At the halfway point of the year I have found myself reflecting on the last six months. At the beginning of January, when everything was feeling fresh and exciting with lots of new possibilities, I set just a single goal. Hitting the ground running I threw myself into making it happen, and so far it has. Unfortunately, the quest to achieve has started to have a detrimental impact in an unexpected way, and so I have decided to make a few changes.
I love my job. Genuinely. I love, love, love it. I get to work with fascinating people, learn new things and don’t have the confines of working for someone else. I don’t have a daily commute, my schedule is my own and I can take time off to suit my own lifestyle.
At least, that’s how it should be.
The problem with working in social media, working from home and being self-employed in a profession that I really enjoy is that it has the potential to become all consuming. I hated teaching so much that this job has never actually felt like work in comparison – I wake up most mornings feeling excited to start the day and I get a real kick out of working through my checklist, ticking off the boxes, planning content, scheduling ahead and having positive conversations with clients. It’s just so much fun.
During covid this was fine – there was nothing else to do as we weren’t allowed to leave our homes – but while things have now returned to some semblance of normality (ish), the mindset I developed during the 18 months of varying levels of lockdown hasn’t really adapted to this new normal. It’s work, all day, every day, including in the early mornings, late evenings and weekends. Social media is known for its addictive nature, so imagine being responsible for a whole bunch of social media accounts that you care about as much as you do your own. When a client campaign does particularly well, I am as excited about it as when a blog post of my own takes off – I check everything repeatedly and watch as the numbers grow. One of the (many) reasons why I quit teaching was that the working hours were horrendous, and I realised recently that I’m now actually working even more hours than I was then.
This is all my own fault – the lack of boundaries and my working schedule has been entirely self-imposed. I live in a little bubble because it is comfortable, and what I have noticed over the last few months is that the times when I step out of that bubble, I am left feeling exhausted. It’s almost a shock to the system that takes a few days to recover from, and because I am so tired I avoid doing things that used to bring me joy because it feels like a chore, like arranging to meet up with friends, taking myself off for the day to explore somewhere new. On a deeper level, it is starting to have a detrimental impact on my mental and physical wellbeing.
In 2015 when I worked so hard to change my life, my mantra was this:
Create a life that you don’t wish to take a vacation from.
I need to reconnect with that. I’m so lucky, particularly at a point where the whole country is suffering in so many ways, and there are so many amazing things out there just waiting to be experienced. I need to start working to live rather than living to work, get out and start enjoying life instead of simply existing.
It’s time to break out of the bubble.
How has your year been going so far? Let me know in the comments below!
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