I think at times, we can all feel a little burnt out. At breaking point with no where left to turn, but too ashamed to speak up or talk about it. I bet there are so many of us now muttering “that’s me” under their breath as they read this. You are not alone, in fact, far far from it. It seems us high achieving women adapt a certain superhero syndrome about ourselves, doing it all, being it all and ultimately trying to have it all whilst juggling a busy family life and career. Isn’t it any wonder we crack? But why we are so ashamed to mention/ talk about this moment of weakness?
We caught up with the very talented Amanda Dicker, a strong entrepreneurial woman who runs The Chapel Hairdressing salons in Kent. A thriving business where her clients feel restored and relaxed after leaving their appointments. It began to show that Amanda herself, happy mum and wife was feeling the pressure. But rather than shy away and hide from this moment. She has embraced it, and faced it head on in order to overcome it. And in doing so, she is sharing her journey so that we women feel less alone, less ashamed to admit that sometimes, even those on top need a moment to step back and just be.
When did you realise you needed to make a change?
For years I’d been noticing some big swings in my moods, like dark clouds that would sit over me and this was happening at least a few times each year. Outwardly everything looked fine and I was busy in the salon and at home giving everything to my family, customers and team, but inwardly I really didn’t know what was going on, these clouds would weight me down and take me to a very negative place. It all came to a head two years ago. I realised I could live through these patterns and put up with them but that I also had a choice to stop them and to make a change.
So that’s what I did. I stood up in the boardroom one day and said I needed time out and I walked away to reassess everything in my life.
It wasn’t until I read up on things that I realised I’d reached burn out, probably a bit of an over-used phrase now but definitely everything I was reading summed up exactly how I was feeling and the point I’d reached in my life. I remember the first thing I did was go and paint the garden fence! Then I booked a therapist, got into going to the gym and started Yoga and meditation with an amazing teacher in Tunbridge Wells, where I live, who has also become a very good friend. I started thinking a lot about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’ and how living in the moment was making me so much happier than reflecting on the past and chasing the future.
The major thing I realised was the importance of giving yourself some ‘me-time’, even if just a small pause in the day and how this can make a big difference, not just how you feel in yourself but how you are around your family, friends and work colleagues.
What was the significance in removing your watch?
It’s taken me two years to realise who I am and what I want from life and work. Thinking about the past and the future, whether positive or negative, makes me anxious and I realised living in the present, taking each day as it comes, can be much more beautiful. There’s no thought around it, it’s real time, the here and now, and it’s a far more positive place to be. I took my watch off straight after I finished painting the garden fence and it hasn’t gone back on.
The tattoo is important to me and reminds me to stay in the present. Of course there are times when I need to be somewhere and then I’ll glance at the clock on my phone just to keep me on track, but I’m not a slave to time keeping and watching everyone caught up in the rat race, noses down into phones, iPads and computers makes me realise that’s a place I definitely don’t want to go back to. You can tell what time of day it is by your surroundings and lighting, you don’t need a watch.
What does Hygge mean to you?
A lot of the principles of Hygge relate to how I live. Creating feelings of happiness, friendliness and wellbeing within everyday life, and finding deeper meaning with ordinary life, I suppose just enjoying the simple things and being grateful for what you’ve got. For me it’s about spending quality time with family and friends, getting outside more, and putting down the phone! I love to light candles too and my experience has spurred me on to create my own range, with emotional as well as functional benefits and designed to encourage people to take a small pause in their day to enjoy a little something that makes them happy. You’d be surprised how even the little act of lighting a candle, watching the flame and taking a moment to enjoy its fragrance can calm your mind and give you some focus.
I’ve created a pulse point oil too and I use it every day. I dab it onto five touch points on my body and remind myself of five little things to be grateful for that day. It really works to lift your mood and make you smile.
Living in the seasons is a really positive thing to do too. I love the changes the seasons bring, the food we eat, clothes we wear, outside activities we undertake, and living in the moment to enjoy all of those things is really important to me. Change is good – it keeps you on trend, keeps your mind and body younger and keeps your mind moving. If you run with that it’s much easier and you don’t feel like you have find or chase things which can be draining.
How do you make time for yourself?
My life is a juggling act. I’m back in the salon and my son Bert and home life keeps me busy too. I used to drag myself off to bed just because I knew I needed some sleep but now I really enjoy going to bed early and it’s a lovely experience, sometimes it’s as early at 9pm. I light candles, read, relax and potter around catching up on little jobs I didn’t get chance to do during the day. Bedtime now is going to a space that I’ve set up that’s cosy and another part of my home that I love to go to. Sleeping well has relaxed me and I get up earlier now too, usually around 6am when I’ll walk or do some Yoga. My mission this year has been to go for an early morning walk every day and just take in the seasons and changes around me. Putting me first has for a change has totally changed how I live and work with everyone.
What advice would you give your old self?
Pause! Be kind. Accept that the more time we take the more life gives us. Follow your own drumbeat, stay true to yourself and your own values. Whatever you do now will affect you later.
Visit The Chapel Hair Salon
Words by Danielle Alexandria