Down days are okay

I really want you to know something. Down days are actually okay.

There's nothing wrong with being human. There's nothing wrong if today, you just don't feel like yourself. Life can sometimes weigh a little more on some days than it does on others. And that is okay.

I've been a little quiet recently, both on the blog front, and the social media front. Part of that has been because I'm working behind the scenes to launch what I hope will be the next stage of my business, but part of it has also been because I've been human. And oddly enough, both of those things go hand in hand.

We live and breathe social media these days. I'm guilty of it myself, losing hours of my day just scrolling mindlessly through Instagram feeds, Facebook posts, and making faces with Snapchat filters (most of which I just save to my phone because they're hilarious). Social media is a great connector, but also a colossal distractor- especially if you're running a business. And throw in the newly coined 'impostor syndrome' that is popping up here and there, and you find yourself lost inside a world that looks more exciting, more glamorous, and more successful than your own. And it can be soul crushing.

Add to it the attempt to build and run your own business. Many, like me, are one-man-bands, learning and managing every aspect that a bigger business has scores of people to do for them- admin, marketing, finance, customer service, production, inventory, emails. It is overwhelming- no matter what stage of business you are at. When you're brand new, you've got no idea if you're doing it right. If you're succeeding and a few years in, and your diary is full to the brim, you're trying to manage everyone's expectations all at once. It is overpowering. If you've reached a crossroads, and you're not too sure what's next, and everything slows to a halt, it's daunting and scary, and full of doubts and fears.

On top of that, add in any other factors that fit the bill- children, mortgages, family, friends, illness, debt, lack of sleep, and guess what. You may find yourself struggling. I'm willing to be honest and tell you- that's okay. You are not on your own.

I hit burnout late last year. Business was booming, socials were growing faster than I could have imagined. I had work coming out of my ears. I said 'yes' to everyone, and it nearly destroyed me. I was broken. I wanted to run away and hide, shut the door to my studio and never go back inside. I felt a bit like an impostor- on the outside, everything looked fantastic, and everyone else I saw on Instagram seemed to be happy as Larry. And here I was, late night meltdowns, and pulling my hair out at the backlog of emails in my inbox, wanting to scream at customers (for no other reason than I was frazzled to the extreme), and yet somehow still putting on a smiling public face for everyone to see. I felt like a broken down fraud.

It was #thelove who suggested I take a step back, and reevaluate where I was at. So I did. I stepped back from social media, reassessed my bookings, found where my fault lines were, and regrouped. And it's actually how I found a possibility for moving forward- because when I allowed myself to see where I was, I discovered that my passion and my drive was still there. It had been buried in the perceived need for perfection, and the fact that I hadn't allowed myself the chance to be human.

I have struggled with the desire to achieve perfection all of my life. Surprisingly (or perhaps not so), perfection is almost impossible to achieve. It equates to a lot of disappointment, and a lot of wasted energy. I'm sure I'm not alone in this- social media is proof of the quest for perfection. What you don't see, is what it takes to make that one image come together. It is these unrealistic ideals that make those less-perfect moments so much harder to accept.

But those moments of humanity are a godsend, I swear. We are fallible, we are breakable, we are forgivable. We make mistakes, we hurt, we cry, we swear, and we fall down. But when we fall down, we see the steps we missed in the rush, we see the grass we planted to begin with, we see that even the ground gets the sunshine. It's where we can grow from.

I want you to know, you are not alone. If today is not your day, if this week is not your week, it hasn't been mine either. I've cried, I've angered, I've despaired. I've been lost and afraid, and worried someone might call me out for being a fool. But the next day, the sun shines again, and the cloud lifts. I allowed myself to be human, and I loved myself for it. And now I can give some of what I've gained to those who are in the dark now too. 

Down days are okay. Be human. Love yourself, just a little bit. And be kind. You are so special, and your gift- whatever it may be- is worthy of being shared.

***If you are truly struggling, please do see a professional. There is no shame in asking for someone to help you. Contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you feel you are not coping.

Life, ALLFelicity Cook