This post popped into my head as I commented on my chum Donna’s Facebook status this morning, after she’d said ‘I’m very blessed in my life, so (this thing we were chatting about) can’t be caused by stress’.
I’ve thought this for years.
(It has tripped me up big time!)
When I changed my life from blah to bliss, after 10 years of not following my calling, I assumed that I’d arrived at a place where I wouldn’t be stressed out, grumpy, unfit, lonely or feel bad ever again.
It does not work that way.
I’ve already blogged about how my life she ain’t perfect, after getting a little tired of the positivity police out there, selling you the dream on the basis that their own life was a nonstop ride of fairydust and happy times.
I don’t ever, ever follow a teacher who says their life is easy, perfect, stress-free AND meaningful. I don’t buy that BS, sorry!
News flash: A blessed life can be a stressed life.
Sometimes (OK, often) I have even more stress than I had before.
The working-for-somebody-else job that I wasn’t all that emotionally or creatively fulfilled by was, to a large extent, pretty stress free. I didn’t have the financial responsibility for two companies, for a start. No crew to manage, no men in suits asking for the manager and realising that’s me – and my hours were much, much shorter.
I was bored, which stressed me sometimes, but overall there were few external stresses.
Once I was running The Art House, and even before that, following my dream brought a large amount of stress.
I was enjoying myself, so I kept going and ignored the signals.
The results were (are) not pretty when I pretend I am not stressed and keep going.
This blog post is my word of warning to creative beings who are setting out to make their dreams reality.
Remember, you still need to take time out. You need to take good care of yourself, as you won’t have a manager checking that you’re OK. You will need to appreciate yourself all the time, as you won’t have a boss saying ‘good job’ – and we all need that.
Here are some tips for a blessed-and-less-stressy life:-
1) Schedule non-negotiable time off
My ideal is one day a week. I am not there yet – I manage an afternoon & evening at the moment. Go offline, switch off the phone, step away from that work you love and goof off for a few hours. You need it.
2) Ask for and Accept help
You don’t have to do everything yourself. Ask for help if you need it, and don’t feel any shame at all for getting the support you need. I went through agonies just for hiring a cleaning firm to spring clean my house, for under £100. Don’t do that to yourself.
Very often, when you are a super-capable entrepreneurial type, people will assume that you don’t need or want help. Be aware of this and ASK.
I feel another blog post coming on where I ask for help. Watch this space.
3) Plan, plan, plan
A planned life is a considerably more focussed, less stressy life. Take half an hour at the start of the day to plan what you are doing. Meet up with your colleagues or team and plan things.
Creative people are super resistant to structure and planning, so remember: you can change plans. Plans do not need to look like lists, or spreadsheets, or diary pages. Come on my Follow the Butterflies eCourse to learn about planning with flowers!
4) Budget for self care
Before you think you can afford it. Because you are never going to think you can afford it.
Whatever works for you.
Some people like massages or a spa day, some prefer a manicure or watching a good film.
My favourite self care items and activities are: bath bombs, my Yogaglo membership (yes I do the classes too – I find this helps!), massages, walks, feelgood films, proper afternoon teas.
Set aside money for treats and pampering – you need it.
PS – Self care does not only mean healthy things that make you lose weight. Cake is self care. Too many people turn self care into just another pressure to improve.
5) Be open to, and OK to ask for, glorious praise for your awesomeness
Like I said, in a ‘proper’ job you will, with any luck, have a boss who praises a job well done. Working for yourself, you won’t.
Ask your clients for feedback and don’t be ashamed to wallow in praise. It’s important.
6) Eating and sleeping (and breathing) are quite important.
Don’t laugh. I forget to eat regularly, breathe properly and sleep enough ALL THE TIME. Whatever you have to do to remind yourself to do this, do it.
Speaking of which, my breakfast alarm just went off! Bye!