Why It's Been So Hard For Me To Find A Work/Life Balance

Why It's Been So Hard For Me To Find A Work/Life Balance I came into 2017 with a long list of goals. They weren't really resolutions, they were more of a long list of tasks I wanted to achieve. I shared some of them on this blog, and some of them were kept seperate. A big part of my goal for this year was to achieve a better sense of calm in my life. You may or may not know this about me, but I'm a highly anxious/stressed out person. I love work, and I love what I do so much, but I definitely find myself frequently getting over stressed, and over exhausted.

So when I tell you that two weeks into January, I experienced possibly the most stressful week of my career yet, you'll laugh at me, right? Come on, I'm two weeks in to 2017, and I was already failing! Well, you could look at it that way, but actually, it was a blessing in disguise. You see, I came back from Switzerland, and I hadn't shot any commercial or fashion work in a couple of weeks, and I missed it! So what did I do? Crammed four shoots into one week, plus meetings on the days I wasn't shooting, and before I knew it, I had 7 fully booked days in a row. When it came to that Monday and I looked at the week ahead, I felt my throat begin to close up: How on earth would I manage to do so much in such a short space of time? Where was I going to have my rest? The truth was: I wasn't.

I powered on through that week, and despite enjoying the shoots I did, and the meetings I attended, I came to the end of the week completely and utterly drained. I didn't want to move... in fact, I couldn't move! I actually hurt everywhere! But it was a massive wake up call. I looked at my diary for the weeks coming up, and following the wonderful advice of Hayley Bisofsky (you need to look her up if you haven't already) I blocked out days in my diary called "Me Days." These are days where I don't book in meetings, shoots, or anything work related. They're days that I can spend at home, seeing friends, or doing whatever I feel like; if that's working at my desk - that's fine - but the focus is that I get to choose.

I've been doing this for the past two/three weeks ever since that crazy week, and I've also come up with a very clear idea of how many shoots/meetings I am capable of taking on per week. I've written myself guidelines, and I'm going to follow them. I won't lie, I have been approached by people in these past two weeks asking if I'm free a week later, and yes, perhaps I could have taken out one of my "Me Days" and filled it in with a shoot, but looking at the grand scheme of things, would that be wise? Would I be able to perform at my highest ability? Would I be able to deliver the quality that my client wants? The answer is most definitely not - not if I'm feeling stressed, burnt out, or exhausted.

And that's what all this comes down to; I need space, I need time, and I need those days to be free to focus on me and what I need, because if I don't do that, I'm useless to everyone. There will be people out there who are able to work every day, shooting two shoots a day, two months straight and feel totally fine. If that works for them, that's great! But it doesn't work for me, not at all.

So next time you're feeling overwhelmed, pressured or feel like you have to be working harder with each day, take a step back and think: are you really working to your best ability? Would you not be better giving yourself some time, and space to recharge your batteries, and approach each project with as much energy as the last? I know that I do!

Don't get me wrong, this is something I'm having to work very hard on. I still find myself wanting to add more to my diary, to push harder, to go that one step further, and sometimes I do... but I'm also becoming better at knowing what my limits are, and respecting them.

How do you balance your weeks out? What strategies do you use to find that balance? Is it something that you struggle with? Comment below; I'd love to know (that rhymes..hehe!).

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Why It's Been So Hard For Me To Find A Work/Life Balance

 

The Girls Guide to Being Sick at Home

The Girls Guide to Being Sick at Home | Oliviablogs.com Hello everyone!

As I write this, I'm not feeling my best. After what was a really lovely lunch date with one of my good friends on Saturday, I began to feel slightly queasy as the day went by. Things took a turn for the worse at 6pm when I really felt sick, and by 9pm... well... I'll spare you the gory details. Let's just say I didn't get a very good nights sleep.

Getting sick sucks. No one likes it (obviously), but when disaster strikes, there's only one thing for it... or a few things actually.

