This definitely doesn’t apply to freelance life only, but I think we especially often forget to indulge ourselves a little and enjoy something completely frivolous once in a while.
Indulging in a selfie.
A few weeks back, I dyed my hair green. I’ve never bleached my hair myself before, nor have I ever used such an over-the-top colour as neon green; in fact, I really don’t like neon colours… mostly. I’ve long wanted to try some unusual hair colours and always regretted that I didn’t experiment more in my teens when I had super short hair and I could’ve (technically but probably not) shaved it all off if it went wrong.
I can’t really remember what triggered it now but all through lockdown I kept thinking about wanting to dye my hair green. Finally, last month for my birthday I decided that I would treat myself to this indulgent and totally unnecessary craving, bought the necessary tools and over the course of three weeks (it took 2.5 bleach sessions and a separate dye session!), I went neon green.
It was so fun and it’s been such an enjoyable change, it puts me in a good mood every time I look in the mirror and see this unexpected colour - especially when usually looking in the mirror is usually not fun at all.
It reminded me of all the spontaneous and silly things I used to get up to and do when I was younger, when I didn’t need the excuse of a birthday to do it. So many days where my mother would take a look at me and say “for fuck sake what have you done now?”. Them were the good days!
This definitely doesn’t apply to freelance life only, but I think we especially often forget to indulge ourselves a little and enjoy something completely frivolous once in a while. As a freelancer, I don’t indulge myself even half as much as I did when I was working at a company; no wine on a Friday afternoon before we’ve even finished working, no long lunches, no tea and cake sessions on Tuesdays, no celebrating achievements with bubbly and more cake, no wasting time nattering by the tea kettle…
The workday is so different now, and I’m only just recently taking time to make sure I make an effort to include these nice things - and noticing how much more enjoyable my days are for it. I wrote in previous issues about using daily rituals to introduce a little treat for ourselves in the day - taking 30 mins for a cuppa and a treat in the afternoon, having a sweet pastry in the morning along with your healthy breakfast (jfc all my examples really revolve around food don’t they?) etc - something to make us feel good in the day and make sure we’re taking breaks and keeping ourselves physically and mentally healthy.
We forget about larger indulgences though, allowing ourselves some spontaneous, trivial fun that we usually try to avoid. Of course, moderation is key here and I’m sure we all know where too much indulgence leads, but we also need to remember that it’s good to do something indulgent for ourselves every so often and when we can - more so in difficult times - and we should do it without guilt.
If you find it difficult, go about it as if you want to treat a friend who’s struggling - if you have a friend having a hard time, where would you take them? What would you give them? Would you buy them something? Would you recommend something? Then apply it to yourself.
Take yourself on a date, go somewhere wonderful and enjoy your own company; treat yourself to a day off work in the middle of the week, or an afternoon off; plan and enjoy a luxuriously slow home-cooked meal; buy yourself something you’ve been coveting for a while, or treat yourself to an upgrade of something; if you’re more into experiences, maybe do that class you want to do that has no obvious benefit to your business; on your next day off, have a lie-in until the afternoon and enjoy breakfast in bed; buy yourself the most beautiful flowers… if you’re feeling particularly radical, get a tattoo, or change your hairstyle, or get a piercing. The list is endless!
It might feel like a waste of time and money, especially if and when you don’t have either, but it’s so important to invest in ourselves, our wellbeing and our happiness, and sometimes a little present or treat for ourselves is just what we need to get by.
Make these moments for yourself, however large or small they need to be, and enjoy some indulgence from time to time.
“A blank mind is an asset in my photography. And photography enables me to clear my mind. It’s a form of meditation, a way to enter the flow of the world and be carried by it. In writing, a blank mind means a blank page.”
“The law excludes ordinary people from 92% of English land”
“There’s still plenty of money to be made in art, or writing, or music. It’s just not being made by the creators.”
A little about me
I’m normally a portrait and documentary photographer based in south London, and enjoy telling stories about adventure, the outdoors, and our relationship with the natural world. Over the last couple of months, due to the pandemic, I’ve been making a move to something new - TBA!
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