Welcome to the Sweats & Balances Blog - The Balancing Act. Here, we will be featuring #goals women and their answer to the simple, but complicated question - What does Balance mean to you?
Next up, we have Katie Millington, a fellow full-time employee who recently found her own balance through blogging.
Lately, the word balance has become front and center in my vocabulary as it was something I honestly did not possess for a number of years. From an outsider looking in, it doesn’t seem that way. I always make it to the gym during the week, put in 110% at work and make an effort to see my friends and family as much as possible. I realize at face value those sentences look pretty sustainable and normal, but it's missing the part about what I do to take care of myself. After making some big changes to my lifestyle, I recently learned to re-define balance in my life. The word by my standards means first stabilizing my own wants and needs and balancing them with everyone else’s. For the first time, I’m being a little more selfish with my time.
In the past, I planned out every minute of my weekends in addition to each night during the week; self-care was not a word that existed in my vocabulary. I can relate to a lot of the other ladies who have written for the S&B blog in that I am, by nature, a people pleaser. I wanted to say yes to every event, experience and career opportunity to both those around me as well as soak up all that New York City had to offer. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the only instance in which I practiced self-care was when I was exhausted or sick. (Last winter, I was sick for a good two months straight. I suspect it was from sheer exhaustion)
Upon moving to New York in 2012 a few months after I graduated college, I jumped into the advertising world with both feet; this often meant lots of late nights in the office, parties, dinners, etc. I threw every ounce of my being into my job, even if it meant sacrificing my own health for it! When I moved to GroupM as a Media Buyer in 2013, I met two of the S&B founders, Sarah and Janie, who worked at our sister company Xaxis. I quickly related and connected with them as they were also young, ambitious rising stars in the industry. I remember going to SoulCycle classes together to de-stress after late nights at the office. I think we were all craving more balance in our lives, even then. Fast forward to 2017, I was onto my fifth position in media industry; I held five jobs in six year time period. I underestimated the stress I had put on myself moving from job to job after leaving GroupM. Admittedly, I was more focused on climbing the corporate ladder and achieving ‘success’ (however I was defining that) before my own personal needs. By the time I moved into my current role in media sales, I was pretty exhausted. I turned 27 in November of 2017 and that’s when a switch flipped. I had a bit of a quarter life crisis—I was still stressed out, no matter what I did. This forced me to take a really hard look at my habits to understand why. What else have I wanted to do in the last six years that I haven’t because I was so focused on my career and social plans?
"Admittedly, I was more focused on climbing the corporate ladder and achieving ‘success’ before my own personal needs."
At this point I made a commitment to self-care and to my personal well-being. I devoted one night a week to therapy in an effort to understand what was driving me to be so dynamic in my professional career and my need to plan out every aspect of my free time. I started to dabble in wellness tactics like meditation and journaling to manage my stress. I became really fascinated with wellness as a lifestyle as the scene started to explode around me. I wanted to know how I could optimize more aspects of my life by finally giving my body and mind the respect it deserved; as well as empower others to achieve this as well. After a few months of practicing mindfulness in my daily life and getting to know myself better through therapy, I realized something that had been dormant for a few years. I was always a creative person (a former artist and writer back in my high school days) and was really craving another outlet. It became clear that I wanted to write about wellness and share my ideas and experiences with others. From, there, creating my personal blog busyfitcity was born!
As I’m sure you’ve noticed in reading this, I tend to passionately pursue any new project I am working on (often, relentlessly). This was evident to me when I first started working in advertising. The launch of my blog coupled with the demands of a new quarter in my sales job, have made me more cognizant of the pressure I naturally put on myself and maintaining balance through these changes is still a challenge. This always requires weekly, even daily adjustments where I make sure I’m calm, making time for my family and friends, as well as pursuing what I love to do.
My blog serves as both an empowerment tool for others but in addition, a way for me to stay accountable and mindful of my own well being. I often need to remind myself to not over-plan and listen to my body to avoid burnout. I fight the urge every week to say yes to every event or collaboration--even if they are wellness related! For now, staying true to myself and listening to my body have greatly impacted the way that I achieve overall balance in my life.
Katie is an Advertising Executive who has recently re-set her expectations of how she finds balance. Outside of work, she started a health and wellness focused blog - busyfitcity.com to share her experiences in New York City as a multi-tasking, driven, but also balanced woman. Check her out!!