Last week I took a break from work and all things work related. I didn’t travel anywhere fancy, whilst I would have loved that! I just stayed close to home, gave parts of my house the tidy-up they deserved, ran at times I wanted to (rather than pre-dawn to fit it all in) and sat on the couch and just let the doing ‘nothing’ happen guilt free. And you know what? I learnt a valuable lesson: doing things guilt free is vital to a home feeling happy.
I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t “exciting” by any means. There was a day where I cleaned my bedroom within an inch of it’s life. I vacuumed all the things and one afternoon I cleared and sorted my kitchen cupboards. This might not sound relaxing or remotely fun, but what I quickly realised was that in being able to do it at the speed I wanted without the pressure of “why aren’t you working?” playing in my head, I felt great afterwards. Things weren’t as cluttered and stuff that has been on my “when I’ve got time” to-do list got done to an awesome soundtrack playing in my ears (care of my trusty iPod).
My head has been in a fog for a while. July is always a tough month for me with Winter taking hold and some sad anniversaries that leave my happiness stores feeling depleted. I know it’s coming, but I rarely actually get around to recognising it and acting on it before it hits me with full force. So I just made the decision to stop and take a week to regroup. I know it’s been said 100s of times before, but taking care of yourself is actually really important. It gets lost in the lists and the expectations that we set ourselves, but it really is vital to being able to see the best in the situations that we face and there really isn’t anything wrong with saying “hold up, I’m not coping with this pace, let’s slow down for a bit”.
I know that everyone has different pressures that are on them. There are kids to get to school and deadlines that must be met and it can be more of a challenge to fit this “taking a break” time in. Not everyone gets to say “that’s it, next week is a mental health week”. I do get that. But maybe, with a little bit of planning, there can be pockets made in each day that are just for sitting on the couch reading a book, or sitting on the couch just sitting. Maybe it’s an hour or two on the weekend where you can get out and walk or run on your own and just let your mind focus on nothing but the horizon for just that space in time.
Self-care is one of those terms that advertising has made sound a bit OTT but it’s actually really valuable. How can we see the best in situations if we feel constantly behind or rushed or like we’re hanging on by a thread? It’s just not possible. I used to think that I needed an expensive holiday (vacation) somewhere fancy to feel relaxed, but they are so few and far between that sometimes we have to choose pottering around the house at a slow pace, doing some gardening or even a pyjama day instead.
Sometimes it’s just long enough to remind us that we really did need a little break and we’re glad for it.
Next year I’m going to plan for the expensive trip away to somewhere warm, but even if that doesn’t happen, I promise (myself) that I’ll take a break.
How are you at taking a break to recharge? How do you fit it in?