I’ve been feeling a little stuck in a rut over the past few months. There’s been a lot going on and time is moving at a pace that is difficult to keep up with. We’re approaching the end of October and this year has been a bit of a blur at times to be frank. There’s been extreme highs and some deep lows but there’s still time to turn things around and end the year on a positive note.
Most of the challenges faced this year have been out with my control and inevitably there is little that can be done to avoid the stress and strains that go along with it. Over time it’s hard not to let things get on top of you however sometimes it’s in these moments when you realise change is required. It might be a very small change or it might be something bold or something to consider in the longer term however if it’s going to help get you out of the current status quo then it’s worthwhile.
I wanted to share some of the changes I’ve made in recent weeks and months which are already having a positive impact in case anyone else is in the same or a similar position.
A very small and change but don’t underestimate the difference it can make. I have always been precious about my hair and I don’t enjoy a visit to the hairdressers even when I’m only getting the tiniest trim. I had been thinking about going for a more drastic cut for a while, I’ve also been considering getting some highlights too but I didn’t want to get ahead of myself all at once. I went for the cut first and after coming to terms with it I can deal with the colour later.
I know I said drastic and you’re probably thinking there is absolutely nada drastic about the style of my hair however when 1cm of a chop feels like too much, getting 3 or 4 inches off is a big deal. Having fine hair often makes you think length will help with volume however my hair was desperately in need of some TLC and if I had gone with my usual tiny trim, I’d have ended up in the exact same situation 2 or 3 months down the line. Getting a decent amount off has totally transformed my hair and it looks and feels thicker than ever. I can’t believe the volume and I’ve included the before and after picture to show the difference.
All in all it was totally worthwhile and didn’t take much getting used to. It’s also slightly less maintenance as the volume gives much needed weight which naturally helps with styling.
Up until early September I was working 8:30am – 4:30pm Monday to Friday. After work I help look after my twin nieces anywhere from 3 – 5 days per week which means being there from 5pm – 10pm some nights and doing the dinner, bath and bed routine. We often help out on weekends as well due to the nature of my brother and sister in laws businesses.
In between all of that I have continued to publish 3 blog posts per week which involves a lot of planning, preparation, time but mostly energy. Ultimately something had to give and I could have easily given up on my blog or reduced my content to one post per week however I have put so much into this creative space over the last 5 years that I’m not ready to quit, especially as it’s something I enjoy.
In the end I decided to review my working hours and work a compressed 4 day week. I reduced my hours slightly to 32 hours over 4 days with a 30 minute lunch break. This gives me a Friday off which is absolutely wonderful. At first I was slightly concerned that the extra day would quickly get swallowed up with day to day stuff like appointments and I wouldn’t get the full benefit of it. At the beginning I did schedule some appointments which I had struggled to find time for otherwise however I also treated myself to a spa day and a few 4 hour long afternoon naps, which were clearly very much needed.
Now a month down the line I’m really seeing the positive impact this change has had on my health and wellbeing. I make a list for each Friday to ensure I get the most out of the day and it’s allowing me to be more strategic with my blog content too. I can plan things and have more time to be creative naturally rather than forcing it in the very small windows of opportunity late at night or at the weekend whilst trying to juggle everything else.
I touched on the impact working slightly less hours has had however I’d say my health is one of the biggest areas where change is still required and it’s more of a longer term plan rather than a quick fix. I’ve got a health condition which has been severe for the majority of this year. It’s something I’ve had since I was about 17 or 18 however it’s been manageable for the last 6 or 7 years. At the beginning of the year it flared up again and without going into any detail it’s now at the stage where it’s impacting on all aspects of my life and I’ve tried as much as possible to continue as normal and not let it get the better of me however physically it has taken over and I know something has to change as everything I’ve tried so far is simply not working. After my trip to Milan in February I went straight to my doctor in desperate need of advice as to how to manage it better.
There are a few options which I’m going through at the moment including medication, CBT and dietary changes. I went through a phase at 18 or 19 where I cut all gluten, dairy, wheat and other things out of my diet which did actually work but made for a miserable existence to be perfectly honest. I became obsessed with checking every ingredient on packaging and eating out was an absolute no go. The route I’m being advised to go down is a very similar path and I’ve been reluctant up until now to go ahead with it however having tried everything else possible it’s inevitable I’m going to have to give it a go if I want to see any kind of improvement or at least identify the problem areas which may not result in a complete cull of specific foods in the longer term. I think the most frustrating thing is that I’ve been able to manage it without any problems for a significant amount of time and there are certain foods I really enjoy which I don’t want to give up as I know I have been able to tolerate them previously. Anyway as I said something needs to change and I’ve not got any more travels for the next 3 months apart from a few work trips which I’m trying to cut down on as it is going to be difficult enough without the challenge of not being in control of what I’m eating and the added fatigue from long days.
I hope you enjoyed this slightly more personal post.