  1. Stay In Bed If You Need To: I didn't get much sleep on Saturday night. I would dose off, and about an hour later wake up due to the nausea taking over. This happened all night long, and when it came to 6am, I gave up and got out of bed to watch TV. Anything to take my mind off how I was feeling. But by 8am, I was exhausted again, so back to bed I went, and I slept for another two hours. I got up, mooched around for an hour, and went back to bed again. Honestly, it was the only thing I could do! When you're really that sick, just listen to your body. Your body will repair itself while you sleep, so it's extremely likely that your bed will beckon to you, so get back in!
  2. Watch Something Funny: The last thing I wanted to do while the nausea was at its worst was watch anything that related to food. I just couldn't even look at anything food related. My film choice? The Little Mermaid. It was midnight, and it was the only thing that sounded like it wouldn't make me squeem. I didn't watch it all, but it was a good distraction until I attempted more sleep. When I woke up, the worst of the nausea had subsided, so I watched something a bit funnier. My mum had been telling me about a Channel 4 show called "Catastrophe" which aired a few years ago, and how funny it was. I'd already started watching it a few weeks ago, but I have more to watch still, and it's been perfect!
  3. Drink All The Tea: This works whether you're sick with a stomach bug like me, or if you've got a cold, or anything really... Warm drinks just seem to sooth everything and make your insides feel so much happier. I've had no appetite at all for 48h now, and when nausea seems to hit me, I've been making myself big cups of warm peppermint or ginger tea. I'm peeing loads, but my tummy feels better for it!
  4. Take A Bath: Going back to warmth, there's nothing that seems to sooth everything more than a hot bath. You can really go to town as well, throw in a bath bomb or a lovely smelling bath liquid. Get those bubbles going, put on some quiet music and just lie there for a little while. I've had three baths in two days, because they really seem to calm my nausea (no idea why) and they help make me feel so much better.
  5. Read: Headaches suck, and screens seem to make them so much worse for me. I've definitely not read a huge amount this weekend, mainly because reading has been putting me to sleep, but in those times where I don't want to do anything involving a screen, I've been snuggling on the sofa with a book or magazine and the relaxation has been so helpful.
  6. Don't Force It: If you're anything like me, you're going to want to get up, do house chores, get back to work on emails, write blog posts (ok, that's what I'm doing right now so I should take my own advice but... I'm on the sofa so it's ok, right?!), but you really should try to just sit still and let your body work it's magic to make you better. I find it incredibly hard to sit still for too long. I get bored, fidgety and annoyed, but the moment I tried to make myself do anything too strenuous, I felt worse for it. So sit still, watch TV, read those books and take it easy!

The Girls Guide to Being Sick at Home | Oliviablogs.com

 

What I'd Like to do in 2016

Self Portrait by Olivia Bossert I'm not very big on New Year's Resolutions. I've never really made them before, because I know for a fact that I'm setting myself up for failure. A New Year's resolution kind of implies to me that in the whole previous year, I've been doing things wrong. I'm quite an ambitious person, though, so I'm always setting myself goals. With Christmas almost here, and New Years approaching fast, resolution stuff begins to pop up left, right and center, and of course that makes me start to reflect on what new goals (or current goals) I'd like to work on. Let's call it a "refocus."

  1. Work. I'm a work-a-holic. I've been "working" on some kind of project since I was 15, all the time. It started off with photography at 15 and it consumed me. Then Atlas came about, and that's been my primary focus since I was 20. We've got so many big projects for Atlas, and I won't go into massive detail about them now because this blog isn't really supposed to focus on Atlas, but I'd like to grow the business more, take our print issues worldwide, grow our audience, and collaborate with more brands in future. It's exciting! See what we're up to here.
  2. Photography. My photography took a bit of a back seat for a few years (for various reasons), but I'm feeling incredibly inspired lately and have been thinking about what kind of work I'd like to produce. My day to day work with Atlas involved reviewing submissions from talented people all around the world. It definitely gets me inspired, and I'd like to start shooting again, more frequently, working with local Cornish designers. I've seen some of the talented designers there are in the area, and it's so inspiring! I'd also like to use film more. It's a medium I adore to work with, but didn't feel confident enough to really test out when I was younger.
  3. Fitness. I'm currently working towards some new goals, which is ongoing and has started well before the New Year. In a nutshell, I'd like to finally push the excess body fat I have around my middle. No, it's not big, and no I'm certainly not overweight at all, but I'm someone who likes to see how far I can go, and I would really really like to be confident in myself in a bikini. I know it's very superficial, but this is a place for honesty, right? I'd also like to see how strong I can get! In the past 6 months, I can't believe how much stronger and fitter I am. Never in a million years did I think I'd be able to run 10 miles (16km), but I can! And I can just about deadlift 60KG (we're working on it), I've improved my sprint time by 5 seconds, I sit between 150 W and 160 W in my spin class, and I can punch harder than I ever thought I could before. Feeling myself get stronger and fitter is the most incredible thing and I can't wait to see where I am in 6 more months!
  4. Health. 2015 was a big year for me in terms of my digestive health. It's well known on this blog that since I was 15, I've struggled more and more with my IBS. It steadily got worse, then when I was 20 I made changes, and it got better, but it would still come and go in waves. I went on the Low FODMAP diet this summer, and it has been life changing for me. Hard, I'll admit, and there are certain things which still trigger my IBS (ie. stress) but overall, I'm so much better than I ever was. All I really want to do in 2016 is to carry on eating what makes me feel good, developing recipes that are Low FODMAP, and sharing them here! (PS. I have loads of new ones, but I'm currently visiting my parents in Switzerland, so I can't photograph any of them to share with you!)
  5. Happiness. One thing that I realized (big time) this year was how important it is for me to take the time to relax. I have a problem where I feel guilty if I'm not constantly working. I feel like there's so much to do, and I'm totally aware of it, so if I stop, sit on the sofa and watch Homeland with my boyfriend, I get a pang of guilt because, really, I could be at my desk hammering out more emails or doing more strategy work. But taking that time out every day to do something that I enjoy, even if it's as simple as reading a few blogs, or watching some YouTube videos refreshes me, and I'm so much more productive (and enthusiastic!) if I've been able to recharge my batteries. In 2016, I'd really like to continue to do that.

