Friday, 16 March 2018

What is the Perfect Work/Life Balance?

Is a perfect 50/50 work life balance even a thing?! I mean, I can only dream of getting up early, applying perfect make-up and *actually* brushing my hair, getting to work on time, having a productive day in the office, fitting in a gym session, writing my blog, having an active social life, tucking into some rolled oats topped with chia jam and homemade almond butter (or whatever else Instagram tells me I should be eating) cleanse, tone and moisturise, and THEN getting a full 8 hours sleep every night. But let’s face it. That NEVER happens.

Especially working in social media, I find it extremely difficult to switch off. I am ALWAYS on my phone. Scanning through my client social accounts, and my own, alternating between Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Facebook until my brain finally tells me I need to sleep. (But not until I’ve done that thing where you calculate how much sleep you can cram in before your alarm goes off if you fall asleep as soon as you close your eyes.)

This isn’t a post to tell you exactly how to get the perfect work/life balance, but I’m going to share some changes that I am actively going to make, to help me minimise stress (!!!!!!!!!) and enjoy both sides a little bit more.

  1. Switch off. Ok, so I’ve started with the toughest one, but I‘m going to limit checking my work phone to once or twice a day on weekends, and once in the evenings. And I’m going to TRY and limit checking my personal phone at LEAST 25%- see how well (or terribly) I do and try and increase it a little more as I go on. I DO NOT NEED TO CHEK INSTAGRAM RELIGIOUSLY. When I’m watching a film or something on Netflix- why do I need to check people’s stories? Why do I need to scroll through images I saw 5 seconds ago? I feel like I just do it out of habit, which is stupid really, especially because the stupid algorithm means I rarely even see my own friends posts anyway. So in reality I’m spending hours of my precious looking at strangers holiday photos. Brilliant.

  1. Be sensible. Lol at me using the word sensible by the way. I try so hard to limit drinking during the week, which is pretty hard when a lot of my working week social life revolves around going for dinner or drinks. I’m not going to lie- I LOVE a drink, but let’s be honest ‘one drink’ is never one drink. Fast forward 4 hours, it’s 1am, I’m absolutely para, and my alarm is due to go off in 6 hours. By itself it doesn’t sound too bad, but when I’m going to spend the whole day at my desk absolutely hanging and having the productivity level of roadkill, it ain’t good. Plus, it means as soon as the clock hits 5:30 I’m sprinting out the door to spend the evening in bed with a ready meal. Not. Good.

  1. Break away from my desk. Being a blogger, freelancing, and having a desk job means that from 9:30-5:30, I’m pretty much glued to my chair, and it can be pretty stifling especially when I’m a creative. Recently I’ve been using my lunch break to go for a walk (usually to the post office to return something to ASOS or Topshop but w/e) and it has helped massively! My mood, my energy, my creativity, everything. Would definitely recommend!

  1. Work out. Since coming back from Australia I haven’t been to the gym once. I could make up a thousand excuses as to why here, but I would be kidding myself- I’ve just been lazy. It’s one thing dragging yourself to the gym, but do you ever regret a workout? Never. And you always feel SO good afterwards. It also has a knock-on effect with my eating habits too- I always eat better when I’m working out. Ok that’s it I’m joining Monday.

  1. Group Chats. I am part of quite a few group chats with my friends, and 99% of the time they are absolutely going OFF. It’s sooo easy to get caught up in a chat and spend the rest of the day checking it to keep up with the goss/ losing my entire trail of thought. To get over this I don’t open my group chats at ALL. Until I finish work. When I first implemented this rule with myself I checked it at lunchtime and replied to any messaged then, but now I don’t even bother until I’m on my commute home, and I haven’t even missed it! (Soz pals- your chat is fire but gals got stuff to do)

  1. Plan my weekends. I never want to get stuck in the rut of being super sensible all week, and then getting to Sunday night and thinking ‘ugh what a boring weekend.’ So, I aaaaalways make sure I’ve got really good plans for the weekend. Yeah, I still have times where I just fancy a night in, but for me, a good weekend involves my friends, drinks, and usually some form of outrageous behaviour. Usually from me.

