Lifestyle- So Let's Make Time Work For Us.

We've all heard the term "work-life balance" more than enough times and to be honest it used to kind of make my eyes roll a little. It's often a subject we see in glossy magazines, "how to create the perfect work-life balance", the joys and the importance of it. I used to think this wasn't a difficult concept to get your head around. I'd come home from work and I'd switch off. I'd have the down time I needed and my weekends were strictly my own. As the years have gone by that balance has slowly but surely become off kilter and what was once easily done, is now a impossible task.

The fact of the matter is I never stop working. The irony of it all is, I started blogging because I was unhappy in my job at the time. My blog grew and it became a job in itself... Which albeit was always the goal, but now I find myself in a compromising position. See you I've long since left that job I was more then obliging to switch off from as soon as I stepped out of the office door. I now work for a company I love, with a team I adore! I care in equal measures about both my blog and my "9 to 5" job and this lovely position to be in has become the demise of MY own down time. I go to work all day, I come home and I work on my blog. Emails are taking over my life to put it bluntly. At weekend's I shoot and I write. That used to be the perfect set up! But now as it all seems to be hotting up with my blog, I psychically can't keep up. You know when your mum used to say "there aren't enough hours in the day"... Yeh she wasn't kidding.

So for the past few months now I've been trying to keep up with work- not life- just work and only by the skin of my teeth. But because I loved both my jobs so much, this never felt like a sacrifice (again, I'm well aware this is such a lovely/lucky position to be in) and I did it without question. Until recently, dun DUN DUUUUN... You see without completely patronising you, I think we are all in agreement that enough stress and enough pressure in your life is like a simmering pot and if it keeps building up and building up, it will eventually boil over. With or without your control. This analogy effectively sums up how I feel right now. I'm at boiling point. 

I was putting more and more pressure on myself. I was continuously telling myself I could do this and I had it all under control to the point that when I didn't, I almost criticised myself for it. You are only one person and there is truly only so much you can do. It reached a point only a couple of weeks ago when enough was enough. I'd been travelling here, there and everywhere. You'd have been mistaken for thinking Planes, Trains and Automobiles was a biopic of my life. I was still answering emails and working away all the while, train by train. I'd find myself up until the early hours typing away and then I'd be up at 7am the next day ready for work. FYI, you know that whole idea about needing eight hours sleep? I learned the hard way- that's an actual thing. So after about a month or so of none stop madness, I woke up at 5am one morning ready to get the train down to London for a shoot and whilst on the train I started to answer emails... Because remember at this point emails are life. I had this really weird feeling at the back of my mind, something wasn't right.

My boyfriend had been telling me that for the past few weeks I'd not been my normal self and on this particular day travelling down to London, he was super honest with me and told me I was, for want of a better term, being kind of a massive bitch... Ouch. To be fair, he had a point I'd spent the last few weeks under a lot of pressure and was a tad touchy to say the least. Subsequently I'd taken it out on the one person closest to me and unfortunately that was my boyfriend. I was snap, snap, snappy central. So anyway... back to the story... My boyfriend delivered me a nice slice of home truth and all the while I'll trying to concentrate on emails and contracts and shuffling my calendar around. I hop off the train and rush to my shoot with Joe's words looming over me like Manchester rain clouds. I do my shoot, continuing to be Mrs "I'm So Happy, Life Is Good" (again I'm not being to patronise you with the facade that can sometimes be social media, but needless to say good is NOT always good just because Instagram tells you it is) whilst simultaneously going over in my head a million things I need to do when I get home and the guilt I felt towards my poor boyfriend. I leave the shoot and I rush quickly back to Euston to get my train home and what happens? My body decides it's hit a brick wall and I have a panic attack. Yay, excellent!! That's just what I need right now, let me check my diary to see if I'd had that pencilled in...

