Being a freelancer, I find myself working tirelessly through the night at times, and I find it very difficult to pull myself away from work, especially and my work space and relaxing space aren’t just the same house, but the same room. A few weeks ago whilst I was in the midst of client work I found myself with the symptoms of a burnout; fatigue, a lack of motivation, a crap attitude towards work and it was if someone had slammed the breaks on in terms of how fast I could get work done without distractions. I had noticed this for a few weeks and the day I struggled the most was a Thursday. Obviously, it’s not always possible to take a day off on a Thursday due to deadlines etc, however, I have started a new routine which I have named ‘Self Care Thursday’ and what a better time to share with you all than Mental Health Awareness Week!
The first Thursday I attempted to look after myself and put work second, I really didn’t know what to do with myself. Over the years I have bought so many self care items from craft kits to face masks and journals to candles, my room is currently overrun with ideas and I was frankly a little overwhelmed. I ended up spending the day watching films, eating fresh popcorn and cuddling with my dog on the sofa. It felt like the perfect day and from then on out I vowed to take a day for myself every week, and naming it felt like the perfect way for me to remember to take that time out.
Whilst today I do have a couple of phone calls to make and an email or two to send, I will not be fully delving into my work, which is also helpful as I have had tonnes of meetings this week! It’s 10am and I have already rearranged my makeup station, lit one of my favourite candles and put on my happiness playlist. Later on, I will write in my positivity journal, put on a hydrating sheet mask and possibly meditate, or spend some time reading. Even after just a little bit of cleaning and smelling one of my favourite scents, I feel so much more relaxed than I did when I woke up thinking about my to do list.
I understand that it will not always be possible for me to do this, however, as a freelancer I feel so much pressure to work every second I can in order to win new clients or impress the clients I have that I often forget why I left the 9-5 life in the first place. I was getting burnt out at least once a month. It was a huge impact on my mental health and I became quite ill a number of times from feeling the pressure to perform and stay late and ensure the company or agency were proud of me. I was such a sucker for the word ‘promotion’, all I wanted was to be recognised for my work, and I therefore worked much harder. Don’t get me wrong, I work so hard as a freelancer, if not harder, but I work hard under my terms. I don’t need to accept projects which don’t excite me whereas if I had refused work previously I would have probably found myself being fired more than I was.
If you’re looking to partake in Self Care Thurdays yourself, firstly, let me know – I want to start a workplace revolution, and secondly, there are no rules. It seems to me than many people think self care is throwing on a face mask and sitting in a bath, and yes, that may be the ideal self care for some of you, but not for everyone. Self care is all about doing what you love and enjoy and what relaxes you the most. Some people may like spending the day in the kitchen, others may want to get out and have a wander around a local park or a garden centre. If you can, spending time with friends and family also helps a lot and I am so lucky that I have family who sometimes don’t work on a Thursday and friends who are currently off work on maternity leave so should I feel like leaving the house I almost always have company. If you struggle with your mental health like I do, I would always recommend having some sort of journal on stand by. I’ll do a post soon about my favourites, but there are a few I have my eye on and a few I already own, my favourite at the moment being my positivity and self congratulatory journal which was a lovely gift from my mum.
Please please let me know if you plan on getting involved in Self Care Thursday! I’d love to hear about what you do to look after yourself mentally – you may even give me some ideas on how to spend my days off. Leave a comment below with your favourite way to wind down!