Reyjkavik, Iceland

In These 10 Steps, I Restored Balance In My Life

If you want to skip the preface, scroll down to the list)

As you may have noticed, I took a step back from blogging over the past few months. Most writers blame “blogger burnout,” or something similar when this happens. But in my case, I was devoting myself to staying true to my New Year’s resolution to find balance in my body, business, marriage and mind.

The last three years have been strenuous to say the least, testing my limits and showing me how I could grow a business, juggle what felt like 3 dozen projects, employ and lead my very own staff, and gauge just how many cups of coffee I could drink before I vibrated off my chair in an overcaffeinated fit.

Last November, my self-neglect finally caught up with me. This came in form of a seizure in the Miami airport. The diagnosis? Symptoms 100% triggered by stress and “lifestyle choices.”

This was my wake-up call. Something had to change. So when the end of 2017 came, instead of making a shallow promise for the new year that I had zero intention of seeing through, I decided to actively make a change.

I wrote in my personal notebook:

January 1st, 2018
Find balance: body, business, marriage and mind.

This was coming from someone who stopped exercising and eating healthy because she was working 18-hour days, 7 days a week. My birthday, anniversary, Christmas — nothing was sacred.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with my companies and I am so incredibly proud of not only what we’ve accomplished as team, but also that I single-handedly created jobs for so many brilliantly creative individuals who deserve fantastic and flexible employment.

Ok, enough prefacing. Let’s get to this list.

These are the 10 changes that I have made, that have COMPLETELY changed the way I operate and have restored balance in my life:

1. Surround yourself with the right people.

This will mean something different to everyone. For me, it meant being clear with my husband about what I needed from him to support me in all this madness. This also meant getting rid of any people who were sucking the life out of me, and welcoming people who have my (and my businesses’) best interests at heart.

2. Make time to challenge your mind, in a different way than your work does.

For me, and for many people, this challenge can be found reading, exploring a new subject, or learning another language. It’s been shown that most millionaires read at least one book a month, if not per week. There is something so empowering about speaking another language and it opens your mind to more than just communicating. I use the Duolingo app (free and super effective). I used to be traveler-fluent in both French and Italian, and my goal is to be fully fluent by the end of this year. When I’m not studying the love languages, you can find me curled up with a book. Here are my recent favorites:

  • Sex, Travel and Train Wrecks by Julie Morey: This is the perfect book to inspire your wanderlust and access your adventurous side right before a trip. It will make you want to travel around Asia, like, yesterday.
  • #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso: The founder of Nasty Gal opens up about running a business and how she got to where she is today. A definite must-read for any woman, let alone one who runs her own business.
  • Your Best Year by Michael Hyatt: Another excellent read for the business-minded. Packed in an super-comprehensible format, the prose is simple and backed up by heaps of research, all to help you do what the title says — have your best year in business.
  • Rise and Grind by Daymond John: This one is for any of you Shark Tank fans. Daymond has alway hit a chord with me, because we both came from humble beginnings and had no help getting to where we are today. The book is all about getting down to work from the ground up, and is a great eye-opener to the entrepreneurial experience.

3. Your success means nothing without your health — be the best and healthiest version of yourself.

Above all else, you need to fuel your body and take good care of it. For me, this meant starting a workout program and dedicating myself to it in a way I never have before. A mix of BBG (Bikini Body Guide) workouts and HIIT training is just as good for your mind as it is your legs. I highly recommend the Sweat app for planning and tracking your workouts. 90% of millionaires work out 6+ times per week, so the proof is in the pudding [or lack thereof].

4. Eat to feel good and fuel your body, not to give into cravings.

I get nauseous constantly, which is part of the reason I maintained a vegan diet for 5 years. I now eat small amounts of seafood, but try to eat vegan for the most part. Once I stopped responding to cravings and began to eat while keeping in mind how I would feel afterward, my cravings completely changed and I am much healthier — and clearer-minded — because of it.

5. Cut down on the coffee — significantly.

I used to drink a pot of coffee every day, which I’ve now cut down to only 5 cups per week. I replaced most of those cups with drinking hot lemon water or organic tea instead. I no longer have intense energy spikes and dips and get far less headaches, which boosts my productivity. I also am much more hydrated now, which means fewer headaches and better skin. I also don’t get the “coffee shakes” that used to induce binge eating. All in all, the benefits of cutting down on coffee far outweigh that caffeine buzz.

6. Get dressed and ready every day, even if it’s not 100% — especially if you work from home.

I read this tip from my friend Jessie: if you work from home, you need to sleep naked instead of wearing pajamas. I know it sounds odd, but this forces you to get dressed as soon as you wake up. Otherwise, I can’t tell you how many times I have woken up, gone to work on my computer and before I know it, it’s 3 pm and I haven’t showered, brushed my teeth or changed out of my PJs. Take the time to make an effort for yourself — even if no one else sees you.

7. During meals, phones are completely off-limits.

During meals, I put my phone away and refuse to pick it up. This gives me three times a day when I can totally unplug and focus on the people around me. If your phone is a big part of your work and you’re scared about missing social media primetime, schedule your posts. My employee showed me this and it has been an absolute game-changer: the Schedugram app.

8. Even if you run your own business or work from home, implement a “closing time.”

If you’re in charge of your own workday, it’s tempting to work a little bit here, a little bit there, until you spend the entire day sitting in front of your computer. But even if you don’t work in an actual office, who’s to say you can’t have your own office hours? Of course, there will be exceptions — like for me, during an Everly sale — but set a daily time when you will stop working, checking emails, or scrolling through social media. I’m trying to make this 8 pm for me, and I’ve already found it a lifesaver for my mental health and my marriage.

9. Take time to journal, reflect and write down your goals.

In an age where everything is done through screens, there is something so therapeutic about putting a pen to paper. There’s also something powerful beyond words about writing your dreams and ambitions in physical form. When they’re tangible, right in front of you, it almost seems like the first step in making them happen is more within reach.

10. Streamline your life.

I know this is vague, but it really is the most powerful thing you can do in order to allow enough room your schedule to do all of the things mentioned above. For me, this was finding a good preset for editing photos (a task that takes up much of my time), finding an “everyday” look that only takes me 12 minutes to get ready in, and minimizing my closet (less struggle getting dressed, less clutter and less laundry). This also included me typing up my blog posts on my iPhone right when the inspiration hits me, so it feels less like work. I have also hired a freelance copywriter that looks over and edits my posts, which lightens my workload even more.

By stepping back from the blog, I was able to master and create concrete habits out of these other 9 things. Ironically, while taking time to focus on areas other than work, I co-founded another ring company, Melandme Moissanite Co. But even despite adding another business into the mix, I feel more balanced, centered, calm and focused than ever before, and I really hope this post helps those of you who are looking for the same balance. I know this isn’t my typical outfit content, so thank you for reading, and please let me know if you want to see more posts like this!

xo,Brenna