Like most Londoners I live my life at a fast pace, everything is now, now, now but all that changed last year. Suddenly I was exhausted nearly all of the time, after succumbing to a mystery illness that often left me bed bound for days at a time.
Of course to make things a little more challenging this all happened just as I was leaving my secure job for the uncertainty of self employment. After struggling for a long time I finally got diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E) there is no cure for this illness but having a diagnoses meant that I could start to deal with it instead of living with the unknown. As with many chronic illnesses I have to accept that I have less energy than I need and that has required some major lifestyle adjustments, like having to pace myself and plan much more.
All this sounds very grim, and though living with M.E is life altering and not something I’d wish on anyone else, it’s helped me appreciate slow progress.
When I was blitzing through life I missed a lot of the little things and wasn’t appreciative of all of my achievements. Now every step forward seems like a massive achievement and though my life is moving at a slower pace than I would like I am still always pushing and progressing.
I have to make my health a priority in order to be able to live as close to a ‘normal’ life as possible. Though it sounds intense I’m keeping a positive mindset when it comes to looking after myself.
Further educating myself about food and macronutrients has been fascinating and has allowed me to explore more foods types and recipes. I have not turned into a full health food convert and still love pizza, a pint, and vegan junk food but now I try to keep the right balance so my body can have the fuel it needs to perform. To complement these dietary changes and fill in any nutritional gaps I have also been doing a bunch of research on vitamins and supplements, which has been expensive, but in combination with my other lifestyle changes has given me much more energy.
To coincide with the food I have also drastically reduced how much alcohol I drink and upped my water intake not only making me feel more alert but also saving me loads of money.
This is the first time in my life I have looked at my diet without considering my appearance. I think many of us have turbulent relationships with what we put into our bodies, whether it’s about comfort or control its a tough balancing act often linked with our emotions. Finally, starting to change my emotional attachment with food has meant huge progress for me both in terms of mental and physical health.
Hitting the gym
I’ve always been an active person, but the gym seemed like hell to me and was the one place that I could almost guarantee would trigger a panic attack, however recently something in my brain switched. As with food, the gym is no longer about my appearance, exercise is one of the recommended ways of managing M.E and armed with that knowledge I’ve finally been able to turn up, workout, and enjoy myself.
I’ve only been hitting the gym for a month, however I have already seen progress in my fitness levels. Weight however is another story, I have no idea what impact hitting the gym has had on the scales because I’m not using them. The gym is now the place I wake up my muscles, improve my fitness and get those endorphins pumping – and has nothing to do with how I look.
Moving Forward With My Business
My journey into self employment was rocky; between health and personal stresses it did not progress as quickly as I hoped but now I feel like I’m finally on the right track. I’m half way through my business plan, meeting with my Prince’s Trust mentor once a month, completing one new design a week and bringing out a new collection per month.
It’s all go, and I’m loving it! The next thing I need to figure out is marketing and how to increase sales. I’m absolutely delighted to feel like I’m finally progressing with Emma Inks Designs, creating is my passion and I hope I can keep up momentum.
Making a house a home
Buying a house and making that space your own takes a lot of time and effort. As soon as I think we’re done with one thing another crops up and because Pablo and I have been super busy with work our poor little pad has been slightly neglected.
Despite not moving forward as quickly as we originally planned, the house has progressed; I now have a functioning office (you can take a tour on YouTube), the living room is a gorgeous dark grey, and we sleep in a loft bed that we affectionately call ‘the nest’. Next up is to complete our gallery wall (which we got the frames for at the weekend) and tackle our jungle of a garden before summer.
It’s not quite where I want it to be yet but we’ve definitely put our stamp on our little house.
My blog, Instagram and YouTube content has slowed down, I no longer have the energy to churn out three posts a week, shoot two videos, and post to my ‘gram 7 days a week.
It wasn’t just lack of time and energy that prevented me from posting as regularly I also had a bit of a knock to my confidence. With a lack of money and collaborations, I didn’t feel like I was current or cool enough to put out fashion content. Then I pulled myself together, had a root around my wardrobe and got myself out of my comparison filled downer realising that creativity is my strength and that I still had something to offer my audience. That’s why in this post I’m wearing all old clothes mixing both vintage and highstreet, the top is actually old leggings with the crotch cut out because money can buy a stylist not style.
This year I’ve taken a quality over quantity approach and feel like I’ve made progression on all three platforms. All areas have much more clarity and I am enjoying creating much more. I just hope you guys are enjoying this slower pace.
Taking the time to reflect and celebrate slow progress has given me a much more positive outlook. Things may never go to plan and there will always be hurdles but having the realisation that, despite these trials, I am moving forward has been a game changer for me.