For a little while now I’ve felt very much in limbo and for the first time in my life I found myself living to work. Pre-travelling I was very much career driven but was also lucky enough that I could enjoy a high end lifestyle – I worked for it but I still felt fortunate. Post-travelling, I’ve become very much the opposite – I want to work to live and my happiness means so more to me then money.
I think we’ve become a society that thinks that it’s natural to work ourselves to the ground, to get noticed and acknowledged and we tend to top trump each other on the amount of hours we have worked and work load that we have to get through throughout the day, but it’s not natural. Not one bit. Working in the Health & Fitness industry, you would assume that I would be able to identify when my (non – existent) work – life balance wasn’t in tune. I’ve also noticed that there’s an assumption from many people that because I work in the Health & Fitness industry, I have thousands of endorphins pumping around my body from the amount of activity & exercise I endure each day and that it would demolish any anxieties and negative thoughts that pass through my head, but it really isn’t the case. We’re human too & we are all accountable for our own happiness and self preservation whether it’s your profession or not. I get paid to help and coach others on improving their fitness and their wellbeing but I began to prioritise these paying customers over my own wellbeing.
Pre-travelling and whilst travelling I was very in tune with myself and with my mind and regularly practised mindfulness and enjoying the little things in life. That distant me sat in the back of my mind for months whilst I worked all day every day, I knew that I needed to start introducing a little bit more me time back into my schedule but it just seemed near on impossible. It had gotten to a point where my bubbly, lively and positive personality had reached the end of its wick and was about to burn out. This wasn’t me. And certainly what I wasn’t preaching to my clients about – how was I suppose to be in charge of other peoples health & wellbeing when I didn’t have mine in check?
Mental Health Awareness Week seemed more broadcasted this year than any other year and I found that I was hearing about people’s stories and relations to mental health everywhere – podcasts, social media, blogs, television, on the radio. You name it, and someone had shared their mental health experience somewhere. This is when I learnt that you don’t have to have the obvious signs of depression and anxiety to be able to understand your every day struggles. You don’t need to be suicidal to ask for help. But you shouldn’t be feeling worthless, de-motivated, un-sociable or brain dead inside everyday. That’s not normal and life is too short to not enjoy every moment.
Something had to change, my mindset had to change. I started practising mindfulness each day but found that I couldn’t focus and I was becoming even more frustrated, especially because I used to religiously practise it daily. I began reading blogs, listening to podcasts, seeking for some motivation and a kick up the bum and to a certain extend it worked. It bought my head back up to the surface but I still wasn’t swimming. Then all of a sudden I found the kick up the arse that I needed, it was in the shape of a book. A book that was written by a woman that has found her own happiness after getting herself into one of life’s ruts and she worked her way out of it. Get Your Shit Together was the book, as you can imagine it’s very to the point and there is no messing around but I needed that. I needed my old mindset to kick back in and get me out of my rut. I pinpointed what was making me unhappy, my job and the lack of control that it gave me over my life. So I took a chance and I changed it and almost instantly, my strong and positive frame of mind filled my head again. It was like the ending of a Disney movie, when the magic spell is broken and normality is restored – corny I know but I truly felt an immediate effect.
By no means does this mean that I was ungrateful or unappreciative of my job, I’m still in the industry and I’ve even taken a step up the ladder but I’ve taken the time to evaluate myself and my self worth and what I need to be happy so that I don’t spiral down into a negative mindset again. Unlike pre-travelling me, it’s not only me now that I have to think about and how mental health can take an effect. My other half also had to watch me suffer and he was slowly watching the sparkle inside of me fade, he had to see me when I was upset, down & low in confidence on a regular basis because of how a small aspect of my life was making me feel.
It’s never to late to take the leap of faith, trust your instinct and make your happiness a priority. You’ll be thankful for it in the long run.