After I finally let myself off the hook and took a few days off, I was really able to relax into it a few days off in Norfolk last week. I had struggled to allow myself time off.
Taking time off isn’t always easy. Tending to our needs isn’t always easy. Doing anything for ourselves is not easy. But it is necessary.
When I gave myself permission, I wanted the best possible chance of a complete switch off, so this meant being prepared. I had to consider my default position when I got itchy feet during my down time. This included:
> Tying up loose ends so I could relax and wasn’t at risk of ‘I’ll just do one more thing’ when I was off work
> Planning ahead and writing a lists for my return so I felt secure in knowing I wouldn’t forget anything
> Reflecting on how I wanted to feel, think and be so that I could actively adopt this way of being when I was away
> Thinking of the things I wanted to do so that I wouldn’t need to think of things when I was off (and revert to working as a default)
> Telling people I was having a break and therefore being accountable
> Changing the scenery - sometimes at home it can be too easy to revert to the daily routine. My time off was to embrace a new routine and so, for me, I needed a couple of days in new surroundings.
This meant I was more at ease during my time off. I had prepped my mind and planned for those moments when I inevitably would reach for the laptop.
What I noticed -
> Once I relaxed, it felt amazing
> I didn’t do everything I set myself, but I was ok with that
> Walking was very meditative and provided valuable thinking time - without structure when the mind can wander
> I felt re-energised
> I felt loved - I had given myself what I needed
> Giving myself space doesn’t mean doing nothing. I restored, re-configured where I am at and noticed more nuanced emotions
If I could extend you one invitation, it would be to not fear down time - prepare in a way that gives you the best chance to embrace it. Value your self-care in the way you do ‘being productive’. Stillness makes you better, helps you notice and improves the way you talk to yourself.
When you are consistent with it, it is a continual upward cycle!
Gemma Brown is an associate certified coach with the International Coach Federation, working with people to navigate successfully through transitions - be it career, relationships or life in general. Her belief is that when we confidently bring our whole selves to all areas of life, anything is possible. Transitions exist in both our personal and business life, and so often, the two fiercely overlap. Coaching with Gemma focuses on you as a whole, enabling you to identify your strengths, build confidence and to live a life with increased purpose and direction. Gemma is based in Cambridgeshire and carries out face to face coaching in the area as well as 1-2-1 coaching via Skype and Zoom. For more about Gemma, visit her 'About' page or contact her directly.