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Three things I’ve learnt from having Chronic Fatigue while growing Push Chocolate

Early last year, I was working full-time while building Push Chocolate and this led me to burn out and get very tired. I caught glandular fever (something that 18-year-olds normally get). 

As a result, I had to take three months off work to help with my recovery. Instead of working full-time, I took a 12-month sabbatical to focus on Push Chocolate and build myself back to how I was. 

After 12 months of hard work, I was ready to relaunch Push Chocolate in brand new packaging and bring out a Low Sugar version. However, I saw the doctor two weeks before the relaunch where I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue. 

Here are three things I’ve learned while having Chronic Fatigue:

1. Delegate everything I’m not good at

This should be an obvious statement but as someone who is a bit of a control freak with the business and wants to do everything, I realised that I can’t and don’t have the time to do everything. 

More importantly, I’m not very good at everything so I make sure that someone else does what I’m bad at, such as digital marketing allowing me to focus on what I’m better at (New Product Development, Operations, Spreadsheets etc.)

2. Accept the Good Days and the Bad Days and treat them the same

For me, Chronic Fatigue feels like waking up after a 3 hour sleep when I’ve slept 8 – 9 hours. I now know how new parents feel, just without the baby. As a result, I will have both good days and bad days. 

On the good days, I’ve learnt to enjoy and appreciate them knowing they won’t last.

On the bad days, I’ve learnt to accept them, not beat myself up over them and appreciate that they too won’t last.

3. Patience in going after and achieving goals 

As someone who is goal driven, such as wanting to complete the Spartan Trifecta, pull a double decker bus and complete the South West Coast Path, it has been a lesson in patience and not pushing (no pun intended) myself too hard too soon.

For example, my goal was to relaunch Push Chocolate in brand new packaging towards the end of 2021 in time for Christmas. In the end, it took much longer and we relaunched in June 2022. However, looking back at this 6 months + delay, I see it as a gift as it gave me more thinking time to really improve and get things as good as I can. 

If I take two steps too quickly then I’m going to end up going three or four steps back. 

By listening to my body and being conscious of what I’m doing I am very slowly getting fitter and stronger. I am no longer at my nadir during the middle of my glandular fever last year – lying on my bed with zero energy. 

Eventually, whether it is next year, the following year or sometime else in the future, I will be in a much better place and will be able to go after and hopefully achieve my goals.

From having my Chronic Fatigue I now have a therapist where I discuss how I am feeling and how I’ve moved on from grieving losing how I was to accepting who I am now and what my future brings. 

All this has taught me one thing – working full-time and growing a business has been extremely taxing on my body and I probably need this to truly appreciate what amazing things our bodies are and how important it is to look after them. 

Want to learn more about Push Chocolate? Read my story. 

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