So there you go, some goals which aren't really goals cause I'm sort of already doing them, but things I'd like to carry on doing! I find the end of the year is, more than anything, simply a really good time to reflect, think about where you are, and what you'd like to continue working on.

What are your "resolutions?" Do you have any? What's your take on New Year's resolutions? Let me know in the comments bellow!

What I'd Like To Do In 2016 - oliviablogs.com

The Importance of Wearing a Sports Bra

The importance of wearing a sports bra Right girls, lets talk boobs.

This is something I'm pretty passionate about, mainly because I can't even begin to think about working out without my sports bras (ouch!). I see SO many women in the gym, pounding on the treadmill or the  pavement... wait for it...wearing a NORMAL BRA.

Ladies! Oh my goodness! First of all, how do you do it? Does it not pain you? I know I can't. And second of all, it's doing so much damage to your boobies! Most exercise will make your breasts move up and down, no matter what size they are. Let's briefly delve into the nitty gritty of it here. Basically your breasts are made up of lots of fatty tissue which are surrounded by ligaments. These ligaments are very sensitive, and if they get broken or stretched, nothing can be done to repair them. Whether your boobies are big or small, you've got these ligaments there, so when you're out buying a sports bra, consider what kind of exercise you're going to be doing before you purchase. Do you run a lot? You'll definitely need a few high impact sports bras. If it's more low impact exercise, then go for one designed for those activities. The bra photographed above is my low impact yoga bra (ie. the pretty one). Essentially, by spending a bit of extra money now, you're helping to preserve your boobies in the long run!

Everyday bras are also not designed for be worn during exercise. That might sound really obvious, but it's 100% true! The fabrics in them won't allow your skin to breath, so you'll end up with sweaty, very hot boobies. Sexy? Not really! On top of that, sweat is definitely going to ruin your pretty lace bra.

Need another reason? Sports bras can be so pretty! Just head into any sports store, and grab a few. Designs are improving all the time now. I recently bought a few new ones, and went from having lots of black ones, to pink, blue, and multicoloured. Such fun! This is your excuse to go shopping.. woohoo! My favourite brands are Shock Absorber and H&M. 

Let me know what your favourite sports bra brands are. And if you've been wearing your normal bras for your exercise, I hope I've been able to convince you to invest!

PS. I've giggled every time I wrote the word boobie. I'm that immature. PSS. Yes, I giggled again.

My Favourite Health and Fitness Websites

Favourite Fitness WebsitesThe main way I got into health & fitness was by discovering other peoples' fitness journeys. I find stories of people better themselves or overcoming challenges extremely interesting and inspiring. So today I thought I would share with you some of my favourite websites to inspire you!

Tone It Up These were probably the girls that got me from thinking about gymming a bit, to taking it very seriously. First of all, just look at them! Who doesn't want to look like a Californian beach babe? I certainly do! I have their nutrition plan which I followed for a while, and still do to a certain extent. They encourage us all to live clean, green and lean, and it's a mantra I try to keep in my head. The nutrition plan is wonderful value for money: it's a  one off fee, and you continue to receive the updates for the rest of your life. The sense of community these girls have created is out of this world, and the workouts are really really good! If you're looking for somewhere to get started with working out and starting to eat clean, Karena & Katrina are your girls.

Jessica Sepel Jessica's website is all about healthy food, and most of all, a healthy balance. She's somebody I only discovered recently, but it was love at first sight! I'm obsessed with her hair (WANT!) but also her food is just incredible. She writes lovely blog posts, and is really knowledgable about food and nutrition. She's recently released a book, but is only available in Australia for the time being. It's coming out in the UK next year, and I can't wait! I've got her EBooks, and they're really great.

The Skinny Confidential Lauryn is another cali beach babe, but she's all about keeping healthy living fun! I love her blog posts, and her writing style. It gets me chuckling every time. She's honest, and not afraid to get personal about her own body and I love that. If you're looking for a website that's got fitness, style, food and fun all rolled into one, this is one I recommend.

Fit Personality/Katy Gracefully  I'm obsessed with Katy. I want to be her. This girl is fearless, hilarious and beautiful. She took her Freshman 15, and turned it on its head, only to become a seriously hot runner, whilst building up her blog. Katy comes across as the most genuine girl ever. I love her writing style.. but most of all I want her life! Running around in Hawaii sounds like a dream. Check Katy out if you want motivation to get out there and get fit, but have loads of fun while doing it.

Pinterest Sound weird? No but seriously, it may be obvious but Pinterest is brilliant when it comes to inspiration and motivation for healthy living. If I'm ever stuck in a rut with no idea what to make for dinner, one quick browse and I've got 1000000 ideas. Need motivation to work out? I'm not a massive fan of staring at women with six packs because, personally, it has the opposite effect on me and just makes me feel like poo. But one thing that Pinterest is full of is workouts and how to's, and they're usually so easy to follow, before you know it you've done a whole workout, and you're feeling great! What are you waiting for? Get pinning!