HOW TO: TAKE QUALITY TIME OFF
Whether you're freelance, running your own business, or simply knocking off work for a few days, this time of year offers a #blessed opportunity to regroup and reset before the new year ahead. Unfortunately, those of us who are used to the constant pressure of wondering where the next job (and pay cheque) is coming from can find it difficult to take a proper break. If you count yourself in this number, here are some tips on preparing yourself for a restful, restorative holiday season ahead.
(In that spirit, this will be my last blog post of 2015–gotta go spend some time with my mama. Thanks for reading/sharing/emailing your words of support for The WW Club over the past 11 months, and please do sign up over here -> for more articles, conversations, and some very exciting news to kick off 2016. Happy holidays!)
PLAN A DIGITAL DETOX
There seems to have been a huge backlash to constant social media connectivity and phone usage this year–I'm interested to see how this develops in 2016. If you're not quite ready to embrace Flip Phone life (as a considerable number of people I know have already) then at least factor in two or three days completely phone-free over the Christmas/New Year period.
This is the only time of year when absolutely no-one will be expecting you to get back to emails, and you certainly don't need to spend Christmas Day looking at smug snaps of gifts and/or overflowing plates of food. Turn that thing off, put in a drawer, and spend a day or two living IRL.
DO SOMETHING CREATIVE
If you've spent all year trying to get round to some creative project or other and never really found the time, well: here's your time. Treat yourself to a a sketchbook, set of paints, notebook or whatever, and get crafty. If you have small children around that need entertaining, rope them in too. Two birds, one stone etc. etc.
The word 'pampering' makes me shudder...So let's go for self-care instead, shall we? (Still pretty shuddery). Fill your days off with the self-care rituals that revive your body and soul–and if you've never figured out what those are then now is the time to do so.
Lots of people switch off by watching endless hours of Netflix, but I've realised this doesn't really do anything for me. (If anything, trying to choose a show just stresses me out.) Personally, I like reading novels written by/about women, cooking, browsing health and nutrition blogs, writing stream-of-consciousness rubbish, and FaceTiming my friends in London. Make your own list of restorative practices, and spend plenty of time implementing them.
Walking is famously beneficial for the creative spirit, and the freakishly warm temperatures that both the east coast US and UK are experiencing right now mean there's really no excuse not to get outside. Leave that phone at home (see above), grab a friend and/or dog, and head straight to your nearest green space or pleasant neighbourhood.
REMEMBER THAT TIME OFF WORK = BETTER WORK
Endless studies show that regular breaks are essential for replenishing creative energy and staying motivated to work on long term projects. If you're even feeling one iota of guilt about taking some time off then remember that you're actually helping yourself and your career by doing so. No doubt you've achieved much, much more this year than you give yourself credit for - make a 'Done' list if you're struggling to pat yourself on the back - so 'X' off your Gmail tab and zone out. Your 2016 self will thank you for it.