After I graduated from design school, I unknowingly set myself on a path towards serious burn out, something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Day after day, night after night, I continually put myself out there, made long lasting connections, and ramped up my blogging as much as I could. All in the name of “success.” And it worked. I started getting serious clients, made more money than I needed, and quickly became addicted to my career at only 23 years old. At that point, I didn’t realize the quiet warning signs telling me to slow down. So I kept going, striving towards goals I thought I wanted for me + my business.
Then, one year ago, on just another normal day at the office (AKA, our spare bedroom), I felt a surge of pain creep up my back and move into my neck and shoulders. I brushed it off as just a “tweak,” not realizing that complete burn out was getting ready to settle in and stay awhile. For weeks, I tried pain meds, new postures, and even started going to the chiropractor, all of which only helped a little bit. They were all surface changes, when really, what I needed was a lifestyle change. But of course, I didn’t quite “get it” yet. I kept my schedule overflowing with clients while simultaneously planning a wedding, online workshop, and a trip overseas. My focus remained strong, but my body was completely falling apart. And it was 100% my own fault. I promised myself that I would slow down after our wedding, but couldn’t quite commit once the time came. I kept going going going, afraid of what it meant to slow down.
A few months after our wedding, my so-called burn out reached it’s peak. As soon as I’d sit in front of my computer for the day, my back pain would ignite making it almost impossible to work. Most days, I’d end up on the floor of my office in tears after just 30 minutes of trying. To be honest, I feel a little bit like a fraud for sharing this with you all, knowing full well that I brought it on myself and there are other’s who deal with much more serious issues each and every day. But burn out does happen, and I wanted to share my story.
On February 4th (I know that date because I instagrammed about it all nonchalantly), I decided that I was over it and ready to make some drastic changes. A few people recommended that I try Yoga With Adriene, while another gave me the name of a local chiropractor that aimed to heel their patients long term. That afternoon, I made an appointment for the next day. And that evening, I did my very first yoga practice ever. I also decreased my client intake, got more sleep, and allowed myself to work (much) shorter days.
Within a week, I could tell that things were changing. I practiced yoga every single day, for at least 30 minutes, but usually more. My chiropractor had me come in 2 times per week for the first month until I could handle more days in between appointments. But more importantly, I started shifting the way I looked at myself and my business. I no longer thought of “success” in terms of clients and money, but instead, gauged it on balance and my ability to be in the moment + follow my gut. To just be myself. It sounds a little hippy dippy, all of this yoga-ing and intention setting. But you wouldn’t get that exact vibe from me if we met in person. It’s more about being happier and lighter overall. And that’s exactly where I am.
Currently, I have the least amount of clients I’ve ever had. Old Bre would have been absolutely freaked out about this, but new Bre is just fine. I have so much gratitude for where I’m at and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. For the ability to take breaks and fly a plane overseas to eat gelato and pasta in Italy. For having a roof over my head. For having an amazing support system. And at the end of the day, I’m just happy to be here, enjoying life with the ones I love.
My new normal has given me the extra time I need to feel better and think about what direction I’d like to take my business. I’m working on getting extremely specific about what I want and do not want to do, realizing that I can mold my little studio into whatever I want it to be. There are no rules, really. ;) And for the sake of transparency, I’m hoping to share some of these choices with you along the way as I make them. Because why not? I miss sharing more on the blog and think it could open up a lot of insightful discussion. More soon (next week), I promise! ♥