I've been battling something these last few weeks that I wanted to open up about, with the hope that it might help in case you've been feeling a similar way too.
If you know me, you'll know I'm generally a very positive person and more often than not, i'll have a smile on my face and an optimistic head on my shoulders. I have my down moments every now and then (as we all do) but on the whole, I'm very happy and confident in what I'm doing. However, these last few weeks, i've been struggling a little and my confidence in myself and my work has taken a hit. There's been a niggly voice in the back of my mind that's been saying the same thing, over and over again..."Your best just isn't good enough". And unfortunately, I've found myself listening to that voice and it's been really getting to me.
I've found myself getting sucked into this black hole of negative thinking and i've hated it. My reaction to a challenging situation is usually, "It's okay, we'll figure it out" - but lately my head has been filled with worry and anxiety and it's been taking a lot of enjoyment out of my work, especially when i'm shooting and executing projects. What i've realised is that i've been putting so much pressure on myself, to do a million things at once, constantly get better, grow my business and at the same time, exceed my exceptionally high standards of myself. And because my head has been so distracted by these pressures and things I "should" be doing, I haven't been feeling as grounded as usual and these negative thoughts have found a way in.
Fortunately, I had a real breakthrough about a week ago, and with the support of Matt, my friends + some good old me-time, I feel like i'm finally getting back to my normal self. I'm never one to just sit and not take action and i've hated feeling this way, and so last weekend, I decided to properly take a day off work (something I rarely do), dedicate the day to tuning into myself and figure out exactly what was needed to help me feel grounded and balanced again.
I also came to a realisation that i've been neglecting my purpose a little and the reasoning behind why I do the work that I do. The sole reason I started this blog is to help people, to inspire and provide useful information that people get value from, and I think that's something I need to re-focus on. There are a few projects i've been putting off that really align with this goal, and so last weekend gave me a kick up the bum to properly get started and I'm excited to share them with you hopefully in a few months time!
Having that weekend of realignment helped me massively, and so, to align with my goal of creating content that will hopefully help you in one way or another, I wanted to put this blog post together and share a few of the simple changes I've made to my routine and things that might help if you're struggling to get yourself out of a funk. And if you do resonate, know that it's okay not to feel 100% your best all the time - after all, we're only human. We have to embrace the low and slow periods just as much as the highs, as ultimately that's what makes us stronger in the long run and makes us succeed even more.
Take some time out for you
When was the last time you had a few hours to yourself? And I mean, true, self-care time when you read a book, went for a walk, had a bath, went shopping, or did whatever else you like to do when you just need a break.
I asked myself this question last weekend, and honestly, I couldn't think of an answer. Nowadays, we are so connected every minute of every day and there's this constant pressure to be "on" all the time. Hustling is glorified, and we feel that if we're not working ourselves to the bone and juggling 500 balls at once, then we're not working as hard as others and our results won't be as good. When you're self-employed, that pressure is magnified because you're constantly thinking, "Well if I don't do it, then there's no one else that will". Which is true, yes, but all that pressure means we fail to actually take time out for ourselves, and that can be really mentally damaging.
So last Sunday, after my fitness class, I made a conscious decision to have a day of me. I strolled Stanley Park for 2 hours, I listened to music, I walked in the pouring rain, I went to a fruit and veg market, I had a bath, I read a book, and I just had a day for me, with no work or emails or pressure. And it was beautiful.
That day made me realise just how important me-time is. Having that time allows us to calm our minds, switch off all the squirrels that are darting around our heads and just be in the moment appreciating where we are and what we're doing. It's something I definitely need to do more of (and funnily enough, Matt is always telling me how I need to actually take some proper time off...maybe the boy is onto something!) and I think we're all guilty of neglecting ourselves and putting work first. So if you're looking to get yourself out of a funk, the first thing I'd suggest is taking a day out for you. Do whatever serves your soul and just allow your mind to take a break, and it might just make the world of difference.
When I was younger I used to be such a bookworm but nowadays, I very rarely make the time to sit and read a book, which is quite sad really. So, one thing I've committed to doing is spending 20-30 minutes a day reading, and I've found it to be really helpful in shifting my mindset.
One book I've been loving is "You Are A Badass" by Jen Sincero and it's brilliant. It's really helped me to get out of my head, gain a bit more perspective, and realise that I need to be my own cheerleader and that I need to speak to myself in a more positive and kind way. It's a light-hearted read and it's not too cheesy or preachy, but it's given me the kick up the bum that I've needed to stop letting those negative thoughts impact what I'm doing and just go for it.
I've also heard great things about "Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis so I think that'll be my next read, and there are some great recommendations on this Amazon list too.
Stop comparing yourself
Comparison really is the thief of joy. It's one of the quickest ways to take the enjoyment out of what you're doing, create unnecessary insecurities and hinder your success. One of the vows I made to myself at the beginning of 2018 was that I wouldn't compare my journey and success to others, and it's one of the best things I did.
