This morning (at precisely 03:36am) I completed two dresses for a client. I have always been a fan of burning the midnight oil and working hard until you hear the birds in the early morning, until last December 2014. It was full blown wedding season and this when Barbara McKenzie gets the busiest. Orders were coming in from left right and center, but unfortunately then, I had committed to a tad more than I could handle.

Fast forward to a few weeks later, 12 December 2014, the day I was meant to drive home. I had not slept in two days, running on Bioplus and Espressos - luckily my friend did all the driving. I was so fatigued. I got home and slept for a full day and a bit.

That was when I learnt a very tough lesson and vowed to never overwork myself like that again. This was the same time that I learned to say no to work that went against what my brand stands for.

Unfortunately, recently my sewing machine gave in which mean that I could not work until it was fixed. Naturally orders were delayed which resulted in a mountain of catching up, and once again in a long time I had to pull those late nights.

As much as I believe in hard work, I believe that one should not kill themselves, and that there should be a balance between work and play. 

I came across this study that was about how too little downtime can end up harming not only your health, but your relationships and productivity as well. It basically explains how the long nights and weeks, compounded over time can be tremendously detrimental to your life and health, and I can totally relate to this. As if not sleeping isn't bad enough, fatigue only makes matters worse! After a number of sleepless nights, I had one breakdown (like the uncontrollable kind of crying) and for the remainder of the week I was literally holding myself together just to avoid bursting out into tears again. Because I juggle all this work, means that half the time I do not see my friends and family as much as I would like to and lastly, when I am up, working late at night, I do get tired and naturally the productivity slows down, what would normally take me an hour to do on a fresh mind and body, can take up to two hours to complete.

The study went on to mention how they noted some of the most common stress-related symptoms from overworking, which were;

  • Impatience (21%)
  • Insomnia (19%)
  • Forgetfulness (13%)
  • Mood swings (8%)
  • Restlessness (7%)
  • Boredom (5%)
  • Temper outbursts (4%) 

I took a look at these and immediately saw quite a few that I am guilty of. Before 2014 I was a proud #TeamNoSleep member, like 'how do you sleep without a degree' kind of girl, but now, over time I've realised how important time-out is. Be it shopping, sleeping in, a weekend away, seeing friends, anything - you need that time to relax your mind and body and also reconnect with the important people in your life. Your life and your body are the only ones you'll get, so it is very important to look after them!

Some of the things that help me relax are;

  • There is just something about a long hot bath to calm you before you get into bed
  • I LOVE MY SLEEP - so sleeping is one definitely
  • I'm a huge binge watcher - I can watch a whole season of something in one go or three movies in a row
  • Gym - running, lifting and punching all your frustrations out at the gym is surprisingly refreshing (what I did today)
  • Some reading
  • I've only recently started travelling and plan to do so much more of it
  • And once in a blue moon hitting the streets.

So with that said, I am glad I've completed most of my orders and look forward to a long and relaxing weekend with loved ones and hope you'll do the same :)