shown me how important that kind of time will be, and so, once that project has been emailed to the client, which should be in the next two to three days, I am going to schedule a morning or an afternoon a week (or even just a couple of hours after work one day) to take myself somewhere and just reflect, plan or scribble down some ideas (or simply draw if I’m tired!). I’d like to get myself to some pretty coastal places locally that I can walk, take photos and stop for a while and sit. I have missed that time alone in nature over the last month or two. I hadn’t realised how much I needed it; I have become far to familiar with the house!

:: Stepping away from the heavier subjects and onto a slightly random one, caffeine. I am a tea drinker through and through; having tried coffee over the years in various ways, I just never took to it at all, despite loving the smell of it soooo much! Recently, for some unknown reason (and before anyone jumps to conclusions here, no, I’m not pregnant!) I woke up craving an iced coffee, yes, specifically an iced coffee! So, off I went to get myself my first ever iced coffee and spied a ‘salted caramel iced latte’, and it wasn’t terrible! Obviously the sugar content isn’t ideal but I’m not making a regular habit of having these, it was just a nice change and, my goodness, it really woke me up!


^^ I love my new 'Over thinking and also hungry' tshirt from Shein ^^

:: I got myself a few new tshirts this week from the brand Shein, which I hadn't heard of until they popped up in my Instagram. I wanted some basic, cotton tees to wear training or just around the house when I'm working, and I didn't want to pay a fortune either, because I will be making a mess with paints or, quite inevitably, getting Gizmos claws stuck in them (like every God damn thing I own!). These tops were so affordable and I have no complaints about them; all I will say is do your research on sizing, because they come up small. I had already read reviews so I managed to order the right sizes for me! I am super happy with all three; I have the 'Overthinking and also hungry' one, which is me through and through, 'UM - the element of confusion', which I thought was hilarious and a cute sunset print one too, I love them all!

:: I am really into listening to audiobooks whilst I do the cardio-slog at the gym, and have just downloaded a book I have wanted to read for a long time, The Salt Path, by Raynor Winn, a book about Raynor, and her husband Moth's, journey along the South West coast path, after finding out he had a terminal illness. I will keep you posted on what I think as I get into it, but I feel like it will be one of those deep, thought provoking reads that will make me cry (at least I can say it is sweat from the cardio right?). If you have read it, or listened of course, let me know what your thoughts are, did you like it?

:: All my new products are now ready to go on sale in my shop, I just have to photograph them all this coming week, and they should all go up by Friday! You can expect a sticker, cards and a tear-off note pad too, all to go with the to-do list I released a couple of weeks back! I am planning a couple of Christmas releases too, which won't necessarily be Christmas in theme, but will be out ready for you to buy them as stocking fillers for all your friends (of which there are hundreds right?!)... pushy sales woman alert! I can't wait to start working on all my new ideas!

Thank you so much for reading todays post. I won't promise a Wednesday post as yet but I am positive there will be one, and hopefully a vlog too! Stay tuned as always and thank you so much for sticking around, I honestly appreciate each and every one of you.

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