I recently penned a short entry on an Instagram post outlining how I am trying to better implement active changes to my lifestyle where there is more time for downtime. Quite simply, more time to sit around, smell the frigging roses and remember to not be all-guns blazing 24/7, because shucks, I'm only human, and all humans get TIRED.
I think it's pretty normal if you live in a bustling metropolis like London which moves at a million miles an hour, and sucks you into it's fast-paced frenzy quite easily, to think it's normal to be teetering on the edge of this exhausted every-day being, where you accept feeling crap, having disrupted sleeping patterns, being knackered as heck, and a whole host of other symptoms. I think there's a very, very fine line between being inspired, energised, motivated and active (* I use this word instead of the 'b' word - busy, which I dislike, as it's almost become a standard greeting in our day and age), a state of being which I thrive on, nay, need, to enjoy living, working and being, to becoming pulled at the seams, doing way too much, accepting too much, and living in a semi permanent state of insomnia/exhaustion/your blood content is half latte, and you're half baked.
I think there comes a point where you can reach a breaking point, where you can think, shit, am I meant to be just existing on this precipice constantly, feeling wiped out, with little time for mellowness, little time to not feel the full-on-feeding-frenzy that is modern-day life? I think we've grown to nearly accept that it's ok to still be shooting our emails at 11:30pm from bed, scrolling incessantly whilst your partner, your friend, is trying to have a hear-to heart, taking the frenzy into our sanctums, into our home life.
I've reached a few points in the last few years where I kept saying yes, yes, yes to everything. Yes to emails and phone scrolling whilst in bed, yes to that manic-ness of work and charging around London on the tube, breathless and knackered, it seeping into my home life.
This isn't in my opinion a healthy existence, and when you're constantly waking up feeling crappy, you gotta know there's gotta be a time to say enough is a enough, and make a change. I learnt the hard way last year. Juggling two busy jobs with a lot of pressure, a busy social life, the normal wants and desires of achieving, experiencing, living and doing like any other twenty something, I pushed myself that step to far. Ignoring the warning sighs of total exhaustion, thinning hair, unusual skin break outs, insomnia, feeling faint, and worse, fainting, I tried to charge a head and continue my bonkers juggling act. I cracked. Hard. Eventually collapsing whilst away on a business trip, I was hit with two huge virus's and fully ruptured a ligament in my ankle, all in the same week. Down and out for a long time, I was hit with a long stint of chronic fatigue to add a cherry on top.
This is pretty normal now, and a lot of friends i speak to experience similar burn outs at some point or another. Nearly two years later, I still need to remind myself to be conscious of those breaking points, be conscious of treating the body with love, with care, with TLC - you need to wrap it up in a frickin' blanket some days and scarf a pizza and binge watch Stranger Things, and hey, that's ok.
I wanted to share some of the lessons I learnt along the way and some of the simple things I do in my every day life to try and keep that balance in check, to try and add some harmony to the charged madness of living in a slightly chaotic city (London, I do love you though). And I am conscious that my friends who will read this will tell me to practice what I preach and I am still learning, still trying to get this balance down. Some of my tips below guys, I would love to hear from you, from your own experiences and from how you try and just feel a bit more mellow and balanced.
MAD TO LIVE TIPS
-Dudes, now this might seem like a basic one. But L I S T E N to your body. Disrupted sleeping patterns? Feeling over-exhausted? Breakouts and main-lining too much coffee? Just take a moment to assess whats going on, and if your gut is telling you, woah, you're pushing it, you need some time to kickback. Take a step back, listen to it! Don't file it in the back of your mind like a drunken snog with Keith the toothless chav in Wetherspoons 10 years ago. Bring it to the front, and listen to it and if it's saying you need to say no to that extra gig, no to that extra assignment, or gym class, then say no. It can appear hard to say no, I get it. You think if you cant be depended on, if you're not doing it all, you'll appear to be a slacker. Now tell me how productive are you when you're totally wiped out zombie-typing a report your frazzled brain isn't even taking in. You will be more productive and dynamic if you're acutely listening to what your body needs to be in that state. So listen.
-Love smashing out 2 workouts a day of weights lifting, balls-to-the-wall workouts and sweating like a beast? If these are pushing you to the point of pain, of constant DOMS, of restlessness and bad sleep, then you maybe you want to think on knocking some of them on the head and gettin' a bit more zen with some meditation, stretching, yoga, or straight up chilling, even for 10 minutes a day. I used to love yoga then went hell bent for leather for bootcamps and circuits. Now, just adding 1 or 2 yoga classes a week can make such a difference. You don't need to be Raging Bull every day. If you need a day off, a week off, or to introduce more stretch, that's cool.
-Smart phones are near extensions of our bodies these days, and it's infiltration into both our minds and personal lives near complete. I know I need to exercise way, way, WAY more restraint with the glowing tablet in my life. I try to ostracise it from my bedroom, to not look at it before bed, not scope out stupid videos that'll get my heart racing and mind firing before I am trying to get some much-needed shut eye. I'm trying to keep it out the room, and next up, not look at it after 9pm, cerfew style dudes, I'm getting military on this shit.
-Feel guilty for those sofa sessions in front of Jon Snow / Francis Underwood or Mary Berry? Don't. R N R to counteract the frenzy of the busy working week becomes a near necessity, and feeling totally chilled and switched off, what ever your down-time fav is, from watching your favourite show on the sofa, indulging in your favourite yoga class or cruising into the park with a book, forget any guilt and ENJOY.
-I have been chatting to my friends at EQUI LONDON, expert nutritionist Alice and business partner, the brilliant Rosie (a friend of mine from uni) who have me road testing their fundamental multi vitamin, which I'll fill you in on once I finish the course. Alice has been kind enough to make recommendations to my nutrition that can assist periods of burn out, so if could be worth chatting to a nutrionist too if you think this could benefit you
-Take a moment to step back, look at the bigger picture, and chill. Life isn't going to end if you don't manage to fit that coffee in, or miss that tube, or have to say "I'm sorry, that won't be ready until a week later". Know your limits and know that in the end we're just on a giant marble in the sky orbiting around a giant fireball, and that life's short and you've gotta enjoy as much as you can!