the reality check

Megan Nielsen

As a reader of my blog, you probably know by now that I’m a really hard worker. I’ve never been one to sleep in, begin work at 10, take long lunches and leave at 4. No. I like to get things done, as many things as I can. I’m up super early, and in bed super late. I don’t take breaks, pretty much ever. I’ll fill in every minute of every day with “things that need to get done”.

And finally, this week, that kind of behavior caught up with me. I had the reality check.

After feeling off colour for almost a month I finally went to the doctor – and found that I have an ulcer. He gave me a talking to about my unhealthy lifestyle, and he was 100% right. I am run down. I live unhealthily. I don’t sleep well, I don’t eat well, and I certainly don’t have any balance.

It will get better, and go away if I rest – but if I keep pushing (as I’m prone to doing), it will get worse.

There are moments in your life where you’re given the opportunity to do the right thing, and at this moment, I know the right thing is to take a good rest, and get better. Even if i don’t like it.

I struggle with this, because I know myself, and I know the second I put my backside on a couch I will feel a wave of guilt and laziness. But I know it needs to be done.

And the idea of taking a break so soon after releasing my new collection scares me – but I always try and make my decisions first as a mother, before I consider the business side of things. And I know this is the right thing for my family. I can’t look after anyone if I’m not healthy, and I haven’t been healthy in a while.

So my dear friends after that incredibly rambling mind dump – I am just here today to let you know that I’ll be taking a month off to rest, recoup and get better.

Please don’t feel worried though – I will be back in a few weeks, this is just a holiday – and though patterns won’t be available through my store for a few weeks, you will still be able to find your favourite sews via my lovely stockists 

Thanks for understanding.

Love and hugs! Meg XOXO

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  1. says

    Aww, you do need a rest, you amazing woman you! I hope you enjoy a speedy recovery and have a wonderful month off with your family. Blessings to you!

  2. says

    Good decision! It’s worth stopping before things get really bad. I always think of these things like the “help yourself before helping others” message that you get on the plane. You can’t help anyone if you are sick. One month is nothing in the scheme of things. Enjoy the break. I bet you will come back with a tonne of inspiration as well. Look after yourself!

  3. says

    Oh gosh Megan so sorry to hear you are not well! Being a working mum is a big load to carry, but I have the same philosophy as Roxy you cant take care of others if your not taking care of YOU! We will miss you but we wont forget you, I promise! Enjoy your break and getting to spend extra time with those beautiful kiddies of yours :-) xx

  4. says

    I developed a bleeding ulcer when I was 23 – for very much the same reasons you gave here. Thankfully, I did not have children yet – I was in so much pain I could barely move or function – and I still had to work full time and attend classes. Forcing myself to stop stressing so much was a tough lesson to learn, because creative people often drive themselves right into the ground – I think it sort of comes with the territory. Take this time to rest & heal – I know how much it bothers you to “just sit” – but think of it as meaningful and restorative – helping your body to heal itself faster while you are resting. Pick up some hand-sewing, beading, or knitting if you do that. Hand work can become very meditative, especially if you allow yourself to think healing thoughts and NOT to let the guilt start pouring in because you are doing “nothing.” You are replenishing, restoring, and regrouping. Heal well, enjoy the extra time you have, cherish your family.

  5. says

    Sorry to hear this. You are doing the right thing. Perhaps think about how you can change your schedule going forward. I’m sure your fans here won’t mine less blog posts as long as you continue the patterns!

  6. says

    Don’t feel guilty about rest…consider it an incubation period for the next round of fabulous ideas for your next collection. Hope the rest and recuperation leaves you healthier and stronger.

  7. Beth says

    Dear Megan,

    Sorry to hear you’re not well :( resting can be hard! Have a little mindless knitting or crochet always helps me to sit and take a break while still feeling like I’m doing something! I hope you find your own ways to rest well :) xxx

  8. says

    Sorry to hear about your health problems, but you definitely made the right decision. I found myself in a similar position a few years ago, when my body was screaming to take a break from drawing during a time with a lot of work and deadlines, and I didn’t listen then. This stubbornness resulted in problems that got way too serious, and that still bother me today. I wish I had listened to myself when I had to!

  9. says

    So sorry to hear you’re not well, but I’m happy to see your perspective on it! Enjoy your break and don’t worry about us, we’ll be fine. :) Shoot, I’ve been thinking of taking a month off of my blog just to clear my head and rebalance, just because! Take care.

  10. says

    Rest well Megan, and don’t feel guilty! Your health is more important than all the rest, and we’ll all still be here when you’re feeling better.

  11. Carolyn says

    In a way- taking a holiday after the release of a collection is the perfect time! You worked so hard- you deserve a break! And when you come back there will be even more awesome photos of creations made from your new patterns all over the web- they’ll still get bought and sewn without you turning the wheels of this blog (as much as I love your posts). So for now you can relax. :) Quality family time coming right up!