Memo to me: Work-life balance is ACTUALLY important. In hindsight the panic attack was inevitable and like that simmering pot, it was just waiting to boil over at any point. More over, it scared the SHIT out of me (excuse my french). Please understand, that as a rule I'm not necessarily an anxious person, I can be a little bit of a crank (sorry Joe) but for all intents and purposes I'm pretty steady. I've experienced anxiety very closely within my family but it's something I've been very lucky to not have to deal with personally, so to start having panic attacks is a daunting prospect to me and raised one hell of an alarm. I feel like I opened the flood gates and the past few weeks have been a little challenging to say the least. Something has to give. 

I really, really don't want to start harping on to you about the importance of "me" time because I know we've all heard it before but if I'm anything to go by, I worry that for a lot of people this concept goes in one ear and out the other. So at the the risk of contradicting myself within the same breath... I'm here to tell you, "You" time isn't just important, it's absolutely necessary. You are only one person and you're doing the best you can. I think sometimes we can get a little addicted to having complete 100% control over our lives when every now and then you have GOT to sit back and let it roll. I know it's so difficult to let go of the reins but lets all be reminded that we are working to live, not living to work (I know another eye roll inducing motivational concept). I say this with complete hesitation because the stigma of it still makes me cringe BUT work-life balance is imperative and I'm certainly warming to the idea of it. It's so easy for work/education to feel like the be all and end all, it can get on top of you without you ever even realising. I'm not saying every evening, leave work at 5pm and do NOT give it another moments thought to it until 9am the next morning, it doesn't work like that. But just make a conscious effort to set time aside for you and your piece of mind. 

I know I should really practise what I preach here and it's definitely a learning curve for me but I'm getting there. I've made conscious decisions within my life to make the balance more even. Unfortunately compromises had to be made and so I'm cutting down my hours at work with the hope that maybe I can actually devote my week days evenly between both jobs and have the weekend for me. I'm learning to switch off when pressure gets a little too much and I can feel myself taking it to heart. No one will die if you don't answer an email until the following morning. I promise you. Most things can wait in priority of you and your own sense of well being. I used to be such a film geek. I used to love a Sunday in with a brew and a pile of magazines or getting far too engrossed in a book and somewhere along the line I lost that through being too preoccupied. I'm slowly making the conscious effort to go back to that. I making myself read at night... "Making" is probably to the wrong term, as it's something I want to do but I'd just forgotten that I did. If that makes sense? I'm having PJ days when I want PJ days, because you know what? It's a Sunday and I've earned it. I'm learning to put my phone away for the love of God. The fear of missing out should not apply to Instagram. I'm learning to actually spend time with my boyfriend and not just be in each others company but actually value it. And most importantly, taking time away from work is ironically helping me to remember why I love doing what I do in the first place. Instead of feeling like I've GOT to do this, I've remembered that I actually WANT to do it. Remember  the other week when I was talking about how hard I'd work to be where I was? I'm not about to start resenting that!

Everything I type out about "me" time, I find myself deleting because it either sounds to cliche and cheesy or incredibly condescending! But maybe that's because the notion of "me" time is so blindly obvious we shouldn't have to remind each other to enjoy it. A cliche is a cliche for a reason. So at the risk of sounding like a MASSIVE cornball... Step back and be you. For like an hour at least once a day. Go meet your friend for a coffee and a moan (and cake, lots of cake), go shopping not because you necessarily need something but because you fancy a little browse, go to yoga, the gym or on a run, go on a walk, put your headphones in and listen to your favourite band, go sit in a quiet room and get stuck into your favourite magazine oooor nosey at your favourite blogger/vlogger... Not to self promote but my blog is always open to you and your "me" time. In some ways I'm thankful I hit boiling point because it made me go back to basics and remind myself that my life should be about me a little more. I'm not saying I'm suddenly a whole new person and switching off is a breeze but I'm getting there. I'm learning to back off every so often and I'm more than happy to do so...

She says typing away at this post on a Sunday.

Sophia x 

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