Behind The Scenes

Addicted to Stress?

This heading looks like it belongs to a sponsored post on your Facebook feed doesn’t it? Click on it and you’ll be linked to an ad for a meditation app or anti-anxiety drugs!

No such luck – it’s just me airing my thoughts on the idea that I might be a bit hooked on the rush of having too much on my plate. (Full disclosure: I’m writing this from a very cosy bed on an overcast Sunday afternoon after a very good night’s sleep, and not much on the agenda today).

For the first time in ages I don’t have a million different projects to juggle. If you’ve followed my career, you’ll know that for the past six years I’ve consistently bitten off more than any sane person should be chewing, saying yes to every opportunity that came along  – books, talks, workshops, travel, interviews – while still styling for all my regular clients (oh and raising kids and sadly, going through a marriage break-up). I’ve loved it and I’ve hated it. I’ve cried about it, I’ve made myself sick about it. At times I’ve had no social life because of it. I’ve craved weekends where, instead of working, I could stay in bed or have pub lunches or go to galleries or do nothing at all, like a normal person with a normal job.

I actually said to myself earlier in the year that for a while I’d like to be just a stylist. It’s enough. And, yay me, I’ve done just that! Good job on the whole manifesting what you want idea!

But now that things are calmer and I am “just a stylist”…I think I miss the madness! (Not the working on the weekend part – being in bed right now at noon on a Sunday is bloody amazing! See below for evidence…)

What the hell does this mean? Is it a case of the grass always being greener? Maybe. Or is my ambitious spirit showing itself once again? Reminding me that the “hustle” of the last few years is what got me where I am. Perhaps it’s a fear that resting on my laurels for too long will undo all the fruits of my labour?

I think it boils down to the famous saying “If you want something done, ask a busy person”, credited to Benjamin Franklin. Quite simply, the busier I am, the more I accomplish. When I have too much time off, or things are a bit too easy, I get lazy and find it really hard to get anything done! And there are still a lot of things I want to achieve in my career and personal life, ideas I want to explore, products I want to design, places I want to visit. And annoyingly, the more time I have to explore them, the less I actually do!

So maybe it’s not the stress I’m addicted to, but the busy-ness. I thought I could be a normal person with just the one job, but it turns out spinning at least three plates in the air at one time is perfectly suited to me.

Careful what I wish for though. By writing this post I’ve probably jinxed myself. Today I’m enjoying a lazy Sunday, next weekend I could be frantically shopping for a last minute shoot, planning a new book, answering interview questions, stress levels peaking once again. Please remind me that I missed it…

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  • Reply Lisa Winer 24 July 2017 at 3:40 AM

    Hi Emily,

    I actually don’t have the problem you describe — I can easily lie around daydreaming with no need to get up and do — but your post made me think of another blogger’s story I read. Her name is Lisa Congdon and she is an artist and illustrator with a hugely successful career who was addicted to busyness and eventually went through a bad burnout. Key to getting over the burnout was a regular meditation practice. She’s a skilled writer, so even if her story doesn’t completely match your own, you’ll enjoy reading the post. I was impressed that meditating for a short amount of time each day has had such an impact on her life. The post is here:

    • Reply Emily Henson 24 July 2017 at 12:24 PM

      Thanks so much Lisa. I know Lisa Congdon and have actually read that article, believe it or not! It’s always good to be reminded though so I think I’ll read it again. I really appreciate your feedback. x

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