Why it took me almost burning out to prioritise self-care.

I’m going to let you in on something, I’m a millennial.

Ok, so you probably already knew that based on a scroll through my Instagram feed, but I just wanted to remind you of my age because everyone older than a millennial still thinks that my generation are entitled and don’t work as hard as we actually do.

The truth is, I do want to own a house one day (although it’s more realistically looking an apartment), and I also love my smashed avocado for brunch, or just eating out in general. I want my cake and to be able to eat it too.

‘Hi, my name is Jennifer, I’m also a Taurus and I like expensive things’.

I recognise that I am in a privileged position where I can actually discuss this being an option one day in the future, but it hasn’t always been that way.

You’re probably wondering why I am talking about wanting to buy a house in a post about self-care. The truth is that my sole goal a few years ago was to earn enough money to be able to buy a house that I had forgotten how to look after myself.

In 2015 I scored my first job out of university. It was a pretty sweet gig- I walked into a leadership role in a media company. A few months prior, I had been accepted into a double Masters program, and on the same day I received that letter, I sent my photos in to a modelling agency and was sent back a contract immediately.

I thought I could do it all, and I tried.

I was in panic mode, I had finished my undergraduate degree two years after most of my friends, and I felt like I was so behind at ‘adulting’.

I’ve learned over time that everyone is on their own path and timeline, and comparing yourself to your friends and peers is really destructive- but more on that another time.

I also know now that if I work too hard, with very little sleep, and still want to have a social life, I will burn out, or as my mum likes to remind me to be careful ‘not to burn the candle at both ends’.

Because, I did burn out.

I had a moment where I said ‘wow, I really can’t believe I haven’t got sick this winter, I’m doing so much, my body is handling it so well,’ and then the next week when washing my hair, a giant handful just fell out.

As I watched in complete shock, my hair washing itself down the drain, I realised in that moment, that actually, my body wasn’t handling it at all- it was crying out for me to stop.

As women, we are constantly working hard. We have extra stresses that our male counterparts don’t worry about. We have been born into a world that immediately puts us at a disadvantage purely because we are female, and that, is why I think we work so damn hard, at times sacrificing our health.

Our bodies are incredible vessels, capable of the most extraordinary functions, but if we don’t take care of them, they will stop working at full capacity.

I had put my body under so much stress that it was no longer coping. I knew I had to make changes to the way I was living my life, otherwise my body would stop functioning the way I wanted it to- the way I needed it to.

That’s when I discovered self-care, that thing you do when you actually look after yourself. Crazy right?!

If you search up #selfcare on Instagram you’ll see candlelit essential oil filled baths, facemasks and green smoothies.

For me, self-care meant reexamining the way I lived my day to day life. Changing my habits completely. Yes, it may have involved the odd green smoothie here and there, but it it wasn’t was just diet based- it was where I began my overall wellness and spiritual journey.

I finally went to a doctor about my gut problems. I switched up my boozy girls’ nights for hangover-free Sundays, which consisted of wholesome gym classes and brunch. I unfollowed the people on my Instagram feed who made me feel bad about myself, and followed people who inspired me. I prioritised myself.

More importantly though, I quit my job, and followed my gut instinct to pack up and move my life to Sydney to chase a goal of being a full time model.

Six months ago I did the same thing, and packed my life into a suitcase to chase the dream in London.

Wellness is mind, body, and spirit, and it is accessible to everyone. It’s defined as ‘the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal’.

For me, having a healthy body and mind- inside and out- has helped me achieve my career goals. My body is literally my job, so it needs to be given love and respect in order for it to function the way I need it to. I’ve learned that now.

Three years later I’m still doing the wellness thing, especially practicing self-care.

For anyone wanting to start their self-care and wellness journey, I would recommend these things.

  • Cleanse your social media feed. The average millennial spends 27 hours on social media a week, so make it something worth consuming. Follow people and accounts that build your self esteem rather than destroying it.
  • Spend time alone. Go for dates with yourself. It’s the most rewarding form of self-love and self-care. Even something as small as a walk around the park by yourself can give you time to reflect. Once you are comfortable being alone, you become more aware of who you are and what you truly want from your life. It’s honestly so empowering.
  • Meditate. You’re supposed to do it everyday to truly reap the benefits- that’s something I’m working towards. Meditation is great for reducing stress and anxiety, helping sleep, and just all-round mental and physical wellbeing. There are plenty of free meditation apps too! I use Insight Timer, but there’s also Headspace which is great for beginners.
  • Eat well. There are plenty of options that don’t involve jumping on the #cleaneating bandwagon. I love a good burger/pizza/cake so I’m just trying to make more of these things from scratch rather than ordering in or getting something on the go (I’ve recently deleted all my food delivery apps in attempt to make this happen).
  • Hydrate. Drinking plenty of water is also one of my top tips. Most people don’t drink nearly enough per day, we’re 80% water, so if we’re not keeping this topped up it’s no wonder we are mentally and physically underperforming. I try to drink two to three litres a day!

The point is, no apartment or avocado brunch is worth sacrificing your health over. If there isn’t a healthy, happy functioning YOU, then none of it is worth it.

Your body is your home, so don’t destroy that one in pursuit of another.

I’d love to hear what self-care rituals you all have!

Love and light

Jenn xx

 

 

 

 

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