STOP BEING SO DAMN HARD ON YOURSELF!
I have to admit, I have been giving myself a pretty hard time these past few weeks. I’m not sure what has brought it on, maybe it has been the threat of looming deadlines or the fact that our workload has doubled as we try to make up for the time we will be losing over the summer. Going on holiday should be a time to destress and unwind, but those of you who are self employed will know that the weeks leading up to your vacation will generally be the busiest and most stressful, sometimes you might even wonder if taking a holiday is really worth all the extra hours. Of course I know it is, but when you are in the thick of it, the feeling can really start to wear you down and that is exactly what had started to happen to me.
At one point I would have struggled to hold a conversation, I was on the verge of tears at any minute, I was snappy, irritable and really struggling to sleep. I was starting to get frustrated and disappointed with myself. I was angry that there were still things we were yet to achieve, projects that we had started working on over two years ago were still not launched, ideas we had wanted to implement months ago, still not applied, all simply because we didn’t have enough time! Something had to seriously change and quick!
For a time I was scared to voice my concerns, I was worried that people might think that I no longer enjoyed working on the blog or that I didn’t love what I do, which really wasn’t the case at all! I love this blog, it is my baby, but I felt we were plodding along rather than making a future for ourselves. I decided to take action and after talking with Jess, I realised I wasn’t alone as she was starting to struggle with it all too. We needed to take steps to reduce our workload so that we could start working on a future for our blog and for our business. That meant doing some serious analyzing and discovering what our readers really expected of us. We noticed a huge drop in readers on Fridays and Saturdays compared to the other days of the week so we decided right off the back to not post anything on those days for the time being. There was no point stressing ourselves out creating posts that weren’t going to be seen, so instead we would use those days to a.) take a break, b.) spend more time on quality posts that our readers were enjoying, such as real weddings, styled shoots, DIY’s and helpful guides and c.) start working on some of those projects we had put on the back burner for so long.
Next I needed to start some work on myself, all the stress I had been feeling, was really taking its toll on my productivity, which was something I couldn’t continue if I wanted to feel in control again. So I wrote a list, but not just any old list, it was more of a spreadsheet, with everything I would need to complete and by what deadlines, including all my email day’s, posts, DIY days and events. I cannot believe how much more productive I felt as I began ticking things off that spreadsheet, it was so satisfying. However that wasn’t going to be enough, I needed to stop with the negative thoughts too, so I started practicing ‘mindfulness’.
For those of you that haven’t heard of it, ‘mindfulness’ is when you take time out of your day to focus on the now. An example could be when you sit down to eat your evening meal, taking the time to taste every single bite you eat, noticing the texture and how your body feels at that very moment. Another example of when I would practice mindfulness is at bedtime. Taking 10-15 minutes before I dropped off to sleep, to really notice how my body felt at that moment, taking deep controlled breaths and focusing on the sounds. I have been amazed how well this has worked for me. If I find myself entering a particularly stressful situation, I now take a few minutes to time out, to breath, listen and feel.
I have also started making time for me again. For a while working all hours in the day seemed to be the only solution but it really wasn’t. In fact it was doing more harm, I wasn’t using my time wisely at all. But by having a set routine I can now allocate jobs to certain times of the day, I have started going to the gym again, which in itself is highly motivating, as well as making sure I take proper breaks and getting out of the house, even if it is only going to mum and dad’s for lunch. We laugh and joke about how much time bloggers actually spend in their pyjamas but the downside to not leaving the house for days on end, is that eventually you will start to go crazy! Well I know I did anyway.
I also needed to take stock of what we had actually achieved for our blog in the past 3 years. In amongst all my frustration and disappointment, I had forgot to be grateful for what we had. When I look back now at all we have done, the experiences we have had and the friends we have made, I am truly thankful.This was the life I had wanted for myself all those years ago and I was now living it.
So I suppose the whole point of writing this post was as a little reminder to both me and you, that by being hard on yourself, you achieve nothing apart from surrounding yourself with even stress and negativity. And hey, I’m not saying we have totally got this blogging thing down yet, because I don’t know if we ever will, but I am certain that Bespoke Bride has a very bright future.
If you do one thing today – give yourself a break!