January 15, 2013

Learning My Balance

Self-Care 101 | Grown-up Shoes

(photograph by miguel gomez)

The other night I stepped out of the shower, hair still wet in my pajamas and started sobbing “I’m not doing a good job at anything!” to poor Adam. That’s not how I really feel, but it was a moment of being overwhelmed by a lot of different things. Luckily for me, he took it like a champ and told me I had just taken on a lot and to make a cocktail while he turned on the new episode of Downton Abbey for me. All of which worked by the way and is highly recommended.  This feeling of being overwhelmed has come to a head because in this past year I’ve prioritized work over almost everything else and I see now that it’s not working.

I don’t want to show up late for meetings anymore wearing something with stains on it because I didn’t give myself enough time to get ready because I was emailing/blogging/in illustrator until five minutes before I was supposed to leave the house. While I’m obviously drawn to the quick pace of this career and I love (most) every single moment and (absolutely) every single one of my clients, I also recognize the difference between being busy and being overwhelmed and I’ve noticed that I often confuse the two.

Have you ever noticed when you have a lot going on and feel overwhelmed that you’ll often think to yourself or say out loud to a friend “I’m so busy!”But you’re not just busy—you’re overwhelmed. “Busy” sounds and feels better—it makes it sound like “I’ve got a lot going on, but I’m managing it all!” It makes it sound like you’re “in demand” or needed, which is desirable. I’d like to start being a little more honest with myself about being busy vs. over committed,  which will mean saying no to some projects. It will mean closing my computer at 6 PM most nights. It will mean re-focusing on my personal well-being and de-prioritizing work to some degree in exchange. And it will mean admitting that I can’t do it all (shocking, I know).

This past year, I’ve really tried to make a name for myself and make this creative career work and while I don’t regret hustling as much as I have,  I also recognize the need to slow down and take better care of myself. Only problem is, these things don’t come naturally to me. So, I’ve set some new rules for myself and made some solemn vows to:

Self-Care 101 | Grown-up Shoes

In two months I will have completed my first year of this creative career and I feel like I’ve learned so much. My motto in that first year was: say yes to everything. And I did! I took on every project, every client and every opportunity that landed on my doorstep and I don’t regret one minute of it.

It’s interesting how much more grown-up (get it?) I feel in just ten months. My priorities this year have already changed drastically. I’m focused now on the quality of my work more so than just doing a lot of it. I’m focused on my loved ones, my own well-being and my savings account in a much more dedicated way than I was last year.

Here’s to a bright new year and the balance I hope it brings.

Images from Collage: Beauty Sleep by FreshNewEngland | Eat Something “Bad” | Time to Get Ready | Thoughtful Purchases | Give Myself a Break | Time for Manicures | Celebrate

12 Comments

  • Hannah  / 

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much I can relate to this. It is one of those, “I knew this already but now it’s smacking me upside the head” obvious that I really need to make the same changes. Some of the factors have been out of my control this past year but I’m making a big change in fixing it by moving closer to work so I can have time for me instead of time stuck in traffic commuting to and from every day. No matter what the struggle, you are never the only one. Thank you for the reminder! I hope that you can really add a focus to taking care of you this year. You definitely deserve it and have earned it!

    xoxohannah

    (Reply)

  • Clareg  / 

    Ana,
    Well said woman! I feel the EXACT same way. How do I balance a relationship with a wonderful man, take care of my loving cat and dog, clean my house, run errands and work 60 + hours a week??? Not to mention have perfect skin..I can’t! I finally gave in and told Michael I cant do this alone. Its hard sometimes to admit- Okay I’m not super woman. After I told him he said” okay so do I, lets help each other”. Now I’m not saying Adam doesnt help you. I’m just using this story to illustrate how far down I got. It took me being sick for two weeks to realize my mortality and the lack of time I have for ME. While I know I’m going to have to continue working two jobs to A. pay bills and B. build clientele I’m making more time for me ie telling myself to do less of the less important stuff (or not stress over laundry). Anyways I’m proud of you! Hang in there, I know how you feel :)
    xo,
    Clare

    (Reply)

  • Nomadic D.  / 

    You go girl. Seriously. It sounds like you hustled so much to get your career going and then never slowed down as it got off the ground. You can’t keep up breakneck speed forever, it will kill you. So before your body totally goes on strike and makes you sick or something, do exactly what you’re doing now. Have a cocktail, watch some tv, eat a brownie, get your nails done. You deserve it. Not only that, you need it if you’re going to have any sort of longevity whatsoever. Now if only I could practice what I preach…

    http://www.nomadicd.com

    (Reply)

  • Ana Perkins  / 

    Thanks girls : ) It’s always comforting to know that we’re all going through similar struggles, just on our different paths. Thanks to each of you for sharing your time and thoughts with me! xoxo

    (Reply)

  • Katherine  / 

    Ana, your past year has been truly inspiring; knowing that others have to work to find a balance is also inspiring, too. Thank you! xo

    (Reply)

  • Miro - Dose of Dash  / 

    Looking at these comments it’s comforting to see that so many other women are feeling the same way. We always feel like we have to do it all and do it all perfectly!

    Finding a good balance is something I am constantly working on (I was going to say ‘struggling with’ but am trying to put more positive energy out there). In the past few months I realized how much I overworked myself at my job in the past year and a half, which is why I started my blog. I feel like I’ve become much more inspired and creative in my personal life, but it’s still hard to balance. Although blogging is great, it’s still a lot of work.

    I’m so appreciative that you posted this because it’s a common problem that not many people talk about, and it’s easy to look at everyone else’s lives (or blogs) and think that it’s so rosy and perfect compared to yours. A quote I always try to keep in mind is, “don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to other people’s highlight reel.”

    (Reply)

  • kelly  / 

    It’s so wonderful to figure out that it’s okay to prioritize some breathing room! I remember when I first discovered that a break could make all the difference and decided to integrate balance into my life. Doing so allowed me to be so much more honest with myself in every aspect of my life, not just work expectations and obligations.

    So happy for you, and it’s been awesome to see all your hard work over the past year!

    (Reply)

  • Ana Perkins  / 

    Thanks y’all—love love love reading these comments and support.

    Kelly—thank you for this! Prioritizing breathing room is so hard sometimes! And I agree—allows for soooo much more clarity in the long run. Hope I can stick with it like you have : )

    xoxo

    (Reply)

  • Krisztina Williams  / 

    What a lovely and honest post. The thing about those little melt downs is (if you’re a perfectionist like me) you end up feeling even worse that you’re crying about whatever has you stressed. I always feel like I’m the only person who acts like that and gets overwhelmed, but we all do, and it’s so helpful to be reminded of that. So glad I just stumbled on your blog.:)

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  • Candice  / 

    So thankful and refreshed by this post. I don’t wash my hair often enough, and I run late everywhere. Love your honesty Ana. It’s exactly what I needed to hear today.

    (Reply)

  • joody  / 

    Thank you for this honest post. I was thinking the same thing at the end of 2012. I wanted to get my blog up and running while working a full time job as a social media advertiser and really find a niche in the world. I think we all need a good cry now and then to de-stress and continue to be our fabulous selves. It’s great that you have loved ones who you can always lean on!

    Hope you are feeling more powerful in the world! Thank you for this post.

    (Reply)

  • Grown-up Shoes :: Blog, Vintage Shop, and Styling :: Austin, Texas  / 

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