Relaxation – take some time out.
August is more often than not, the time for holidays, time off work and for a little self-love and TLC. Are you going away this summer? Or perhaps you’re having a staycation in your home country or having a little weekend here and there where you can totally unwind?
This time is so important for rejuvenation, for refreshing your mindset and for giving yourself a mental break. There is a reason we need sleep – our brains need to switch off from the world. They need to repair and prepare the day ahead. Our bodies are the same, they need a little time off from the usual routine to repair, refresh and revitalise themselves. As does our mind, and that is a whole issue in itself!
How often do you actually just switch off?
Sit back, do nothing or do something that relaxes you. Just for you. Not for work, not for your side hustle, not for anyone else but you. I think it’s even more difficult when you love your job, or you work as a freelancer as we all know “time is money. Time is precious” and I agree – time is precious but not just for monetary reasons. You need to honour the time your body, mind and soul needs at different points throughout the day, throughout the year.
When you love what you do, you don’t seem to mind spending all day attached to your phone or your laptop or even spend all waking hours talking to clients as it’s FUN. But what we don’t realise is that it means we are switched ON 24 hours of everyday. Also, as a freelancer we tend to work odd hours, weekends are just like any other day and it still surprises me that I will receive emails from brands and agencies on a Sunday afternoon. Seriously, what are people doing with their lives if they are not at work? It seems nothing. I know that start-up and freelancer life is tough, it can be really really tough. But we are still human and still deserve some time out to unwind and relax. Maybe we’ve been up since 5am because a client needs a PT session before work or you’re up till 11pm one evening editing photos for a deadline the following morning. Now, it’s OK if that happens every now and then, but more often than not, it’s a recurring theme. What we don’t do is remember those extra hours where the 9-5’ers of the world are going about their morning and evening routines and factor that in to give ourselves a break in the middle of the day. It’s ok to go for lunch with girlfriends on a Tuesday, it’s ok to submit the photos for the deadline then spend all morning practising yoga, doing a food shop and walking in the park. We’ve earned it – physically, emotionally, monetarily and literally! Take the time out!
On the flipside, how many 9-5 jobs are still 9-5? I respect anyone and everyone who sticks to those times, as that is what you are paid for and there is more to life than work. So why do I always see commuters frantically typing away on their laptops on the train? Why are people glued to their work phone in the evenings and at weekends “just in case”? The more and more that this becomes the norm of society, the more that companies feel it is acceptable to have employees working in The City till 2am, sleeping on office floors and waking up to start all over again. Ever wondered why offices offer you breakfast, lunch and dinner in the kitchen for free? They are just drawing you in, giving you every excuse to arrive at work early and giving you no excuse to leave work on time for dinner.
Let’s reclaim our time back!
It’s not going to be easy but set some boundaries. If you are contracted until 5pm, then leave at 5pm. No phones in the evenings, no emails at weekends. Have that “out of office” time literally as “out of office”. Enjoy the weekends with friends and family, make fun plans or make no plans. Give yourself the time to unwind. If you are working freelance, still set boundaries. Make mornings your time where you go to the gym, enjoy your breakfast before opening your laptop or checking your phone, pop to the local farmers market, meet a friend for breakfast every so often, make plans for midday if you know you are in between meetings.
It’s oh-so-easy to let time slip away and look back to realise you haven’t relaxed in a long time.
I’m fortunate enough to go to a few food, fitness and vegan events. I love them, I love chatting to brands, making new friends and talking with like-minded people but in a way, it is still work. The same goes for working in the evenings, I continue after dinner to write up recipes, edit photos, look at blog posts, check social media… all of which I love doing but it takes time and mental effort.
For that reason, I try to fit a few things in every day to actually relax and switch off:
- Morning yoga practise (I am sadly out of the habit right now as I wanted to start work as early as possible, but I am getting back into it).
- A cup of hot water and lemon in bed first thing with no distractions.
- Switching my phone into flight mode every evening at 9pm (unless I am out and need to travel home!)
- Being fully present when I eat – no phones or laptops.
- My phone is always in night time mode which means nothing interrupts me unless I look at it. I do not get alerts for emails; I have to physically check them!
I will try to get better at working in some time to not work at the weekends and in the evenings, but it is a balance and I think I have it sometimes. Like spending the day in London with mum treating ourselves to afternoon tea. Sure, I may have answered some emails in the morning, but being able to take the majority of a Thursday as literally “out of office” feels great.
My top tips would be to make a list of things that help you relax and unwind and fit something in everyday, even something small like a still moment over a cup of coffee or not reading your emails on the commute and listening to a podcast instead. Let me know your thoughts below or share them on social media – I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest – please say hello!
p.s. this post is not sponsored by Natures Heart Superfoods but I am addicted to their Raw Cacao Covered Goldenberries – find them here.