2020: THE YEAR OF RESTORING BALANCE - Jessica Ivy

2020: THE YEAR OF RESTORING BALANCE

  • By - Jessica Pettit-Mee
  • 07 January, 2021

Twelve months ago to the day I typed out the title of this article.

Paused.

Saved and exited the draft.

366 days later I returned to finish the article.

All Photography credits: Anna Groniecka Photography

I think I couldn’t muster any momentum in typing the words for this article until now is because I started the year exhausted from a series of events in late 2019. I found myself in dire need of finding a happy balance in all areas of my life: work, love, health & emotional wellbeing.

The best way I’ve found to get through life successfully so far is to give a colossal effort and serve one or two aspects of my life. I devote a disproportionate amount of energy to my work and never learnt to harness all areas of my life to co-exist harmoniously in a happy equilibrium. Something was always neglected, forgotten about until the Universe gave me a hard knock to give it my full attention. For a short spell I’d give it the attention it deserved until I’d revert back to old habitual patterns.

This attitude propelled my motivations, and led to many achievements like career progression and accomplishing set goals but it came at a cost - Loss of a long-term relationship, poor diet, weight gain and anxiety. It’s really no surprise this path led to burnout.

I set my intention of 2020 to restoring a balance.

I slid into January prepared, I bought and wore any product that commercially promised balance. I wrote down my intentions in a journal with Balance gold foiled on the cover, lathered my skin with luxury products designed to help balance body, mind and soul, I wore a healing crystal around neck to rebalance my energetic fields. I pretty much did anything that symbolised I was getting my metaphorical balance together.

Quickly I realised this was never going to be enough. To find myself and restore my balance, the healing started and ended with me. I had to take accountability for what led me to this point and understand the reasons why.

LOVE //

I started the year grieving a long-term relationship that ended abruptly with little to no explanation except in writing via an updated Facebook relationship status. This discovery was made at the same time as many strangers reading it on a public forum that our break was permanent. We spoke about marriage, children, and I truly believed he was the one I’d have a forever home with. Turned out I did everything for someone I rented a space in. The moment I realised this heartbreaking imbalance it broke me but it also made me.

Even though I couldn’t make any sense of the breakup there was a purpose. The purpose was always for growth, change and healing. The antidote to this heartbreak and to become the strongest, best version of myself. was self love. I redirected and poured that unrequited love back to myself. I learnt to be everything for myself before I tried to be anything for anyone else. Finally after 29 years on this Earth I became the person I had waited for. I fell in love with my own essence, light and offerings I have to give to the world.

The biggest benefit of being in a higher vibration was attracting the man in the photo beside me. When I stopped looking for what I was looking for it came to me much faster, quicker than I could have anticipated. I created a space for the right fit to find me. But like Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat Pray Love I was overtly cautious not to lose my inner balance to love. While we navigated through our new relationship, I simultaneously had come back to my senses about my previous relationship. This new man easily vanquished the mistakes of ghosts. Taught me what it is like to accept and receive unconditional love and not to settle for anything less. Previously I was always too much or didn’t do enough; “too clumsy” , “too soft & sensitive to be in business”, “all my intelligence went to my creativity and I’m not logical enough to comprehend things”, “You’re too much- always cart before the horse”, “You don’t go to the gym enough”, “You don’t watch enough sports”. The ugly judgements were so loud it is no surprise my confidence was shattered and I didn't seem to know my word or voice.

The most curious thing is when I accepted myself just as I am, then everything changed. I am already at home with who I am. I stopped apologising for the space I take up. I am with someone who doesn’t make me feel like I’m less than enough and I know to my core I am enough. I am enjoying living this new way of life with this man, full transparency exists and we don’t place any expectations on each other. Its the happiest, healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in - we laugh hard, extremely playful and spontaneous. I’m lucky enough to be with someone who indulges my crazy notions. I wanted to celebrate the end of that previous relationship with a gratitude cake. I am so thankful for the lessons it brought and the way life worked out. So we bought the cake, ate it and celebrated life. Just little over 12 months together we have a solid foundation to build something exciting and beautiful together.

