There’s nothing like taking time off to remind you how important it is to stop rushing and make time for yourself. I’m currently on holiday, the longest one I’ve had since 2014, and the biggest decisions I’ve made so far this week have included where to go for dinner, what shoes to wear and which inflatable ring I’d like for floating down the lazy river (the answer to that last one is “the biggest, brightest inflatable you have”, by the way!). Waking up to a view of sun-drenched palm trees also has an incredibly calming effect. A girl could get used to this!
Being away from city life, daily tasks and other pressures feels like a real luxury, and it got me thinking about why it feels so precious. I think taking downtime doesn’t necessarily need to involve booking a getaway, it’s more about the FEELING that comes from slowing down, being kind to yourself and just hitting that refresh button (so to speak!). Earlier today Gary said that he felt “really relaxed and very happy”, and I couldn’t have put it better myself.
I’m also a firm believer that there a huge benefits from pausing and taking time out – be it an hour, a week, or whatever length of time you can manage. The first thing that I notice is a renewed feeling of focus, and I feel like I can really throw myself into projects with 100% energy and enthusiasm If you’re almost out of steam, it’s unlikely you’ll be giving your best work, don’t you think? I also find that ideas come to me after a bit of time away, it’s almost like I’m looking at things through a different set of eyes!
Spending your time doing something different can also help you recognise and appreciate the little things that you might usually forget about. This happened to me today, when I stopped to admire some unique buildings. I took more time than I usually would, looking at the buildings from different angles and gushing over their sleek, mid-century style. I didn’t even notice how long I’d spent there because I wasn’t clock-watching and had no plans to make me rush off.
How you decide to recharge your batteries and take this time is up to you, and so is how long you spend doing it. I have a few suggestions to help you get started! Here are 5 easy ways to hit refresh…
1. Switch off your phone, or at least turn off your notifications. Create a bit of space between yourself and the online world, even if it’s just for a morning. Disconnecting from all of the information (if you’re honest, is it all useful information?) and chatter will help clear your mind, trust me!
2.Go somewhere new. You might decide to spend a long weekend in a far-off city, or simply take the scenic route on the walk home. But get out there! Take your time, look around and think about what makes this place different or exciting. You might come back feeling inspired but at the very least you’ll feel relaxed.
3. Exercise. I’m not talking about anything brutal here, but even some gentle workouts can get those endorphins going and make you feel better. What I really like about exercising is that it gives me time to be by myself with my thoughts, and the only thing I really need to focus on is my breathing. Yoga is particularly great for this, good vibes guaranteed!
4. Laugh. So simple, yet so effective! One of my favourite ways to relax is by laughing, believe it or not! Schedule a coffee date with the friend you feel you can be your weird, ridiculous self with or watch your favourite comedy movie. And if you start to giggle, or even let out a big belly laugh, don’t hold it in! It feels amazing.
5. Have quiet time at home. Plan an hour or two that puts you at the centre – what do you feel like doing? Maybe you’ll finish that book that’s been at your bedside for months, or maybe you’ll slide into a frothy bubble bath. You might even decide to simply sit in silence or close your eyes for a little while, just clear your mind while you’re doing it.
As you can see, downtime doesn’t need to cost a penny or even be that complicated – but whatever you decide to do, try to be present in the moment and enjoy the time you spend on yourself. Sometimes we try to do so much for other people that we forget that we’re worth investing in too!
When was the last time you took some time out? Did you feel the benefits afterwards?