As I slowly returned back to my normal pre-lockdown life, I began to notice that those 5 long months had given me a lot of self-reflection. They had changed me more than I'd realised. What served me at the start of the year didn't feel quite as fulfilling anymore, and I felt like I'd began to float through life, not really sure of my purpose or where I was heading. I mean, of course this is something we all feel from time-to-time, but this was different. It was like every emotion, instinct, thought and ounce of confidence I had, had come to a stand-still.

My direction used to feel clear and my routine felt fine - it was a routine I could manage at the time and it gave me exactly what I needed - but lockdown was a difficult time for me and returning to 'normal life', releasing the pause button, and carrying on as usual didn't work out quite how I thought it was going to. I faced a lot of things I wasn't expecting to deal with during this year; from things at home, to thoughts in my head, to even the feeling of heartbreak as the months between Josh and I became longer and longer. It was almost like I reverted back to a former self that found herself longing for happiness I thought I already had.

Like I said, I thought I'd be heading through these last few months of the year still as fulfilled and content as I was in January, but I soon realised that nothing felt the same.

I found myself in a constant state of panic - it was this feeling that I was being dragged away from everything I loved - something which I didn't even really notice I was feeling until, one morning, when I had to pull myself out of bed and head to work, my body just wouldn't let me. Every part of my body felt pained by the idea of having to move, put a smile on my face and chat like everything felt fine, when inside everything was crashing down for me. I wanted to consider it a blip of anxiety, I wanted to consider it my female hormones raging through my body at my time of the month, but it wasn't. It was something that had been ruminating inside me for weeks, months even.

More often than not, I can carry on as normal even on my lowest days. It's like I've trained myself to power through the emotionless state and just pretend it's all fine, but, slowly, I'm realising that nothing in my life is going to feel better if I don't stop and take the time to get to the root of it all. To put time into taking care of myself, my mental health, my feelings.

I've decided to throw myself back into the things that bring me joy - the things that give me a sense of purpose in this life. I want to feel excited after a days work, not like my battery life has been drained because I started the day out like a Duracell bunny and now I'm here, on a Friday night, in bed, exhausted.

To put my heart and soul into creating again is what I feel is needed for me right now. I want to feel the excitement of working with brands I love and shoot-days with like minded people. I've missed the feeling of getting to push myself further with my content, no longer feeling stagnant, and I crave that feeling of typing out my thoughts on my keyboard and having the freedom to strike when inspiration hits. I've just missed putting my all into what I love and now feels like the right time to take a step back, focus on me and make myself happy again.

What I'm getting at here is, and it's not an easy decision to make, but I'm going back to being fully freelance again in October (yay!). I mean, at least until I've sorted myself out anyway and as long as my bank balance allows it (seriously though, if you see me shopping, stop me haha). I guess I just thought, if not now, then when, right? Sometimes you just have to put yourself and your happiness first.

I hope it's a choice where I can look back at the end of the year be glad I took the time for me, and that I remember it was a decision I made with all the best intentions.

So, yeah, here's to that! *clink* Let's see where the next few months that take me...