Saturday, 3 November 2018

Blog Detox Update | Lifestyle

I thought it was about time I did a post about what's been happening behind the scenes. I feel like I've been firing lots of content up here over the past couple of months but not saying much about real life or updating you on the blog detox series of posts I did. They were never meant to be posted and forgotten about. I made commitments on them and I want to stay accountable to them.

The biggest change has been the work life one - probably why I've been quieter with personal updates - life is busier than usual.

As well as the usual freelance work and blog stuff, I'm working on an internal communications project for a local company in a proper office - such an adjustment but a great one too. The little things you forget about working in an office - the chats, the camaraderie (the pie eating challenges!), and the most exciting one, the CHRISTMAS PARTY! Lots of blog fodder wth that last one. 14th December.....stand by.

The role is challenging with a fair amount of responsibility but it's just what I needed and the best bit is that it's part time and temporary. I'm glad of the opportunity to see how I get on at this level of accountability, without the pressure of it being long term.

The route to the workplace has been interesting to say the least. I had no success via recruitment agencies or job applications with many surprising comments from agencies, in particular about the amount of time I've been out of the workplace (10 years). There's no way around it, it's a blocker to getting back to work, especially when you're talking to 25 year old recruitment consultants.

I applied for a couple of jobs through the formal application process with little success. One of them was a junior role but in a place I would really like to work and because it wasn't filled the first time I applied (I didn't get shortlisted for interview), it was re-advertised. I applied again with an even better application....and didn't get an interview again! Some organisations simply have really stringent rules around criteria and don't take any time to consider that the person could still be a good fit if they don't meet every single one of the 19 criteria to the extent that is required. I could have done the job with my eyes closed. But that didn't matter. It's seen as a fair way to recruit but it's inherently impersonal and all a bit 'computer says no'.

The job I've ended up in actually came about because of a couple of contacts who heard I was looking for work. One is a blogger contact and the other is a person I'd worked with in the Bank way back. The important thing here is that I shouted out that I was looking - the contact only happened when I took that brave step. It's not easy saying 'giz a job' but in fact it's the only way for people to know. I guess I appear quite busy on here and with the freelance gigs etc. People assumed I was happy as. Lesson learned there - call it out on social if you're looking. You never know who's reading.

I'm working 2-3 full days a week on this project until early December, fitting blog and family around it and so far so good. The housework has suffered, there are a few dodgy dinners on the busy days but it's money in the bank and Christmas is coming.

Outside of work, it's been interesting because since I published my detox posts, the blog has never been busier. It's been a lovely mix of relevant brands and interesting projects that I'm hoping are being well balanced on here with non sponsored stuff (though I know you'll tell me if not!). The nature of blogging is that you get waves of work so it can feel a bit brand heavy at times. But it does all hopefully balance out with more organic content. I should say that I've turned down lots of opportunities too. Either things that weren't a good fit or things I hadn't room for because of other commitments.

The one post I wanted to touch on again is the phone detox one because I've sadly not stuck to it. Although I've reduced my following on social and deleted my Twitter, so I'm definitely scrolling less, I'm finding myself bringing my phone upstairs again at night. This is my declaration to stop that again from tomorrow. It's impacting how late I go to bed and that's having a knock on elsewhere. I don't cope well with lack of sleep!

The sleep thing is important because another positive change I've made recently has been a return to the gym and more regular exercise after a summer of sporadic activity. I've a formal frock occasion with the choir in December and trying on dresses for it reminded me how much muscle tone I've lost around my arms/shoulders. I did a great return to the gym session with a friend this week and have been back twice since as well as park running again. It's that balance of strength and running that keeps back pain at bay, keeps a bit of muscle tone going and helps with my melty head.

And I finish on the melty head because it's ever present. I think most women are guilty of over thinking, doubting, lacking in self confidence and feeling the dreaded imposter syndrome. Being on social media magnifies a lot of this. I've had many moments over recent weeks wondering why I'm still doing this. It's required me to dig deep - to remind myself that I love this blog and I'm so proud of the 8 years of hard work that's gone into it. That there are many many more positive encouraging people out there than anonymous ones who want to get a dig in. Many more who are inspired than are begrudging. Thousands more.

It reminds me to be more thran. Thran is my favourite Northern Ireland word. It's a combination of stubbornness and awkwardness. As women we all need to BE MORE THRAN - unapologetically YOU.

The wisest women I follow on Instagram is Anna Mathur and one of her recent posts fits well here I think:
'I love the person I've become because I've fought to become her'
'One of the most exhausting but worthy fights I've fought and continue to fight. Fights against inner voices and echoes of words said by others. Fights against labels and assumptions. Fights against desires to run and hide in the comfort of solitude. Fights in spite of scars and 'you can't'. Fights against the immense discomfort of vulnerability. Fights against an ingrained desire to please others and fear rejection. 
Keep picking up the sword my friend. Exhausting as it my feel sometimes, one thing it will never be in the end, is fruitless' 

Ax
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4 comments

  1. I totally get the "melty head" and those critical inner voices are not easy to shake off, but it seems like you know what to do to combat that with the exercise. I love your blog and it seems to strike a good balance.

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  2. After been crazy busy I've finally had a day to stop and relax and I both to read your blog, not just instagram. Live it as always - you are a breathe of fresh air A, thanks x L

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  3. Inspiring stuff. I'm a qualified counsellor yet lacking the belief to go it alone and set up private practice.... Maybe it's time I did.

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  4. So inspiring Avril. I too cancelled my Twitter account last week. I hadn't been using it for a bit as I really hate the negativity of it all so I finally bit the bullet and got rid of it, along with quite a few other time-eating apps.

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I love reading your comments and will reply as soon as I can if you have a specific question. If for any reason, you are unable to leave a comment, just drop me an email at avril@alifetostyle.com or leave a comment on the A Life to Style Facebook Page! Thank you xx

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