On Saturday I released a post on having a side hustle with endometriosis; I explored the impact endometriosis had on my past business ventures and career paths and how I'm now learning to work around endometriosis to still achieve my dreams. Yet in this post I also admit that having a side hustle with endometriosis is hard, and that my personality traits can make balancing the two harder.
Today I want to offer a deeper insight into what I have learnt about myself and my approach on this journey, and what steps I think you can take to find that balance, look after yourself and still reach those goals...
Prioritise - One of my main things, which you probably all spotted in my last post, is that I have a habit of taking on too much. I do it and then a couple of mini-breakdowns later, I streamline. I'm trying to get to the point where I don't have to streamline, but it's baby steps and all that. From my mini-breakdowns-streamlining process, I've learnt that we tend to get caught up so much in the bigger picture and the constant need to expand, that we try to get things done all at the same time i.e. setting up a shop and the mentoring programme, and the podcast all at once. Now I'm streamlining I've realised I don't need the mentoring programme and the shop right now, I just wanted to feel like I was making progress (as if two websites and a podcast aren't enough?!). But actually, trying to run these two is just slowing me down with all of it, so I'm not really progressing at the pace I want anyway because I can't get everything done. I'm better off doing my podcast and the sites really well, and then expanding once those foundations are firmly set.
Be realistic - Goals are awesome, but be honest with yourself - how realistic are they? I've set myself so many crazy goals that unless I work myself into a hospital bed, I'm just not going to achieve them, and I end up disappointed with myself. It's actually quite a sick masochistic habit of mine, that I can't stop setting myself these goddamn crazy goals. But my life coach and I are on it and we're getting me to take them down a notch. It's fine to push yourself, but it's even better to get that feeling of pride and achievement when you reach your goals, so allow yourself to stretch yes, but make sure you can actually reach where you're aiming for. This isn't about saying you can never get to that big goal, but really think about how long it's going to take and how much work needs to be put into it - sometimes baby steps are a much more sustainable way of getting there. It's better for you and better for the side hustle if you can pat yourself on the back at the end of each month and not chastise yourself for not doing well enough. People grow and goals are reached with encouragement.
Focus on quality - I've realised that this year, I've squeezed so much in, that the quality of my work has been sacrificed. There really is no point in me doing all this work if it's not of use to you guys or it doesn't feel detailed enough or relevant enough because I haven't had the time to really focus on it. So, I'm going back to basics and spending the majority of my time writing good posts and recording good podcasts, instead of getting caught up in all the add-ons. Think about where you can do the same. This is heavily linked to the streamlining process, what is the essence of your project/brand/business etc? Find that and make it really good, the rest will come when that's standing on its own two feet and showing the world what you're capable of.
Give yourself real time out - I tend to fall into the trap of making time for friends and making time for EndoLife and Soulgraze, and the only time I have for myself is sleeping or when I'm so exhausted I have no choice but to stop. But collapsing at the end of another mini-meltdown is not real time out. Having time to just do nothing or anything you want, gives your brain a chance to take in what's been happening for you recently and just catch up. It's a bit like a reboot or you know, actually turning your laptop off for a while, rather than just being in sleep mode. I don't believe we were designed to be these capitalist machines constantly on the move - I think that's why we're so ill, stressed and unhappy, because we're going against what our bodies were designed to do. So work with it and it will reward you. Honestly, though I'm terrible at doing it, I feel so much better and can do so much more afterwards when I just stop.
See friends and family - One of the things that gets me when I'm hormonal (because you know, everything comes out when you're hormonal or say, drinking white wine) is that I feel like I'm always letting people down and that I'm not a good family member. I'm not the type of person who needs to see their family on a weekly basis, I'm very independent, so I can go months before realising I should probably go see my mum or dad. I also forget to text family members back and reply to friends because I'm so hectic, and somehow when PMS is raging, I remember all this and feel like the shittest person in the world. Of course it's good to see these people because you love them and want to make sure they're okay, but bringing this back to you, it's important to feel you have a sense of community and that you're loved as well. When I am hormonal and this I'm-a-shit-friend-sister-auntie-daughter-granddaughter-cousin thing kicks in, I also feel desperately lonely. Your side-hustle shouldn't mean the rest of your life waits for you until you've got time to carry on with it. Create the life you want with the side-hustle - if you're working every day and night, not seeing anyone or sleeping, you're creating a business that needs to continue forward at that momentum to continue growing and expanding. Create a routine that is sustainable, so the growth you see is real and can be maintained, it's not growth on steroids that you have to be manically pushing to keep up with. So design a lifestyle where once a week or once a month or once every two months, whatever is the norm for you, you get to enjoy time with loved ones. Because time doesn't wait and we're not here forever.