What we inevitably end up doing is comparing our behind-the-scenes to someone else's highlight reel and when we do that, of course, we end up falling short. Social media can perpetuate any feelings of insecurity we already have, which is also why it's so important that you follow the right kind of people and the people who make you feel good about yourself. Remember that you are unique, in every way shape and form. Rather than comparing yourself to others and their successes, let them inspire you to create the change you want. After all, if they can do it, what's to say you can't too?
"Our thoughts become our words, our words become our beliefs, our beliefs become our actions, our actions become our habits, and our habits become our realities."
"You get to choose how you perceive your reality. So why when it comes to perceiving yourself, would you choose to see anything than a super huge rock star of a creature?"
Start your day right
I don't know about you, but i'm so vulnerable to external factors first thing in a morning. Waking up to a gloomy sky, sleeping through my alarm, having a bad dream or seeing something on social media that rubs me up the wrong way can all put a downer on my day before it's even started. Especially as most of us have email on our phones, that's also the first thing we see when we wake up so it means we're constantly consuming information from the second we open our eyes to the moment we go to sleep, and that's so taxing on the brain.
If you want to get yourself out of a funk, change up how you start your day. Rather than letting your emotions and your mindset be dictated by external factors, such as emails, texts and social media, make sure you are the one to decide how your day begins. I recently activated the "Do Not Disturb" setting on my phone, so when I check the time or turn off my alarm, I don't see all my notifications straight away and it's made a huge difference.
After i've spent a few minutes waking up, I get out of bed, have a cup of tea, and try to give it a bit of time before I jump onto my phone and start responding to WhatsApps, emails and Instagram DMs. Of course, it's easier said than done as it's so tempting to just sit and scroll in bed while you wake up, but I'm really trying hard not to waste that time and to not get sucked into my phone first thing in a morning. I've also started reading my book for 10/15 minutes while I have my breakfast, and i've found that reading those positive messages have really helped to set a nice tone to my day.
Starting the day with a workout is also a great way to build up mental and physical resilience so you're ready to tackle whatever the day throws at you. Ultimately, you've got to do what makes you feel the happiest first thing in a morning, so that you start your day right and with the best possible mindset.
"It’s just as easy to believe we’re awesome as it is to believe we’re giant sucking things."
“And while there are countless ways that we rip ourselves off, there’s one way in particular that is, without a doubt, the most rampant and the most devastating of all: we invest everything we’ve got in believing that we’re not good enough.”
Speak to a friend
When we get in a funk and we don't feel 100%, we often retreat from social engagements and seeing people as we don't want to share those vulnerabilities. However, speaking to friends and sharing how you're feeling is actually one of the best ways to get out of your head and gain some perspective.
I've had some great chats with some of my closest friends this week and I felt SO much better after doing that. Just talking about how I was feeling helped me realise that i'm not alone in feeling this way, plus, there's really nothing like having a good old chat with one of your best mates to put you in a good mood. It was actually my beautiful friend Ruby who encouraged me to write this post after we had a big long chat (go check out her artwork on Instagram, she is insanely talented and an all-around amazing human!) and I'm so glad she did because hopefully, you might find some of these tips useful and it might help you if you're feeling a similar way.
Make A Plan
Organisation and routine are two things that can really help you to get yourself out of a funk. When we're lost in our heads and we're not feeling great, that often leads to us feeling demotivated, and for me that usually results in my routine and structure going out the window.
An action plan will help you to feel more in control, keep you accountable and it'll generally give you something to work towards. I actually love making to-do lists and I love ticking things off even more, and I find that when my mind is organised, I'm so much more productive and I feel much more on top of things. I also think it's important that you tidy up other areas of your life too - such as your house, your closet, your car - as it'll help you to feel like you're creating a fresh start and things will feel less chaotic in your head. I find that reorganising my wardrobe helps to give me a boost and feel more organised too, plus it's always a nice task as you end up finding so many items you forgot you had. It's like going shopping but it doesn't involve spending any money - win win!
Meditation is something i'm really trying to do more of, and it can have an instant impact on how you're feeling. I usually meditate in a morning, and it really helps me to reshift my mindset especially when i've had a bad dream or i've woken up feeling a bit blah. Meditation is great as it doesn't require a lot of time, effort or energy but it can really clear your mind.
While everyone is different, I like to simply lie on the floor, put some nice music on, set a 10/15 minute timer on my phone, and slowly breathe in and out, sinking into the floor and allowing any tension to flow out of my body. I find it works wonders and it's a really powerful practice, so perhaps it's worth trying out if you're not feeling very grounded at the moment or you want to get your day off to a great start. It's also nice to meditate before bed, especially if you're struggling to switch off at night and properly relax.
Hopefully this post will help you to get yourself out of a funk and get back on track. Remember, everyone is different and you've just got to find what works for you. I'd love to know what actions you take when you're feeling stuck in your head and a bit off your game too, let me know in the comments!