The year 2018 was one of the most fun years of my life, but also one of the most taxing years on my body.
My job is to paint a beautiful picture and a fantasy world for my readers; a lifestyle that is pretty to look at, inspiring and hopefully fun to follow. It was my second year in London and I’ve made some amazing close friends that I hang out with on a regular basis, and I managed to do that by networking and putting my self there as much as possible – basically saying ‘YES!’ to everything.
I probably indulged a little too much, said yes a little too much and my fear of missing out made me try to squeeze in as much as I could each week. By the end of summer, I was completely exhausted. I was never home. I lived out of my suitcase a lot, drank too much coffee and didn’t focus on my health. I was constantly getting sick, I lost my voice, and had stomach cramps from a lack of rest.
None of this you will see on my Instagram feed, why? Because the show must go on! I felt that it was my job to work hard, wake up at 5 am to do a morning shoot, and sit up editing until midnight. I was putting so much pressure on myself, but I started to realise I was generating activity, not productivity.
I put too many things in my diary, became too busy and as a result started to lose my creativity because I wasn’t getting enough distance from my work. I became unproductive because I didn’t sleep enough, my to-do list kept piling up and I became overwhelmed. Eventually I hit the bottom, and it was my body that ended up telling me something had to change.
Even though I was feeling exhausted, the one good thing I did was to keep exercising. It was important for me and it was a great release. I think this made it easier for me to bounce back. I left London on the 15th of December and I’ve spent the past 2 weeks resetting my life. I sat myself down and decided to write everything down that was in my head. Everything I can think of and try to process everything slowly.
I kept it simple – started completing to-do lists and crossing them off. I’m planning 2019 and the next six months in detail. All the things I want to achieve both in my work and personal life. For the first time, I feel like I can work on my business rather than in it.
I also took a great break – I went to Bali and enjoyed every bit of it. No make up, no photos, no interrupting a great sunset by filming instead of experiencing it. My mind and body just needed that. For the first time in the past six months, I have clarity and my anxieties have reduced, if not disappeared. I went to some amazing places last year, but coming home to Sydney to be with my family was one of the best things I’ve done. I feel grounded and happy again. I just needed to be around familiar faces, my friends and family. Go to my favourite cafes and restaurants, eat my mum’s home cooking and just hug my dog. All these little things made me happy.
So guys here are some of my tips for a happier you in 2019.
1. Less FOMO (Fear of missing out) and more JOMO (Joy of missing out)
I’ve worked out the reason why I was the way I was this year – because I had a huge fear of missing out. I get all of these amazing opportunities and feel like I have to do all of them. I didn’t want to miss out on any trips, events, parties and the list goes on. Living in London, this is constant! The bottom line is you can’t do them all. You have to pick what is best for you without giving too much of yourself away. What is best for you financially, physically and mentally. Pick and choose things that benefit you. Enjoy that times that you are missing out because you get to be at home with your family and connect with people who love and care about you the most, or even just spend time with yourself relaxing. It’s ok to miss out on things. Enjoy your down time. Run a bath and make your self a cuppa. Enjoy it.
2. Write down to do list
At the end of October, I had over 2000 emails that I needed to go through, 5 blog posts, I was behind on my Youtube videos. I was behind on my sleep – hahaha I was so overwhelmed. My list was so big that it scared me to look at it so the best way for me to deal was to keep ignoring it and hoping it would go away. But it doesn’t. You have clients to keep happy and people are relying on you to deliver. I had to dig deep and get it done. But this was causing so much anxiety, until I started doing my weekly and daily to do list and crossing them off. By breaking down my problems on paper, it made it easier for me to process and solve them. Crossing them off made me feel good and this is the only way to manage my anxiety about work. I have found that I start breaking things down easier by sectioning my work into intervals:
Yearly: What are your achievable stretch-targets for the year ahead?
Monthly: How can I achieve those targets using the sum of 12 individual months’ worth of work?
Weekly: How can I impact my monthly goals in the next 7 days?
Daily: What am I doing today to complete my weekly tasks, and am I ahead or behind schedule?
3. Reserve your energy. It’s ok to say no.
I am a bit of a yes girl. I would say yes first without even thinking twice. Then last year I got to a point that I was giving myself away too much to things that weren’t important, and as a result I ended up with no energy left to do anything properly. So remember, quality not quantity!
Warren Buffett’s talks about the importance of saying no to most things in order to maintain integrity. If you don’t keep some of your energy, your time and your resources for what is important to you, you cannot reasonably expect integrity to fall easily within your values.
It’s hard to say ‘no,’ when the decision is binary between yes or a categorical no. Warren suggests a “too difficult” category. When a request comes in, he doesn’t just evaluate between yes and no… sometimes it is not a full yes and it is not a complete no… it is too difficult.
So guys make sure you look after your self first. It’s ok to say no, or simply park it in the ‘too difficult’ spot until your subconscious works it out.
4. Be healthy 80% of the time.
I love food, there’s no doubt about that. You should be allowed to eat anything you want, but everything in moderation. I’m allowed to pig out a little if I want to, so long as I try to remain healthy 80% of the time. I find that if I cook more, I tend to be more healthy with my choice of food and there’s nothing better than a home cooked meal.
5. Get fit and keep exercising.
I think the only thing that kept me sane this year was my love of exercising. I love going for a run in the morning to clear my head and I love sweating. There’s obviously no doubt that exercise releases serotonin or happy hormones, so that’s why you feel so good after your work out. If you hate working out at the gym, consider a group exercise like F45 or Kobox. Get out there!
6. Take time off work. It’s ok to switch off.
This is such a weird concept to me but one that I now embrace fully. I try to work regular office hours now and not be editing all night long. I had to plan my days better so that at night time, I can switch off and have time to wind down before I sleep. On weekends, I try to leave my phone at home for a day if I can. This way I can really be present in the moment. My life has to be shared online 24/7.
7. Spend more time with your family and friends.
There’s nothing I love more than sitting around the table and eating my mum’s home cooked Thai food. She’s an amazing cook and makes everything from scratch. She feeds my soul and like that she always say to me, “I cook from my heart.” I’m instantly happier, I feel healthy because I know every ingredient that went into that dish. I love spending time with friends and not taking photos. Just to be with them. So much of my job is about documenting every single moment and it’s such a joy to just around and not having to worry about any of that once in a while and just be present in the moment.
Thank you so much for reading guys. I want to wish you guys the most amazing 2019. It’s going to be a big one and I hope you cross off all the lists that you make this year!
Lot of love,