Living like an Instagram star... with a 9-5 job
By Court McCulloch
It’s a Sunday night. You’re scrolling through Instagram and all you’re thinking is how do they do it?
How do these girls making a living on Instagram do it?! They’re getting paid to go to social events, choosing when they work, working out in the middle of the day, going to brunch…
And you know, for the next 5 days, you’ll be getting up at 6, starting the commute to work, being there from 8-6 (if not longer…) and then heading home exhausted.
“It’s all very well for you to say take 3 days off if you’re feeling off, or work out at the time of day that’s best for you, or use this product that costs 500 bucks…”
Now, don’t get me wrong, some of these gals have some solid advice and make great role models. There are some seriously great inspirational words of wisdom found in what they have to say…
But what do you do when you feel like any advice you can find is just out of touch with your lifestyle?
You’re feeling exhausted by your job. Pressure to have a social life. Feeling like you should be fitting in some form of exercise and self-care SOMEWHERE in your week. And so you start the week with good intentions… where you’ll fit in exercise, where you’ll have a pamper, where you’ll read that new book you’ve been meaning to…
But then Monday rolls around. The alarm goes off and you’re already feeling tired. You get to work, spend lunch scrolling on your phone. Finish work, head home and collapse in front of Netflix with your phone in your hand. Then, it gets to Sunday and you find yourself thinking the same old thing and wondering why it’s so hard to change.
So… how do you motivate yourself to fit it all in?
Be honest and commit to you.
Where do you actually want to make changes in your life? Is it to move your body more? To nourish your body? To implement a relaxing pre-bed routine? To work out what self-care works for you? Don’t get caught up in the idea that your life has to be perfect overnight. Because the way you get there is by decided one or two things you really want to work on and adding one or two good things at a time… and before you know it, they will have added up and everything will fall into place around them.
Whatever those one or two things are, commit to it/them – even if that means saying no to something you’re not so passionate about. Do some research, download some resources, buy some books, and commit to making one or two changes a week.
Even if it is just one little thing, they ADD UP. Trust me, you can’t change your life overnight. Next week, you might decide to go for a 20-minute walk each evening. Then the following week, you might add a podcast in to your walk. The week after you might decide to swap three walks for three gym classes.
When I took a long time away from exercise, I found it freaking hard to get back into it. And so I committed to just 3 short walks a week. Then I added in some stretching. Then I went for a few runs… and now I’m back to being fully active (and I’m LOVING it).
Choose the hard option.
It might be easier to fall on the couch rather than run a bath, or turn on the TV rather than grab your book, but it’s never going to make you feel better. In fact, it’ll make you feel even more drained.
It might feel hard to put on your gym gear and go out for a walk, to actually attend that gym class that you never go to, to make a nourishing dinner, but it’ll make you feel refreshed, energised and most importantly, proud of yourself.
Whenever you feel the need to just take the easy option, take a second and ask yourself, is this going to help me live my best life? How will I feel if I go for a walk/have a bath/read a book?
If you’re really exhausted, commit to just 10 MINUTES of that activity (literally, it’s just 0.7% of your day).
Before you know it, that hard option will feel like the easy option.
Focus on the after Feeling.
Whether we’re waking up earlier in the morning, getting some ‘us’ time on our lunch break, or trying to get things done after work, it can be exhausting even THINKING about it.
But it’s time to change that. Because convincing yourself whatever you plan to do is more work than it’s worth is never going to convince you to actually do it.
Every time you do that one thing - whether it’s going for a run, hitting a yoga class, reading a book, cooking a nourishing dinner - hold on to that feeling you get after you do it. Those endorphins? That pride? That is what you need to remember every time you’re telling yourself how hard it is.
Focus on that after feeling.
Work out what gets you motivated.
Humans are as different as snowflakes. And what gets me motivated won’t necessarily work for you.
Trial different methods, whether it’s playing music loud, saying an affirmation, booking into a class, organising something with a friend, listening to a podcast, or being prepared. Whatever you find works, make sure to include that in your daily routine.
