Behind every smiling Instagram photo is the untold reality. Just like behind every online business is one very busy owner trying to juggle that delicate line between success and work/life balance.
I am a creative person to the bone and love nothing more than having an outlet for my creative side, so when I first started my handmade business Harold and Florence I knew I was onto something special. That was until the reality of it all sunk in, the reality that it takes 1 hour to make a single cot sheet from start to finish, and then you have to pack them, post them and market them. Minus out all the costs associated with running a business like materials, thank you cards, websites, fees and I was left with a very small amount of pocket money and even less spare time to spend with my family.
My reality was that I was actually, unbeknownst to myself, trying to work through my Post Natal Anxiety by keeping myself distracted. If I could immerse myself into something COMPLETELY, and feel like I was in control again, then all those feelings of uncertainty, failure, and helplessness would fade away. Slowly, this business became a part of my every waking thought and in turn, it slowly took me away from the main reason I decided to start it – more time with my family.
“… you may find yourself wanting to make sure that everything is perfectly in order and under control for fear that you are not doing things ‘the right way’ or that ‘something bad’ will happen. For example, women experiencing postnatal anxiety may find themselves checking on the baby continually (even when asleep) for fear that they will stop breathing…”
SOURCE – COPE
This is why I stopped. Like an addict, I went cold turkey and took one massive step back from my handmade business and this blog. I was burnt out and I had no energy left for anything or anyone. I canceled a number of orders and closed off custom orders on my website. And I took time for myself and my family. I took the time to get myself mentally in a place that I was proud of. That I could look in the mirror and again love the person I saw there. Even I could see I had lost my spark, and I deserved to have it back again.
It has been 6 months now since I made my last handmade business order, and it hasn’t been the smoothest 6 months of my life but I have gotten to the end in a healthier headspace. I have made it a priority to take time for myself and to learn to be selfish because my happiness (and my spark) is contagious and it spreads to those I love around me.
During this time of realisation and self-discovery there where two books that really helped to shape the experiences and emotions I was feeling. Both books are by Australian Author Liane Moriarty who is most famous for her novel Big Little Liars which is now a TV Series on Netflix. Liane has a thoughtful way of looking at the struggles of life and putting them into words and emotions that you yourself could never fully explain. I highly recommend checking out What Alice Forgot and The Last Anniversary – being a Mum to a very active toddler I actually purchased the book version along with the Audible version, so I could listen whenever I was driving to and from work #multitasking.
At the moment you can Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks! Do yourself a favour and gift yourself some YOU TIME – sit back with a cup of tea, take a deep breathe, close your eyes and immerce yourself. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
With this newfound healthy headspace, I started creating again but at a much slower and calmer pace. I hop onto the computer to find my happy place, and no longer as a place to hide. It is with this newfound headspace that I have slowly started working on Vintage at Heart again. I have been updating the blog behind the scenes, and reaching out to others to be apart of what I had built here (but left sitting untouched for the last year). I am not setting myself any schedules or goals, I just want to bring the fun back into sharing my stories with you guys.
R U OK? If you too are struggling with mental health issues, or need someone to talk to please make sure you reach out for help. Just remember, you don’t always have to be strong and try to do it all alone. Follow this link to Beyond Blue for a list of websites and national support lines.
“…. Anxiety is the most common type of mental health problem affecting one in four people in their lifetime – and even more likely to occur amongst women in the year following the birth of a baby.”
SOURCE – COPE