Staying healthy isn’t just about keeping fit and eating well. Looking after your mental wellbeing is paramount in leading a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Bohemian Traders Blouse | ASOS Jeans
Photography: Ryan Ammon
As you are probably now very well aware, Adelle, Emily, Jenelle and I launched our latest venture, Fit Club Perth, on Monday (Insta-spam definitely occurred so I am sure you couldn’t have missed it). The response we have had to our initiative that aims to promote fun, happy and healthy lifestyles has been overwhelming to say the least! It is exciting to see so much enthusiasm out there! With a lot of media focus being put on the physical aspects of leading such lifestyles – exercising, eating well, getting out of the house etc – we sometimes forget the importance of keeping our minds active and healthy too. Myself and the other girls at Fit Club Perth have quite a holistic view on what it means to ‘be healthy’, taking into account the importance of the mental and social aspects of wellbeing, as well as the more obvious physical factors.
It is this mental and social aspect that I wanted to dive a little deeper into today.
In the more recent months, things have started to get extremely hectic around here. Opportunities are coming in thick and fast, content creation is becoming more involved and the time I get to spend on admin and ‘life admin’ is quickly diminishing. Sometimes I even find myself fretting that I don’t get a full 8hr work day by my laptop before I have to head out to appointments or events. 6.00am starts are nothing unusual to me (keeping up with the Eastern states demands these things sometimes!), and I don’t usually get home until at least 8.00pm. The expectations I have of myself are pretty high, therefore I put a lot of pressure on myself. If the newly developing bags under my eyes don’t tell the tale of exhaustion, it is probably the goofy delirium I enter into when my body has just had enough for the day.
After having a few people point out said bags and exhaustion, as well as too many reminders to stop, slow down and take time to myself, I have started to look more closely at maintaining a happy work-life balance. For people in a standard 9-5, going home generally means leaving work at the office and spending the evening at your leisure. For people with slightly different routines, especially those who work for themselves, that routine is often non-existent (yes, I am guilty of working until 12.00am!). Since I have made the choice to spend more time with a certain someone (shhhhh!!! I haven’t ‘seen’ someone in a very long time!), and with a little pledge made between all of us Fit Club Perth girls (we all need a little down time!), I have started to force some habits on myself to keep my mental health in check and avoid burn out. I strongly suggest that, if you are finding the work-life balance is a little ‘unbalanced’, you try a few of the following things that have helped me regain a little more balance in my life.
Schedule a full day to yourself
This one is hard. Oh my gosh it is hard. I still struggle with the concept of spending a full day without doing any work, but my recent road trip south for the #volvoblogger drive taught me a few things. As I spent the majority of my days behind the wheel, catching up with family and just taking in the beautiful surrounds (admittedly, the photo taking was actually work related, but totally stress free), I barely even had the chance to pick up my phone. I was so engulfed by the day’s activities that I didn’t even think about emails or work once. The ‘me’ time shouldn’t cause a case of the guilts, instead you should be excited to tuck into work the next day.
Give yourself time limits
I now have a curfew when I have a night in. Spending more time with a certain someone has been a blessing in so many different ways, and one of those many blessings is that I now limit how much work I allow myself to do. If I am working at home, I set myself a time by which I have to have the laptop away, and all my attention focussed on spending time together. It doesn’t matter what I have got through and what I haven’t, my curfew is my curfew. Not only does this help me to unwind and relax for the evening, but it also forces me to prioritise my work and get the most pressing things out of the way first, no matter how boring or tedious the task is – and of course it forces quality time spent together.
Allow yourself a little luxury each day
I have learned to stop feeling guilty for scheduling in a coffee date in the morning, or for taking a drive to the beach just to sit and breathe, or even for spending an extra 30 minutes in the supermarket checking out all of the different gluten free biscuits you can buy. It is common knowledge that productivity drops when you don’t allow yourself a break, so pushing through hours upon hours of work because you feel guilty for breaking makes no sense. You may spend an hour away from work, but if it means being more productive in the end it is well worth it!
Learn the difference between living in an instant world and having to be instant
Living in a world of emails, social media, instant messaging and smart phones means everything is so much more accessible and instant. I got myself into a habit of responding to every email that came through as soon as it hit my inbox. That was unhealthy. Learning to separate the instantness of emails or a call to someone’s mobile phone from the need to respond or act immediately has been so important to me. If the request isn’t urgent, don’t feel as though you have to respond to it right then and there.
Just making a few of these little changes in my life has made an immense difference. I am happier, I feel less burdened, and I feel as though I am more in control of what I have to get done each day. Learning to not feel guilty for looking after your mental state isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do, but it is just as imperative as looking after your physical wellbeing. So here is to work-life balance and taking a positive step towards a healthy lifestyle!