Since starting the new year, with my new years resolutions in mind, I’ve been working on ways to make “shifts” and changes to see those resolutions realized. And honestly, they aren’t so much “new years” resolutions as they are long-term life style goals. New Years just happened to be a convenient time to summarize and put them in writing. It was also a convenient time because I always close my online shops over the holidays (mostly because I’m completely burn out at that point and want nothing more than to crawl in my bed and not get out until spring!).
I’m not so much talking about the shop closures, I’ll still close them over the holidays to spend time with my family and take a vacation, .. I’m referring to the burning out, feeling completely frazzled, depressed, and almost regret starting my business in the first place. Notice I said ALMOST. When I lose sight of why I started my business in the first place it’s easy to think “this just isn’t worth what it’s doing to my health!”. Thankfully I know the work I do makes a difference and since I’ll never stop making skin care products for myself and my family, I might as well make a batch that’s big enough to share right? Right!
Something Mary (aka Urban Girl) says in her blog bio comes to mind, “I spend my days doing what I love…running my own little business…trying everyday to keep it from running me.“ Ain’t that the truth!
But, I know that without some changes – be it in thinking, or processes – I wont make it through another holidays season! Working is important to me, so is bring productive, creative, and helpful. My health is more important though. And I’ve lost sight of that in the not so distant past.
So what has made me not just realize (because I realized a couple years ago) but also act the vision of a burn out in my future?… a burn out that will inevitably close the Batty’s Bath studio for good? The words are just as hard to type as they are to think… and I still haven’t verbalized them – this is my way of working up to that…… I believe that my “flares” are not so much flares any more .. but rather just the progression of the my diseases.
Actually, I should say, a progression of one of my disease. My Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is well controlled at the moment (thank goodness!). To me, Ankylosing Spondylitis is the scariest of my two conditions (and not because I’m actually an ankylosaurus! RAWR!). Currently, the needles help – the have stopped things from getting worse so far, the pain the damage in my SI joints causes can be mostly covered up, etc). The “mega flares” are my AS acting up. Other than the mega flares it doesn’t bother me too much as long as I don’t miss any medication. My fibro on the other hand? Not so much. It’s out of control. The flare ups get worse, they get longer, they get harder to keep away. I was up less hours this past two weeks than ever before (minus the semester I got diagnosed with AS… that was rough). I feel like every inch of my body has ran a marathon, while hung over, only to fallen down a hill, and tripped into a pit of invisible quicksand that now live in.
It leaves an unsettling feeling because that means, if I’m right, that the state that I once thought of as “a flare” – an increase in symptoms – is now par for the course. And the new definition of flare for my body is something worse… there may be a new definition of mega flare in the works.
Speaking of mega flares, I haven’t had a “mega flare” in well over a year – mega flares for me means that my AS is acting up (I don’t know what a mega fibro flare would be considered… perhaps after I accept this state I’m in as par, a mega flare would be whatever is next on my fibro symptoms chart.
I do know what my mega Ankylosing Spondylitis flares do thought. They cause me to limp severely, walking is extremely painful, my legs give out, stairs or even slight elevations are out of the question, and sleep is next to impossible. When these mega flares hit me it’s almost always winter, or after summer festival…. winter because of the cold or because of a fall (if Tracy and Lacey are reading this they know what I’m talking about! lol)… but why the summer festivals? Because they are exhausting. Pain is hard enough to deal with but combined that with heat exhaustion, long hours, and stress and we’ve got a cocktail sure to cause a mega flare every time. Actually, in almost every summer festival we’ve done, I’ve missed at least a full day completely due to not being able to get out of bed (and if I did manage to get myself out of bed, it wasn’t long before I was vomiting, passing out, or falling asleep standing up!).
This year instead of making decisions on what’s best for the business first, I’m putting Batty’s Bath in the backseat.
Will the business slow in growth? Probably.
Will I be able to fill as many requests as I normally do? We’ll see.
Will I be at as many shows as I can book? Definitely not.
Actually, the first thing to go in this year’s schedule was summer festivals.
So what does this mean for how I’ll run my business it? It means that as soon as the last holiday order was out the door, I became working on ways to make this year easier to handle. But not without first redesigning the whole website, setting up a completely new online shop, moving my blog here and reorganizing it (still working on that one!), redesigning every bit of packaging, and starting the process of a new logo and brand imagery. Ya, I couldn’t wait. I don’t mean that in an enthusiastic “I can’t wait to work on the computer with my messed up eye for hours on end over Christmas and New Years!”… no no.. I mean it in an emotionally sanity type of way. That sounds contradictory (a need to relax before I burn out verse I overloaded my workload when I was supposed to be on holiday), so let me try to explain. I wanted to start the new year fresh and without working about big overarching parts of the business that need to be in place. Sure I could have left what I had but then that wouldn’t be starting the new year “fresh” in all aspects would it? Nope, and when I feel a big shift starting in my life, I like the all or nothing / break free and clear type of moves.
I sure I can’t imagine all the ways in which this “shift” from the “it’s a flare” thinking to “this is my new life” thinking will fully have on 2012 until we are in 2013, but one thing is for sure. It’s going to take a focused effort to put my health first, and the business second. It’s far to easy to say “sure we’ll do another show!” or think “I’ll just stay up for one more hour“… and Drew can tell you that “one more hour” or “as soon as I finish this I’ll get some rest” means he’ll find me hours later – like the next morning later – still working away. This has to change. And it’s not a change that will come easy for me. My priorities for helping, creating, and being productive has always come first before ANYTHING for as long as I can remember. But, that road is short and I want to be in this for the long haul.
Slow and steady…
bit by bit…
one step at a time…
These will be new mantras for me.
It’s intentional but needed to make sure I don’t burn out and close up shop. I suppose in a sense, putting me first, is still putting the business first. It’s one of those win win situations that doesn’t really seem like it… it seems more like a “I’ll take most of my eggs out of the business basket, and put them over here in mine again”… But I guess then that makes me the chicken lol… the chicken whose eggs are really energy, motivation, and happiness. I’ve gotta have something in my basket to be able to put anything in the biz basket in the first place. I think I just lost myself with my own analogy. Let’s move on….
… to these ridiculously long blog posts….”Ya, what’s THAT about?” you may be thinking. Well, one of the ways I’m putting me first is to get back into the habit of journaling and this time, my blog is my journal. Read carefully… journal, not diary. I’ll still write helpful articles, informative ingredient updates, share studio pictures, and the like…. but I’ll also be taking time regularly for activities that help me cope and feel better…. turning my thoughts into written words is one of those activities. If you’ve read this far in the post – THANKS! I really appreciate it! If this is the last time you read to the end of one of these long “batty rambles”, that’s ok. If you just skimmed and make it to this sentence, that’s ok too. Because ultimately, these posts are for my emotional health…nothing more.. nothing less. They help me not only relax and live in the moment, but they also relieve the guilt I already feel for taking time from my business and in turn from the people who have supported me the most – my customers – I cherish each and every one of you! I see you as my Batty’s Bath family! I don’t want to let down! It will be a continue struggle between the guilt and the steps it will take to find balance. Balance to care for myself and nurture my BB family. The ultimate goal… the success of finding balance… and the benefits that go along with are far too great to ignore or not strive for now that I’m running on less than ever before.