Photo credit: Anna Groniecka Photography

HEALTH //

For the past few years my health had been at the forefront of what was not working in my life. It made me feel uneasy knowing I was not living that part of my life the way I really wanted to. After a few years of fluctuating between a size 12-14, 2020 was the year I returned to my natural body size of 8-10 . I wish I could say it started with drinking more water, eating kale and salads. But that would be a lie, my weight loss was kickstarted in an unhealthy way. The breakdown of the previous relationship is inextricably linked to the weight loss and I would go as far as to say the weight gain was a symptom of that relationship. I drastically lost weight after the breakup, I was restless, sleep deprived and riddled with anxiety. I couldn’t eat and when I did it ended up down the toilet bowl. Long before the breakup I was training hard at the gym with a personal trainer. So what changed? I would say it was a combination of changing my mindset and embracing self compassion. I was no longer going to the gym to lose weight and to burn off the calories. I switched my routine to weight training mixed with cardio. The sessions intensified from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 mins. My focus and goal was on building muscle and strength. I felt so weak that I needed to prove to myself I am physically strong, I am capable of challenging the voices that tell me its impossible to lift the heavier weight. Now I’ve the muscle to prove it and my best PB at deadlifts is 72.5kg. I’ve long way to go to where I want to be but I know I’m capable. My approach to nutrition was self compassion. I didn’t weigh myself as I knew I was building muscle and I didn't self loathe for being indulgent. If I wanted to eat the takeaway I ate it. The only change I made to my diet was I ate much less and swapped out treats high in calories for low calorie alternatives. No fad diets, no restrictions in what I ate. I treated my body with kindness and in return it thanked me with healthy, happy, strong vessel.

Photo credit: Anna Groniecka Photography

Photo credit: Anna Groniecka Photography

EMOTIONAL WELLBEING //

My wellbeing is heavily tied to my environments and if they become disrupted it can cause havoc on my mental health. I hugely believe that while it's important to always work on yourself and do all the necessary things to be the best version of yourself, all those efforts are futile if you don't take a look at your surroundings. Be that your home, relationships, friendships or even workplace. As an artist the physical space that you work in truly affects your creativity, your discipline to work and can have an impact on the artwork itself.

I have difficulty saying no, overriding my needs to please others, but it is my responsibility to speak-up. If you come across people who treat you with a lack of respect then it is not selfish to protect yourself with healthy boundaries. 2020 felt like a gentle rebellion, I stopped feeling guilty for setting boundaries. Setting and implementing boundaries protects you from emotional harm, it is a practise of self love and restores balance in your life. It is a life-altering power.

Photo credit: Anna Groniecka Photography

WORK / LIFE BALANCE //

This year has seen a multitude of plans unraveled, disrupted and painstakingly foregone. As a creative I have a long list of ideas whirling and swirling around in my head. Not being able to put any of those ideas into action did cause mental fatigue. It has felt impossible to plan anything for the future which in turn further fuelled my anxiety. However, there were also moments of beauty and peace that I have experienced throughout this tumultuous year. Even in 2020, you can still press pause and the best place to do this is out in nature. Ever since I was furloughed earlier in the year I found myself spending a lot of time around water. I would go there to breathe in the cool morning air, intently watch the waves kiss the shoreline and reset. Time stood still at the beach, nothing else seemed to matter.

Reconnecting with nature has helped me to I realise I am more than my work. I always strived to succeed in my career and running to achieve the next goal. Over the past 5 years whilst juggling a full time job and making what Jessica Ivy is today. Time has been my currency and I have sacrified many social events just to ensure I had an extra day of drawing rather wasting it on the sofa nursing a hangover. It has been all work and no play. I allowed myself to pause and reflect on my many accomplishments. 2020 restored this imbalance.

RESTORING BALANCE

Restoring balance is a slow process, an intentional process. With some patience, over time you will get better at bringing yourself back into balance.

All Photography credits: Anna Groniecka Photography

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