For the last few years, as I near the end of the summer season and the days get shorter, the same thing seems to keep happening to me - I think most people would describe it as 'burn out'. I tire easily, I feel immense stress without really knowing why, and I long for the year to just be over so I can have some rest. A lot of this is seasonal, my happy place, where I live among the flowers is stolen by the winter and I am left longing to hold a big bucket of blooms again. I'm also guessing a little bit of exhaustion comes into it, as any wedding florist will know, the summer months are where the work is most dense, and as much as we thrive off the joy, the long days, early mornings and the time pressures, they all add up.
However hard I try to fix the 'burn-out' it comes as sure as the tides, and when I get to around September/October I just want it all to stop. I can make plans to make more time, to feel more prepared next year, I talk it over with the most sensible and inspiring people, create rules to avoid the chaos over the next 12 months. I believe I know how to change things up and I am so full of good intentions that I almost have myself convinced. Alas, the weather changes, the leaves turn, the flowers diminish and I find myself stressed, tired and just pretty fed up! I have moments when I tell myself I no longer want to be a florist, I no longer want anything to do with weddings and 'everything is rubbish' until I pull myself round again, and when the new flowers start to grow, I throw myself into the cycle all over again. I've just about managed to erase the October flop from my memory and I'm in control for the next year... when it starts all over again.
After this years dive into despair however, I've spent more and more time asking myself 'why?'... why do I really get the burn out? Not just simply 'how to fix it' but a real yearning for the root of the problem. Why do I give myself so much to do? Why can't I seem to say 'no' to anything work related? Why is everyone else getting on with living their lives? And I think I might have had one of those amazing lightbulb moments, wading through all the questions, the thought process, the meaning (can you tell I'm an over thinker?) the fog cleared, and it hit me - I think I need to get a life!!
It might sound a little over dramatic, or even a little cliched, but for years now, I think I have let the fact that I own a business trump everything else in my world, I've worked hard yes, and I am fully aware that as a business owner I need to make sacrifices in order for things to run smoothly. But is it really ok that I have made it my excuse for not looking after myself, for not taking time out when I should, for not eating enough vegetables and for never going on holidays or dates with my incredible other half. 'Oh no, I can't do that, I'm too busy'. Not so much as an excuse really as a warped belief, a chip on my shoulder even. Yes, I AM busy, and sometimes I don't know how I'm going to fit all my work into just 7 days, but I also know I don't have to be this busy, do I? I can say no, I have the verbal and mental ability to do it, so this year, I'm going to try really, really hard to actually do it.
So, this waffling confession of a tired woman, what's it all leading towards I hear you ask...? I've seen a few people do a 'word of the year' from around 2017 onwards and I never really gave it a second thought as something I needed in my life, I mean, I'M TOO BUSY for that, right? But through all my pondering and analysis, through the chats with friends and staring into my cup of tea, one word kept coming up again and again. Don't get me wrong, I definitely do need to 'get a life', but the kinder and more realistic version of this to me was that I needed to find some balance.
I love my business, I am so proud of what I have achieved, but I am also proud of my relationship, my friendships, my cooking skills, my energy, my ability to read and absorb knowledge quickly, how I love to write and paint and take photographs. There are so many more things that make up who I am other than just a business and those parts of my life deserve the time to shine through as well. So here's to trying!
To start with I think I will need to be strict and have rules, I have odds and ends of a plan for how to action balance in my life, but I hope with practice, like other things, that they become my regular programming. There are already pre-booked, non-negotiable holidays, days out and date nights in the diary, as well as more time in my glorious garden, more time behind (and maybe in front of) the camera and more time jotting down my thoughts. I am also going to set limits for work and socialising so there are actual days where I can do whatever I want - baking, reading, walking. I'm conscious that I try to shoehorn every activity and every person in my life into every available slot of time, so that's got to stop too - I'm no good to anyone anyway when I'm completely wiped out.
The only person I need to be available to at all times, is myself. And the cat.
I think we all know that simply the word balance isn't going to stop me being an idiot and over-doing it sometimes, I'm sure of it, but if I keep reminding myself that I need it in my life then hopefully it will take seed - I think that's what a word of the year is for me anyway, a centre point to keep coming back to when I lose my way.
Wish me luck! And I wish you all a very Happy New Year x