Trust me, even the most energised and enthusiastic people have off days where they don’t feel motivated. But they know what works for them (and it’s not magic). It’s working out what gets you in that motivated mindset and sticking to it.
Listen to Yourself.
If you’re trying to fit in a boxing class, a F45 circuit, a yoga class, a book, or whatever else that doesn’t get you excited… why are you doing it? Because it’s ‘cool’? Because someone on social media did it? Because it worked for your friend?
None of those are good reasons. The only good reason? That it lights you up, makes you feel good and that you get excited for it.
Work out what works for you. The best thing about this? That if you’re doing something you hate, you’re putting extra stress on your body. That extra stress? It’ll manifest itself as weight gain, inflammation and low moods. But, if you’re doing something you love, even if it’s not super high intensity, or even for that long, you’ll be a HAPPIER, HEALTHIER version of you.
Separate your day.
This is particularly important if you’re trying to fit things in after work. If you come home and stay in your work clothes, thinking about all the jobs you didn’t get done, you’ll just exhaust yourself more.
Physically distancing yourself from work, whether that is by closing a door on them (especially if you work at home), closing your laptop down, changing your work clothes, having a shower, or going for a walk to clear you mind, is SO important.
Once you leave that office, you need to make time for YOU. To be present and grounded in your life. And if you’re letting yourself mull over work or to remain in work mode, you’re never going to want to put time into you.
Be prepared and give yourself room for zero excuses.
If you wake up early to go to the gym and have to fossick around for your gym gear, wasting half an hour, and then bailing… well, it’s not getting you anywhere. Get it all ready the night before, or have it in your car for after work. Put your name down for that gym class. Organise to meet a friend. Don’t let yourself make an excuse.
Whatever it is that you want to do, make it EASY for yourself to want to do. Create a cosy nook in your house that makes you happy. Buy your favourite tea to enjoy while having a bath or reading. Download an app that makes you actually want to meditate. Make yourself actually want to do these things – don’t make them more work.
Let yourself be excited.
So often, we just wake up with a groan or complain about our life… because we feel like we should.
Think about it… how often do you complain about your job/getting up early/being tired without even actually considering how you’re really feeling?
But if we let ourselves actually be excited about a new day, about moving our bodies, about starting a new book, about trying a new recipe… we allow ourselves to have a positive and optimistic outlook on life. It makes us actually WANT to do things, rather than just getting stuck in the patterns of life and feeling like we’re living the same day over and over again.
know what works for you.
We all have different bodies, and something that comes with that is the ability to function better at different times. And it’s important to know this. If you’re a morning person, chances are that committing to an evening routine is going to fail, and vice-versa. If you know you’re better at a certain time, work around that.
Yes, getting up an hour even earlier just means you’ll be exhausted. And yes, sometimes meetings just run late. But you need to also be real with yourself: can you commit to even just two mornings where you’ve gone to bed earlier the night before so that you can get up an hour earlier? Can you commit to two evenings a week where, when you finish at a certain time, you promise yourself you’ll move your body?
Being your healthiest, happiest and most thriving version of you isn’t about thrashing yourself EVERY SINGLE TIME. It’s about working out where the balance is: where can you add things in without stressing yourself out versus fitting in the things that make you feel good so that you can be at your best.
Sometimes, taking time for you just can’t happen when you want it to. And that’s okay.
Life isn’t about fitting everything in, every single day. It’s about rolling with the punches, forgiving yourself for missed workouts, self-care practices or whatever other commitments you sometimes have to bail on, and committing to time for you when you can.
Don’t beat yourself up. Whether you physically didn’t have the time, were too exhausted, couldn’t afford to make that class or buy that book, or had to bail on a friend. IT’S OKAY.
You’re human, and these things happen. You’re better to release the stress and the judgements and to commit to doing whatever it is tomorrow, instead.
BY COURTENAY MCCULLOCH
Founder of Thrive Collective, activewear-wearing, brunch-loving, dog-obsessed girl on a mission to help all women realise their real potential and start living a life where they thrive in every moment.