Eat well - I know, I know you hear this all the time. But really. Especially with endo or a chronic illness, this is so important. If you want your body to help you through your side hustle, you need to feed it with the stuff that's going to help it perform. Did you know that what you eat is directly affecting your brain performance? The lovely Natalie Archer from The Endo Co actually told me recently that a diet high in saturated fat negatively affects memory, but omega 3 can reverse this (she studied Nutritional Neuroscience) and this is just one example of what food can do to or for the brain. Check out everything that happened to my performance when I was lacking in B12 for another example.
Women with endometriosis have high levels of inflammation - which has now been directly linked with depression - so we need to use food to our advantage and reduce that inflammation with the right nutrients to help us feel good. I know as soon as I start eating suagr or coffee (I often have a mini-binge after my period, I'm trying to tackle it) I end up feeling low, overwhelmed and anxious, but give me two days without the stuff and it all disappears again. Let me tell you, those feeling do not help me write, they just leave me uninspired and extremely tired. Even if you're not too worried about the inflammation side of things, if you're side-hustling on a full or even part-time job, you're going to want energy on your side and not the kind that causes you extreme highs and lows, like the peaks you get from a chocolate bar. When I ran IDOL I only had time for toast - like seriously, there were days when I'd wake up and have white bread toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner - I just assumed calories were calories and that's all I really needed to get by. But guys I felt SO AWFUL and of course, I ended up leaving. I often wonder how that path would have turned out if I knew I had endometriosis and I just fricking took care of myself a bit more.
Accept that a night out might mean a day off tomorrow - Back to making time for family and friends, making time for fun is really important. Having fun energises you. It makes you feel inspired and happy. Feeling happy is really good for motivation and a sense of well-being that pushes you forward in life. Sometimes though, you have to let something give a little to allow yourself that joy. I know now that if I go out in the evening to a birthday, I'm probably going to struggle the next day. I mean I don't even have to drink, and most of the time I won't, but I'll wake up feeling like I have a hang-over all the same. And if I do drink? Well, it's game over for the day after. I mean that doesn't happen a lot and tbh, when it does I realise me and alcohol are just not friends, but even just one drink will make me feel really ropey the next day. And of course you don't have to be a party person or go out at night to have fun, but in this instance, because it can have such an effect on us endosisters the next day, I am focusing on a night out - whether that's drinking or just chilling with friends at someone's house. Accept that you might not be able to do so much and find peace in that, or just put it in your diary that it's a day off and really embrace that time. Going out and fretting about being out because of the consequences is not fun - you might as well be home hustling. Trust me, I know!
Exercise - You knew this was coming right? Each morning, when I drag myself out of bed, I try to do a bit of yoga or some floor work. Most days I manage it, a lot of the time because I've overslept so much I might only get to five minutes - but for now, a few core exercises and some yoga stretches is good enough. If I'm more determined, I might get up early enough to do 15 minutes and if I have one minute, I do some cat cow moves and a big stretch. It really doesn't matter how long I do it for - I just feel good afterwards. There's lots of science behind why exercise makes us feel good and a lot of that is based around exercise that gets your heart rate up, but I think for me, with yoga, it's because of how mindful the movements are and how conditioned my body feels after. It feels like I've given it some attention and it's really awake. It honestly makes such a difference to my day; I start it off positively and it just takes my performance up a level for the rest of it.
Meditate - If there's one piece of advice from this that I suggest to do the most, it's this one. Meditation just centres me and gets me back to who I really am. What do I mean by that? I can't really explain, it's like all the silly worries and all the societal pressures of life fall away and I am just my truest form and I can see clearly what really matters and that ultimately, everything is okay. When you feel this sense of clarity, what you need to do sort of appears in front of you. Once you start meditating, you'll be able to think clearer about your side hustle and understand what the right way is for you. You won't just meditate one day and then the answers to your success will reveal themselves, it's a constant practice that you need to go to again and again to guide you through life, but I promise, it works. If you don't know where to start, I always suggest Headspace - I have so much to thank for that app. It started my mindfulness journey and took me out of insomnia and depression. And just so you know, that wasn't a sponsored comment! It's just what's helped me and an accessible way to start.
So guys that's it (for now!). Let me know if you liked this post and if it was helpful. You can comment or Instagram me! x