This morning, I did yoga in my dressing gown.
As I slowly lowered myself to the ground, I felt my knees cracking, shoulders drooping and body wanting to completely collapse in on itself.
A dismal attempt at self-care.
You see, the trouble with being a freelancer is you go from zero to a hundred in 0.3 seconds.
You can go for months with things just plodding along and then all of a sudden…
A million projects come in at once!
Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration… but hey, let me off, I'm an actor!
Now, I’m not shy of hard work, in fact I relish in it! However, being a freelancer really is an all or nothing lifestyle and in many ways I LOVE that about the lifestyle I have chosen … and in other ways it can be completely overwhelming and draining very quickly.
“How do you cultivate a work/life balance when you barely have time to do the washing up, let alone take some time to practice self-care, spend time with your loved ones, socialise AND do life stuff ?!”
I ask myself this question, as I laid there in child’s pose in my dressing gown. No attempt to roll out the yoga mat, just full on carpet to knees scenario happening.
Here are a few things that came back to me when I asked myself that question…
First things first, you need to think about and decide what it is that makes you personally feel centred, brings you joy and fills up your cup. Once you know this, you are then able to prioritise these things so that even if you are only able to get 20% life / 80% work into your week, that 20% life will be so worth it because you’ll be doing things you genuinely enjoy and that fills you up.
Next, is scheduling in your ‘ME’ time on your calendar… not revolutionary I know, but effective all the same. Whatever ‘ME’ time means to you, whether it’s going to the gym, watching the telly, having a massage, or simply sitting for 30 minutes with a good book and no distractions (that means no checking texts, emails or anything else for that matter!).
Lastly, you have to hold yourself accountable. By this I mean, set yourself up for having to keep to the self-care plans you make and not let your life be centred around work for those moments.
Here are a couple of ways I came up with to do this:
Buy tickets to a show, concert, exhibition, etc, by yourself or with a friend - because lets be honest, no one likes wasting their hard earned money, which means you have to show up!
Get an accountability partner - this could be a friend, family member or loved one, but it needs to be someone who has the same goal of creating a better work/life balance. This is so you can support each other whilst you are striving towards creating more balance. Regular check-ins and discussions on what you are doing to look after yourself will help in sustaining your accountability.
So, moving forward, it’s time for me to start taking my own advice and remind myself that if I’m not giving myself some space to replenish and fill myself up, then how can I expect to be on top form in my professional life?
Let me know what you do to create a good work/life balance in the comments below!