Last week I took a stress test. I’m not sure I’ve done one before. It was hosted on the BBC website and was a simple multiple choice test. Questions such as ‘do you lie awake at night, and are you unable to sleep thinking about the things on your mind?’, or ‘does your health suffer due to the pressures you feel under?’… You know the kind.
As it happens, my current stresses are at a moderate level. Not too bad considering I come from a long line of worriers. I’m sure genetics and the way we are brought up both have a part to play in how we handle stress, and not that I blame these factors but I’m already on a bad footing. I think I handle things very well considering.
So my current stress levels are moderate. However I did fill in the test with my ‘pre-mac failure’ stress levels when I was working at full capacity and the results weren’t good, my stress was almost off the chart.
So let’s be frank for a minute. I don’t think I have honestly talked about stress on the blog before. I don’t much talk about stress with anyone really apart from my family. The big reason probably being that I’m a big believer in positive thinking. But also because I don’t want to think any worse if me, to judge me for being a worrier. I have been one all my life. As I get older the stresses get worse and the worry increases, and I’m glad to say the good thing is, I am learning to cope better. My stresses come from the fact that I love a full and busy life. I’m also perfectionist and like to be a high achiever, and whichever way I put it, my confidence and value are built around those things. This means I take on to much, and then get stressed trying to handle juggling all the wonderful little projects I have on the go. Unfortunately this leads to feeling miserable when the stress levels start to rise.
I have also recently seen the impact these rising stress levels have on my family. I realise my husband and children all carry a portion of my stresses and pressures. Whether I need a shoulder to ‘cry on’ or a little person to ‘hurry up, as we haven’t got all day’, they are all effected by my stress. After I had talked over with Jason the idea of ‘taking a break’ I could visibly see the release of pressure from him and there was more of a spring in his step. So my stress makes my family feel miserable too.
All of these factors have lead me to the point of assessing my life and my work. I’d like to be a little less stressed and a little bit happier. Don’t we all? I have noticed a visible reduction in my stress levels recently without having my business to work on. I have been happier. I have had more time to give to running the home and looking after my family. Those things make me happier too. The thing is, I really love my work, and do not want to give it up. I have missed it so much over the last few weeks. I’m disparate to get back to picture taking, editing and sharing.
On balance I have decided to cut back a little. I think it’s the only thing I can do. For the time being I won’t be taking on any weddings. I put my heart and soul into every wedding I photograph and it takes me hours of work from start to finish. It’s a heart breaking decision as I love being apart of people’s lives during this incredible event. But right now, something needs to be cut back, and unfortunately this is the first casualty. My focus instead will be on family and corporate work.
The second casualty will be charity work. We have had a great year and have felt so well supported as we have undertaken the huge challenge of organising fundraising events for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. But it is time to take a break from this too. I’m happy to get involved with the occasional baking spree, but I think that needs to be the limit. My focus instead will be – raising my brilliant boys.
Finally a little less blogging, or at least blogging smarter. It’s all about great content and great pictures. For that to be done well it takes time. So I’ll be focusing more on the things I love; be that cooking, crafting or home and family. There may not be a post every day, as there has been for the last few months, but when I do post I hope it will be good! My new focus instead will hopefully help me to connect and share my great content with others.
I’m really hoping that cutting back in these areas and refocusing will really help me to reduce the stress levels, meaning a happier me. And a happier mummy means a happier family.
Day thirteen – Reasons to be Grateful – the ability to take stock and reduce stress levels.