Self Care Sunday Series
With guest blogger, talented designer, fantastic business woman and super Mummy Jen.
Hiya! I’m Jen, Mummy to Olivia 3, Wife, small business owner designer & maker at children’s clothing label Little Pip. After reading the other guest blogs written in Kirsty’s self-care series I was super chuffed that she felt I could write something equally as engaging and helpful as the other inspirational people here and all under the name of her own passionate business. I was raring to go and had plans at that time for creating some creative projects within my own business that I felt could help others discover something in their self-care pursuit in an area they may not have explored before. And then I got a bit stuck… self-doubt for my project ideas, for what I wanted to write and my own self-care was non-existent, making me feel ill-equipped to write this!
For me as for many of the other guest bloggers in this series, starting my own business was initially a form of self-care. Before my Daughter Olivia I literally hadn’t stopped being a highly driven achiever, all my own self-imposed expectations. From school, to college, to university, work experience, apprenticeships then onto my first job in the career path I had chosen, working as a clothing designer for a high street brand in London for 7 years – commuting, travelling overseas on work trips with impossible deadlines to meet… years and years of pushing and achieving, briefly feeling the highs of reaching the ‘target’ and then on to the next - always out of my comfort zone, pushing and constantly feeling on the edge of anxiety. The salary increased, the job role grew and I was ‘living the dream’. Except I was burning out and falling out of love with my choices, feeling lost and ridiculous that everything I’d worked towards was to get me here, yet I wasn’t fulfilled and this time didn’t know what the next target was, a very strange feeling for me.
Falling pregnant and having Olivia was and is my saviour – when I became a Mum, no matter how many years it had taken me to get to where I was in my career (which was my life!) I just knew I was done with that path and it was time for the next chapter. I was so at ease with leaving that behind, I surprised myself! However, the total contentment didn’t last for long and the itch to have a new target to reach soon became something I couldn’t ignore. I was yet again giving my all, but this time to my new baby, which I found the instinctive thing to do and wouldn’t have had it any other way but I was doing absolutely zero for myself again. I was losing me, my creativity, which is the thing that really makes me tick. Along with wanting to add to the household income again and a strong sense of wanting Olivia to grow up seeing her Mum doing what she loves, seeing what’s possible if you set your mind to it, I began setting up Little Pip – a little bit of self-care, spending time thinking, drawing, creating – my soul was on fire again and it still is today.
My business combines my skills learnt and developed over years of studying and working in design as well as my personal love for vintage. I have a deep appreciation for vintage, antiques and curiosities, my ultimate self-care and where I absolutely lose myself, go deep within and come back out feeling energised and inspired is to go vintage market/shop browsing on my own…in silence! It’s heaven for me! I’ve known for a long time I don’t get the feeling I crave with self-care in mind by socialising, going out with the girls, taking time off Mum duty…I just enjoy my own company, I’m naturally quiet natured and a deep thinker. Socialising is definitely a welcome break however, despite being told by many I should do it more often, I know in my heart of heart what makes me truly happy! I find so much tranquillity getting lost in creativity and feel so drawn to the history and craftsmanship behind old things! This is how I source fabrics for my one-of-a-kind children’s clothing and I cant believe that then re-loving these treasures into heirloom childrenswear, doing what I absolutely love from home now gives me and my family an income too!
I often wonder if browsing vintage & antiques or creating with found treasures that just ‘sing’ to you would bring about similar feelings in someone who hasn’t tried it before! I’d love to hear from anyone who has found an interest in vintage recently or would like to try some browsing but doesn’t know where to start! Or even anyone who finds calm and happiness in creating? For me there’s something about connecting to history and aesthetics created by hand that stirs up happy warm emotions for me, perhaps it could for you too?!
I know for sure doing this and creating with my hands instantly brings me joy and when I don’t do it, I miss it and crave it! Now, all the above considered, back to one of the first things I said about self-doubt and non-existent self-care… I am my own worst enemy and that target driven Jen comes back almost weekly encouraging me to push my business (note… initially started for a bit of self-care and including a lot of vintage browsing, which is my favourite self-care past time!) to a point where my work load starts to feel stressful and I’m back in that burn-out cycle again – the targets I seem to be setting myself lately are fuelled by a desire to please my customers! Bring them more, something better, something new and to receive their positive feedback. However sometimes what feels like a great idea one week and takes a lot of energy to work on suddenly feels like the wrong way to go. I struggle with contentment, taking it steady, ‘slow’ living in this respect but equally I know that I get most joy and self-care from slowing it down and enjoying what I’ve built. I guess I’ve got a lot to learn and a lot of self-restraint to practice which I absolutely can as I am my own boss!! It sounds simple then right?!
I know what brings me absolute joy and peace but allowing myself the time to indulge in it is something I’m not so good at! Perhaps some of you are the same? We know ‘what’ self-care practices bring about the best in us but it’s the ‘when’ that we struggle with. When will we allow ourselves to make it a regular thing and for self-care to become a more natural habit?! Practicing purposeful actions is what I’m working on at the moment, stopping and thinking about what I’m doing before hitting the button and announcing the next big thing I’m about to launch for example… I know it’s going to use up as many hours as I can give yet I do it anyway! That’s probably the best bit of pro-longed self-care I can give myself right now and something I want to be well practiced in so that I can pass experience on to Olivia as she grows up – to take your time, one dream or target at a time, stop, pause and take it all in. Enjoy it, learn from it all, notice what sets your soul on fire and follow that path, take a moment to decide what your next step is, taking your own self-care and happiness into account. Question ‘why’ you’re doing something and whether it’s honestly right for you on a weekly basis! Because we’re changeable creatures and we need to keep track of our wellbeing as much as the constant forward planning and target setting some of us set ourselves!
As we are now in lockdown 2, self-care and support is more important than ever, so we wanted to reintroduce self-care Sunday Blog Series. Over the next few weeks Abundance TEC will be featuring guest bloggers on our website and social media platforms to support Self-Care Sunday.
The aim is to raise awareness as to why self-care is so important and to highlight a variety of ways you can implement self-care into your everyday routine to support positive mental health and well-being. These inspiring business owners and bloggers will be providing their own version of what self-care means to them and why they do what they do to look after themselves.
Thank you to the beautiful, creative, business-savvy, intelligent and wonderful Jen for sharing her self-care tips, journey and passion this week.
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