Paula McCash discovered just how easy it is to get stuck in a relentless cycle of work. Luckily she’s learned how to strike the right balance…
I’m very much a believer in knowing my craft inside out before putting myself out there. There’s no faking it until I make it; it’s all down to hard work and dedication. Sometimes, as a freelancer, you can be so busy that it can be overwhelming. You can be working such long hours, travelling a lot while also trying to juggle clients and heaps of different jobs. The best way to manage this is by finding how best to maintain a healthy balance – for you. Finding out what suits you, and then how best to categorise your work/life responsibilities.
I have three things which I use to keep me aligned. One is keeping fit – it’s so important to try and fit in a workout. There are some days I can be standing for extensive amounts of time, so I have to be kind to my body and strengthen my muscles, do lots of stretching. I do a lot of yoga and conditioning classes and take long walks in nature – I find it gives me a clear head.
Next up is travelling. I try to make sure that I go away for at least one big break a year, because as a freelancer you never really stop working. On “days off” usually I’m doing admin, and I’m forever prepping for future jobs coming up. Stepping out of that bubble is really important to me, just to realign, analyse how far I’ve come, what my future goals are and to clear the mind. After I take a break and travel, I often realise how lucky I am to be in this job. I become a lot humbler and more appreciative, as well as inspired and rested. It helps me to really start to look forward to coming back and getting my teeth stuck into it all over again.
Finally, spending time with family. I try to make as much time for them as I can. I’m the youngest of eight children, so there’s a lot of time to be spent. They come and visit me in London, we go on holidays together and I spend Christmas at home every year in Scotland. We never take things too seriously, always cracking jokes and winding one another up. It really puts things into perspective for me. They are all so proud of what I do and encouraging, while reminding me to always make sure I’m still enjoying it.
Image credits @paulamccash
The reason I do what I do is down to it being my passion. We all need to find out what we truly need to give us balance in our lives, because taking that time out and being good to yourself is what helps keep that drive alive. We all work hard in this industry – long days, operating on little sleep and sometimes under a great deal of pressure. It can be easy to forget the main reason you started in it the first place: that passion.