My husband and I had a chance to take a short vacation a couple of weekends ago, and boy did I need to break. I've been very overwhelmed with the "day job" plus re-branding my author website and creating this website. It's been a lot of work, and I'm terrible about taking breaks. However, I know I needed it because I was close to cracking. While away, I did feel relaxed and realized how badly I needed to de-stress, which got me thinking: how many of us forget how to relax? Or worse, don't know how to relax? Breaks don't need to be complicated. In fact, they shouldn't (or this would take away the entire point of relaxing!). There are several ways to de-stress, but today, I wanted to share what I learned from my mini-vacation.
CHANGE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Even though we stayed in a hotel in Indio (which was ten minutes away), it was still nice to be in an entire new setting. There weren’t any house chores, it felt like a vacation (it was), and there were pools to swim in and a lazy river. Yes, it was still the desert, but the way I felt about being in a new place made a difference.
- Work in a new environment, like the library. Swap homes with a friend for the weekend (or even one night). OR see if a family member will let the kids sleep over at their house for one night so you have your home to yourself.
- Often, taking a walk in the afternoon or reading a favorite book at the nearest coffee shop for an hour is enough to help me relax and shake away the stress cluttering my mind.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME AWAY FROM WORK
This was the most difficult part of the entire weekend for me. I really wanted to work. Not on school stuff (ugh) but on writing and my websites. I brought my laptop with me, promising I would only use it to watch YouTube, but you know I wanted to cheat. Lucky for me, the hotel was in such a remote location of the desert, there was no WIFI so I couldn't work. Joke was on me, I guess. But you know what? I'm so glad I didn't do any work. Since I took the weekend off, I felt so refreshed by Monday that I accomplished loads of work I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.
- Once a week, give yourself a day off (or at least an afternoon off) to do whatever you want to do. Sleep, read, go the movies, try out a new restaurant, or just lounge on the couch and watch a favorite movie.
- Don't multitask. Don't trick yourself by claiming you're going to relax and watch a favorite T. V. show, but really you're working the entire time on your blog, claiming that you're "relaxing" because the T. V. is on.Taking time away from work is actually GOOD for your business. If you won't relax for yourself,
- Taking time away from work is actually GOOD for your business. If you won't relax for yourself, then at least do it for your business.
My favorite one! On this particular trip, I didn’t do anything special for pampering other than catching up some much-needed sleep, but usually when I take vacations, one of my favorite things to do is get a pedicure. It’s a simple hour of relaxation plus my feet feel and look amazing for the next couple of weeks. A fresh haircut or massage is another way I like to treat myself. I wish I could get massages more often. I think the next vacation I take will definitely need to include one :)
- Schedule a facial, massage, or pedicure/manicure one afternoon each month. Or go DIY and take a couple of hours to relax in the tub and give yourself a facial and pedicure.
- You could also take yourself out to lunch. Splurge on a dessert you normally would never order.
- Have you ever gone to the movies by yourself? The afternoons are great times for movies. Everyone else is at school or work, so the theater is relatively empty (plus the tickets are cheaper!)
Exercise is an excellent way to clear your head and let go of stress. What’s great about it is you can fit exercise into your daily routine. My favorite thing to do is yoga, and I love swimming, even though I don't get to do that often. Each morning and afternoon, my husband and I went for a walk around the hotel grounds and I spent more time doing yoga than I normally do at home. Taking time to energize my body is exactly what I needed!
- Go walking, running, biking, or swimming three times a week.
- Try adding meditation to your exercise routine by either starting or ending with breathing exercises. It’s easy to meditate when you include it with something you are already doing (or what I call Habit Stacking >>> learn more about habits here!)
About a month ago, a friend of mine showed me her writing journal and it was exactly what I needed to get back into freewriting. Every night before bed, I let loose in a composition notebook. I write down everything that comes to mind about work, writing, book ideas, blog ideas, etc. This isn't daily journal or diary; I'm not focused mostly on writing/work, and getting all my ideas out of my head before bed helps me sleep better at night. Having this with me on our vacation was perfect. Since I was allowing my brain and body to de-stress, a ton of ideas about my business came to mind! Bonus :)
- Find any old notebook lying around your house. I suggest not buying a pretty, brand-new one because that can make you feel intimidated. Next, set a goal to write for 15-20 minutes every day. Add an alarm on your phone to remind you. And most importantly, don't think about what you are writing, just get it all out. No one is going to see this but you. You can rip out the pages and throw them away when you are done if you want to, so go for it.
- And check out this post about Bullet Journaling and Braindumping.
Don't fool yourself into believing relaxing and de-stress are the same thing as being lazy because they're NOT. The exact opposite is true: You will have more energy, more ideas, and more confidence when you allow your body and brain time off from work.
This week, schedule out one hour you are going to take off to do something for yourself that has nothing to do with work. + Leave a comment and tell me what your number one tip for de-stressing is!