  1. Never settle. As you will know from my post about quitting my job, I am not a girl who settles! If you’re unhappy in your job- do something about it! You spend the majority of your time at work, so you have to do something you enjoy. I’m not saying I leap out of bed every morning when my alarm goes off absolutely buzzing to get to the office, but I enjoy my role, I love the industry and I LOVE my colleagues. Plus, you’re never going to get close to a decent work/life balance if you hate your job. 

How do you split your time between work and personal life? Share your tips with me on Twitter here!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

What The Hell Am I Doing With My Life?

I probably ask myself this question at LEAST once a day. And I travelled home solo from Australia on Monday, giving me a whole 28 hours to debate my current life choices and come to about 83289349 conclusions on whether what I was doing was 'right'.

In October I decided to quit my job and leave my home in West Yorkshire to move to London and pursue a career in beauty journalism. Although I felt like I was finally doing something I loved, in a city I loved (despite only visiting 3 times in my whole life) it was s-t-r-e-s-s-f-u-l, and almost every other day I would have the 'should I just move home?' deliberation with myself in my head. I had no money, I was living out of my suitcase, in a different house every 2 weeks, and I had a huge level of uncertainty with my job, but good things never come from comfort zones.

No makeup, no hairbrush, but the BIGGEST smile on my face at Glamour Beauty Fest
It's so easy to compare your life to other people, especially on Instagram. I'm a serial scroller- it's the first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do at night. And when my feed is constantly littered with lavish lifestyles and designer handbags, I want the same. (Is it possible to take a photo of your new nails without the Audi rings on the steering wheel behind them anymore?) And if I lived back home, it could be. All my friends are back home, all my family live there, I have my car, I would have so much more disposable income so I could finally buy that Gucci Marmont bag I've had my eye on for a whole year, and I could go on so many more holidays because if I lived with my parents again, I would have no rent to pay.

And it's not even materialistic things, my own friends and family heavily impact my thoughts on whether I'm doing the right thing. They have long-term boyfriends, some are engaged, some have mortgages and live together, and I have non of these things. You know when you can't sleep so you lie there, staring at the ceiling and overthinking everything? Sometimes I get jealous. I want a boyfriend who can be my +1 to events, instead of having to invite a girl friend. I want to go on cute citybreaks and leave a padlock on that bridge in Paris with our initials on. I want to come home from a looooong day to be greeted by a big bear hug from my boyfriend. But then I remind myself that I am not someone who settles. I enjoy dating! I don't want to settle for anyone just for the sake of being in a relationship. I don't want to live in Preston for the rest of my life. Even thought that's where all my family and friends live, I would much rather rent a property in London- a huge, exciting city where there is always something going on, new bars opening, events, people, than the same thing day in day out. I've been here for 3 months and I still feel like an international student but I love exploring it. Yeah of course I miss my friends and family, but they're only a Whatsapp message or a train ride away.

And finally, my career. Sometimes I wish I had an actual profession. Like, I wish I studied Dentistry or Engineering (no way I would study this but you know what I mean) just so I had an actual trade, as opposed to Journalism where there are so many routes in can go down, as opposed to one definite, guaranteed job at the end. But have I enjoyed my career so far? Absolutely. (Well, aside from my last job which you can read about here, but I'm going to erase that from my memory) I'm in an industry which combines networking, content creation, social media, beauty and events. I rarely have a boring day, and I'm ready to work my way up in an industry that suits me down to a tee. It's going to take a bit longer than my friends, but would you rather hate your job and earn an amazing salary, or love your job and not be doing too badly? To me, it's pretty obvious.

I've kind of lost track with this post, but the main thing I wanted to get across was that it's perfectly fine to have a 'wtf am I doing' moment, and completely change up your life plans if they aren't panning out how you expected. Stop comparing your life to others. Everyone has shit days, but my best way to get around this is to put on a hair mask, shave your legs (freshly shaved legs always make me feel like I've got my life together) and scroll through your OWN Instagram to remind yourself how much you are LIVING. And being happy is the most important thing.