I’m not going to kid anyone: I am not always (rather almost never) a great example of balance. True, I have my system for many things – travelling savvily, investing in statement pieces, a clear style and a go-to make-up make me who I am – but while I know exactly what I should do on paper, in the practice my life has been a little bit messy lately – and despite getting a grip most times, it shows. Poor, ungodly-hour-and-unforgivably-uncomfortable sleep patterns, jet lag life on a bicoastal relationship, red tape-induced stress, mental pressure and detail-oriented career with spikes of famous blogger ambition… Add just being a 36-year-old woman with everything this phase of her life brings along to the concoction – and this is a formula for success (for a breakdown!)
…disclaimer! I’m not breaking down 🙂 and probably my issues are minor compared to those of many. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still healthy overall and I consider myself very privileged – yet, this doesn’t mean that we, as (stylish) freelancers, should let these signals go unnoticed and ignored. I think at this point of my life I’ve got a few readjustments to make – and this is what I hope to implement for the second part of the year that just kicked off marking 3 years of this life and style blog.
- Seriously getting a grip with sleep 💤 – I’ve started taking melatonin (not OTC in the UK, but. Could get it both in Italy and the US.
- Relaxing music: I always liked music. With my trusted Bose headphones and an Apple Music subscription, I find myself relaxing a lot lately just but listening to Buddha Bar: best of. My tune is Homage to Mr V.
- Apps that can make my life easier: when I have downtime, I should try to make the most of it. Yet, again it’s a matter of focus and relax. Calm is an app I’ve downloaded and still need to get the hang of (meditation is not really something intuitive for everyone) but I’m giving it a go.
- Clients that work with you, not against you: easier said than done. Just pick your battles well. That job that is all endlessness and issues? Or that client that phones you a zillion times a day? The flight that is £50 cheaper but wastes you a entire day waiting around? JUST DITCH them. It’s hard – I just had to pass a job because it wouldn’t make me enjoy or gain enough. And that is also power and will.
- Developing a routine: sleep patterns and routine are good for my 36-year-old body. I find that while I can’t really kick myself out of bed at 6 or I am not disciplined enough to steer clear from coffee after 5pm, building up a routine (even just for those little things like eating at the same time most days, sending invoices every month on the 30th or applying cream on my legs after every shower) are beneficial to my brain. In a life where I can find myself on 6 planes in a week and 3 time zones a month, I need order – and to start harmonizing what I can control.
- Making savvy choices and improve planning: goes hand in hand with routine. I’ve been trying to plan travels and events to have a clear visibility on months ahead. No, I don’t have a 5-year detailed (business) plan and I don’t know what I’ll be having for supper tonight (matter of fact I’m blogging this from a plane…) but planning beats chaos when it comes to stress.
- Hone my social skills and cultivate friends: right now, with friends all over the place, a husband in California and a family in Italy, I need to make sure I keep up. And yes, I’m busy. But there is no excuse: when you are all over the place yourself and need to get a grip, the tendency to break down and feel all feels (tired, sad, hype, proud, ashamed, confused, certain, emotional, ugly, gorgeous, not enough, amazingly impressive…) is a classic. And friends will be friends. I cultivate chats on WhatsApp, note down birthdays more scrupulously and try to send as many videos and audio notes to my beloved ones. Do it. It makes me feel better and closer when everything seems wrong or too hard.
- I read an article by Ben Hammersley where he mentioned the need for futurist, legacy-free, tiny innovations. If you are stuck in the past too much, or are burdened by legacy systems or structures that make you sluggish and not efficient enough, it’s time to change. Most times, innovation is in the tiniest details that make the difference. The future is never clear – and the tiniest of the details is what count to define a future that doesn’t live off the past.