  12. Michelle says

    Good for you for choosing to take care of yourself! I hope and pray you feel better. Blessings!

  13. says

    Oh, hope you feel better! That is never fun. Take a good long rest, and will look forward to seeing you back online soon.

  14. says

    Oh Meg! I’m sorry to hear you’re not well!! Consider it a blessing in disguise and focus on feeling better and enjoying your break! Take care, love.

  15. says

    I’m definitely not as hard a worker as you, but I do know what it’s like to feel guilty when I’m not being productive. That being said, I always feel like I come back with fresh perspective and renewed resolve when I take a break from things! Take a vacation!

  16. says

    Wishing you a speady recovery. You always need to take time for yourself. Even if it mean working it into your daily plan. So take a rest, and when you come back, just get smarter at working.

  17. says

    Get well soon! I know it’s hard, but your health has to come first. I don’t think anyone could possibly think you’re lazy!

  18. says

    Oh Megan, I am so sorry! I will be sending lots of good, healing thoughts your way, and I hope you start feeling better soon! Please try to get lots of sleep- I love this quote: “That we are not much sicker and much madder than we are is due exclusively to that most blessed and blessing of all natural graces, sleep.” (by Aldous Huxley) It is so hard, but it affects our health so much when we don’t get enough sleep. Be well, see you here when you are ready to come back! In the meantime I will be sewing up your patterns like crazy :)

  19. says

    I do hope you feel better soon – I’ll be resting right up there with you – I had a nasty health scare last week too. Time to take stock. Feet up. X

  20. says

    Girl, you of all people definitely deserve a break, you are a machine! Even if you took 6 months off I doubt anyone would be able to label you as lazy so definitely try not to feel like that (I know it’s hard not to though). Relax, enjoy your family, and don’t stress! Sending all my best thoughts your way! xo

  21. says

    I really hope you can get some guilt-free and well deserved rest! Get well soon and we’ll welcome you back in a bit :)

  22. says

    I completely understand that is what comes with running your own small business, and you are not alone there. You are doing the right thing and we will all be here when you are ready, but next time with a bit more balance ????

  23. Michelle says

    Take all the time you need. It is what YOU need to do that is important. We will all be here when you return. Take care of yourself. :.)

  24. says

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re not well. I think lots of us make ourselves feel guilty about not working, when actually we have every right to a bit of ‘me’ time too. I hope you do manage to relax and recover this month! xxx

  25. says

    Aw Megan I’m so sorry to hear this. Good for you for taking a much needed break though, you definitely need one!! I honestly can’t think of anyone who works harder than you and thus who would deserve a break more than you do. I hope you get feeling better hun. xx

  26. says

    Enjoy your time… that’s not a punishing to take a break. You did a excellent work and rest is a necessity… I hope you feel better soon!

  27. says

    It’s ALWAYS important to take a break! Well done, you’ve had a HUGELY successful year, and taking a break won’t stop that ball rolling! Get better soon lovely, and enjoy yourself and spoil yourself! xo

  28. Carole Kus says

    Just do what the doctor orders and GET WELL SOON, will miss you but, your health is sooooo important. Enjoy your break XXXXX

  29. says

    I hope you’ll feel better soon, and that you can enjoy your holiday. When you feel guilty about doing nothing, maybe you can try looking at it as working very hard to be healthy again ;) after all, that is what you really are doing isn’t it?

  30. says

    Megan, be thankful it is just an ulcer. I did the same thing to myself a few years back, running my alterations shop. I got myself full blown Grave’s Disease (hyperactive thyroid). I M still struggling with this, yes three years later. I had to eventually close my shop, and begin working from my home at my own pace, which sometimes meant not at all. For a willful, driven person, this is extremely difficult to get used to. I still find it very difficult to balance work and stress and life in manageable amounts.
    I cannot tell you just how important it is for you to begin to change your attitude towards working vs. rest. There is a balance, and tipping those scales can be very detrimental to your long term health and happiness.
    Good luck with your health, take it easy.
    Remember what Winnie the Pooh says: “Don’t think too hard!”

  31. says

    Aw Meg, you DEFINITELY deserve – as well as need – a rest after all the hard work you’ve put into the new collection. And the great thing about being self-employed is that you can! As a fellow productivity geek and workaholic, I know how difficult it can be to just stop, but consider it an investment in the future of your business. We’ll all still be here for you when you’re ready to return to work. Now stop reading your blog comments and get back to lying down! xxx

  32. Joolz says

    Glad you are doing the right thing for yourself, Meg! Also, seems like a good time to take a rest- gotta give people time to finish sewing your newest patterns- not everyone’s as prolific a sewer as you! Looking forward to hearing from a healthier Meg in a month :)

  33. says

    Meg, an ULCER?! I’m so sorry! Girl, you get your butt on the couch and stay there! Wishing you lots of rest, recovery, and time to heal and repair.

