August is usually the month for holidays, spending time away from work and focusing on a bit of rest and relaxation. With lockdown restrictions in varying degrees still in place around the world, the traditional summer holiday seems a fond but distant memory.
You may be one of the few still travelling overseas this year, but I for one am staying put. And if you are doing the same, are you still planning some “holiday time” with your family or for yourself?
Without the holiday break that we have become so accustomed to, will we forget to take some time out? The classic hard-worker, perfectionist, over-achiever in me has got used to lockdown life meaning working 7 days a week. I’ll admit that even before lockdown I would work at weekends (when you love what you do, the line between hobby and work easily blurs) but I’d make sure to have one day off. And that day would usually be spent meeting friends for brunch in London, going to a workout class, treating mum and I to afternoon tea or just going out for a coffee. It was my weekly rest and relaxation. COVID saw an end to all of that so coffees out turned into frantic coffees indoors in between shoots and brunch dates turned into zoom calls before heading back to the laptop or the kitchen. I am not complaining, far from it, but I have been told a few times to STOP and to take some time out for me. This is just talking about a weekly scale, not to mention the year as a whole or breaking it down to the summer.
Are you working all the time? Do you stop? I actively encourage resting for it is the way in which our body, our mind and our creativity can restore and re-flourish. I fully believe we all need to slow things down, take check of what our bodies and brains need in order to be happy and healthy. But that is all easier said than done…
Sometimes the best solution is to rest, relax and recharge. It’s hard to be your best on empty.
– Sam Glenn.
The decision to rest becomes a conscious one in favour of our own health. We must decide to be OK with not constantly doing and just enjoy the moment of being. Really, it all comes back to balance. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t run a car on an empty… all of those age-old quotes come to mind. So, let’s think how we can actively embrace a bit of R&R in our lives…
There are some really inspiring stories coming to the Creative Impact Magazine in August (where I work part-time) and I’ve had the pleasure of helping put together some amazing interviews and tips for the perfect “staycation” weekend. I really am so passionate about these and you’ll also find a few of my favourite products and food brands to make you feel like you’re on your holidays!
For now, what little actions steps can we all do to mindfully make our “holiday” time a relaxing break?
- Plan in some time out. Literally, write in your weekly diary and schedule some time out. Not checking emails, not editing in Lightroom, but choosing to read a book. Sitting outside. Going for a walk. I dedicate Saturday mornings at the moment to family walks in nature and it is so restorative.
- Create a playlist of your favourite holiday songs. We all have a few songs that make us nostalgic for summers gone by or instantly transport us to the other side of the world. Make a note of them all and play them loudly. Or, listen to the sound of the waves while you work and imagine you’re by the beach…
- Light a candle. I have a few favourite candles that smell heavenly and allow me to breathe in and imagine before my eyes the tropical sands of Bali. Maybe you have some winter-scented ones that you equally love, give them a go.
- Pamper time. Lighting a candle makes me think of the ultimate pampering experience and it needn’t feel “self-indulgent” or take too long. I have a few face masks that I do a couple of times a week. I leave them on for 10 minutes and those 10 minutes may be short, but I spend them just relaxing. Or I catch up on voice notes with friends – just a little way to be present.
- Get creative in the kitchen! A big part of the reason we love to travel is to experience the local cuisines. You cannot beat fresh gelato in Italy or a selection of Tapas in Spain not to mention warm pastries in France. Instead of going there, bring the food to you. Dedicate a night to a theme or cuisine and fully embrace it! Mexican food is always a winner or try making your own pizzas for a slice of somewhere overseas.
- Experience something new. Holidays are also so wonderful because we experience new and different things all the time. It is an escape from the norms of our everyday lives, so they feel exciting. Think of a few things you’d like to try or to visit close to home and make a plan to do them. Perhaps it is visiting that café you have always wanted to go to, going on that walk you never manage to do or even something as simple as having your breakfast outside when you usually eat it indoors. Switch things up.
I am by no means an expert on this topic, it is all very unique to you. Rest and relaxation will be very different for each person. If you have a desk-based job, chilling out may be spending all day in the kitchen. If you are an active person for work, it may be sitting down and doing nothing.
There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.
I invite you to make a list of a few simple ways you are going to force yourself to switch off over this next month (and beyond) and see the impact it is on your everyday wellbeing. Take a deep breath in and out and focus on you.
We all have the same number of minutes each day, how you choose to spend yours is up to you.