Finding Balance – My Story
It was a drunken Christmas afterparty in an Old St flat, and all around me, people were gathered together in little groups having deep and meaningful conversations (those epic conversations you only ever have drunk at 4am in the morning).
I was crying to my friend about work…again. She looked at me. Sympathetic, yet resigned. “Ollie, I’m not sure what I can say to you. I’ve told you a million times to quit your job and you haven’t. I don’t have any more words, I don’t know what to say to you”. I looked up from my curtain of tears. Wow… ok…
The harsh truth – I was a lost cause. I can’t remember what we said after that. Maybe someone came over with some more vodka.
That night I couldn’t sleep. My friend’s words or lack of them had truly hit home for the first time. What was I doing to myself and why was I doing it? I was depressed, unhappy, always ill, always crying, and I looked like shit. My job was causing me this pain. It had been my dream job – working in music with incredible artists on fantastic campaigns for the world’s biggest brands. However, it came with challenging clients, ridiculous hours and constant stress. I was paying for it with my health, and it wasn’t worth it.
I had been holding on to complete what I thought was going to be a career-defining campaign 18 months later but I couldn’t sacrifice myself any longer. I needed to leave.
The thought hit me like a thunderbolt as I tossed and turned in my bed. I was in the fortunate position of having no commitments or responsibilities. All I needed to do was pay my rent and feed myself. I had the confidence I could earn enough to do that, whatever it took. I had nothing to lose by leaving my job. By the time I finally fell asleep, I had never been so sure of a decision in my life. I was going to quit my job. And that decision 5 years ago was one of the best things I have ever done.
Fast forward to now. I’m a Certified Health Coach and Founder of MISSION, the health and wellness company that gives people the tools to make healthier choices, lead more balanced lives and improve their overall health and wellbeing through one-to-one coaching, workshops and events. It’s no coincidence that the majority of my one-to-one clients are professionals who are overwhelmed with work and have no time to nurture themselves and their bodies. I am so passionate about supporting people to achieve balance because I’ve been there and been so close to burning out.
For me, change didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t quit my job and suddenly everything was rosy. It was a gradual step-by-step journey of both learning about the importance of good nutrition (and when I talk about nutrition, I mean everything that nourishes you – exercise, work, relationships, home environment as well as food), but more importantly, learning to love and respect myself.
That whole idea of ‘loving yourself’ sounds super cheesy, I know. However, for me, the reality was that I didn’t love myself enough to push back enough to my bosses when I was working 80 hour weeks. I didn’t respect myself and my health enough when I was signed off work with RSI in my hands (from typing too much) and continued to work regardless using pens as substitute fingers. I didn’t value myself enough when I was working till 1am in the morning and then getting up at 4am a few short hours later to continue working. No one forced me to work that hard, I did it myself. I didn’t care for myself enough to say enough is enough and just stop. It took a boozy home truth from a friend to set me on the path of change.
The journey towards balance begins with an act of self-love. How that manifests itself will be different for everyone. For me, it was quitting my job. Perhaps it might be the realization that you need to improve how you’re eating and deciding to pick up a green juice on the way to work. Maybe you join a gym. It might be making the time to read Balanced Being, even reading this article. Whatever it is, remember to nurture that feeling and consider how loving yourself impacts on every area of your life.
Nobody is perfect or has the perfect life, but making positive changes step by step can set you on the path to a happier, more balanced life.
Ollie Oshodi is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Founder of MISSION, the health and wellness company giving people the tools to make healthier choices, lead more balanced lives and improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Formerly Managing Director of a London creative agency specialising in music and entertainment, and having worked in marketing and advertising for over 12 years, Ollie has personally experienced the negative impact of a busy and stressful life on health and happiness. As a result, she is passionate about supporting busy professionals with one-to-one coaching, workshops and events, and has worked with the likes of Huffington Post, Work-Well-Being, Havas and Manning Gottlieb OMD to promote balance in all areas including nutrition, career, exercise and relationships.
Ollie will be contributing wellbeing articles for Balanced Being. We’re delighted to have this amazing and inspiring woman on board.
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