  34. Anna says

    A well deserved rest! Take care, I wish you all things wonderful on your vacation,oh and of course a speedy recovery.

  35. says

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re ill – you’ve had such a busy year both personally with an international move and a new collection! You must take care of yourself for your little ones and your husband first. You have such a good reputation in the sewing world that some much deserved time out won’t do your brand any harm…we’ll all still be here when you get back. Just sit back with a book, do some painting and knitting/sewing for yourself for pleasure and just let your body heal. You should spend some time thinking of ways to minimise the hours you do when you come back as ulcers can return. Treat this break as a time to change your working patterns otherwise you’ll be back to square one again in no time! Take care and just enjoy the rest.

  36. says

    Take your time to recover! Your health is the most important thing, even though I can definetily understand why it can be hard to take your time to rest (I’m the same, always doing a lot of stuff!). But it’s important to learn to rest sometimes also!

  37. Mel says

    We understand. I have prem babies and for my last had to do 8 weeks of bed rest. Hardest thing ever! But I learnt that I don’t listen to my body ever. As a culture we tend to “push on”. Since having my sweet full term baby I have been trying to listen to my body and have felt so much better for it. Good luck, and try your best to enjoy it.

  38. says

    Oh no! I’m sorry you’re not feeling well! Go attach yourself to the couch and develop some addictions to terrible daytime tv. And just know that the entire online sewing community is going to be on your case like nagging mums if we hear a peep from you on here in the next few weeks! <3

    Seriously though, I hope you feel better! Ulcers sound awful :/

  39. says

    Oh Megan how hard! I can really relate as well, my body always takes a toll when I’m stretched, which I so often am! Life is good at giving us little check points, and good or bad they are a blessing when they help us regroup/refocus/rest. I do hope you have a lovely rest and that your body heals, and that you enjoy it all 100% guilt free. Hugs!!

  40. Katja says

    Hi Megan!

    I know that situation myself and even though it’s hard to rest, when you feel guilty it’s worth it and at some point you will also learn to feel that it’s good. I wish you the very best!

  41. says

    I completely agree with you and your priorities. If the mum goes down, the whole family follows. Take it easy and enjoy yourself. You’ll still be way ahead of the rest of us afterwards ;) Our family drinks green smoothies every morning and it gives me a real boost. Even my children like them (silverbeet, banana, apple, frozen blueberries and raspberries whizzed with water and ice cubes). Meg xx

  42. says

    I’m so sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. I’ve heard ulcers are incredibly painful. I only recently discovered your patterns and blog but they are more than worth any wait :)

    Healing prayers for you!

  43. says

    Rest up and get well soon. We’ll be here when you’re feeling back to yourself again. :)

    Your health comes first.

  44. Amanda says

    It really does take a reset on how you think but your health/well being has to come first…then family…then everything else. Love your designs and everything you put into this blog, but I’m glad to hear that you’ll be taking some much needed time off. Hopefully, you’ll be able to figure out long term balance. Wishing you well!

  45. Nicki says

    So sorry to hear you are unwell. Don’t feel guilty about taking a break!Get well soon xx

  46. says

    Oh my gosh, Megan! I’m reading this a while after you posted it, but… take care of yourself! Health is the most important thing we have, we must treasure it!

  47. says

    Sending you support and encouragement as you get strong again. I hope this time can be a time of much deserved rest and relaxation!

  48. Kim says

    Reading this a bit late, hope you’re already a bit more relaxed. Take care! And thanks so much for my pattern, I guess I ordered it just in time :)

  49. says

    aw Megan, I’m happy that you found out before something else terrible could have happened. You are a hard worker. Hard workers can take breaks too! Rest up and enjoy the time with your kids! They’re only young and innocent once. <3

  50. stef says

    I have just discovered your site and blog from my French village’s desk and waoouahh , i’ve never found so many tutorials and help to cover all the various patterns pmakings for clumsy sewists like me
    you sure deserve a rest !!enjoy some quality time , thank you for all your help

  51. says

    I suffer from the fear of laziness too – the best tip I can give you is this: Put “spend three hours reading on the couch” on your list of “things to do”. It changes your mindset about it, and it IS an important task! Glad you are better now :)


  1. […] It would be my life for at least a year. All things would have to take second seat to it. And suddenly i found myself thinking about how i could possibly look after my darling kids and how i could try and run my business and still find time for full time book writing. When would i spend time with Chris? When would i sleep? And the more i tried to make it all work, the more it became apparent that it couldn’t. (by this point in the year i had developed a stress ulcer) […]