be back soon

by schteff.design
October 22, 2018

Let me be honest for a minute. I’m really tired. 2018 has been kicking my ###.

The last several years have been very trying on both a personal and professional level. I couldn’t have predicted the amount of stress coming my way from every direction.

In addition to major family health situations and a death in the family, my professional career was churning along, moving up, and shifting gears. I went from designing for a small regional team to designing for the whole global firm and expanding my skillset into new areas. I shifted to a work-from-home model but also shifted my work hours (much earlier) to work with Europe.

2.5 years later, I’m still not used to waking up so damned early. It’s really disorienting. Sometimes, I don’t know what day it is. 

Eye of the storm

At the end of 2017 (New Years Eve, to be exact), I got a tattoo as a personal talisman to stay centered amidst all the chaos. While family issues had settled down, work ramped up (a lot) and I started having health issues myself.

After a recent health scare, I just stopped. I stopped working all of those extra hours to finish just one more task and stopped accepting freelance project requests. Don’t get me wrong… I was still working a ton of hours and could have easily worked even more with the work on my plate. But by slowing down, this meant disappointing some people. And you know what? It’s OK. Those people will be OK. Those projects will be OK. Everyone needs to realize that I’m a human being and not a machine (including me). And I need to be better at saying no.

Pressure detox

Over the summer, my boss convinced me to take a week off. I had the time banked, but I really wanted to keep the momentum going on a major project I’m managing. As soon as I stopped, I got sick. Like, really sick. It’s ongoing, but I’m doing what I need to to take care of it.

But the week off was good for my brain. It gave me time to think and analyze where I could reduce some stress and pressure. A lot of it was self-induced, but an equal amount was by taking on more than my fair share and not saying no. 

For that week, I stopped checking my email every time I got a notification. I only looked at my phone(s) twice a day: Once in the morning, once in the evening. This didn’t go over well with some people, but you know what? I needed the break. I slept, read, and watched a lot of TV. And then I slept some more. I really needed to just shut down for a week.

So what’s next?

While I’m not taking on any more freelance work for the foreseeable future, I do have some housekeeping to do here and some catch-up work to do on my side business.

This website has been sadly ignored for several months. I just completed a website refresh over my birthday weekend which I’ll write more about in a future blog post. I have a handful of new projects to add to my portfolio, some updates to ongoing projects, and a few other blog topics rattling around my brain.

But I’m not putting a deadline on doing any of this. There’s no need. When I get to it, I get to it. This website is really just for me to show some of my work and talk about things that interest me. And maybe a few people will check it out.

So stay tuned. And thanks for reading.

  Photo credits: Luca Bravo

Portfolio and blog of Stephanie Tortomasi,
Graphic Designer in Metro Detroit, USA

Portfolio and blog of Stephanie Tortomasi, Graphic Designer in Metro Detroit, USA

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