During the summer months hopefully we all get to take some vacation / holiday time, either alone or with friends or family.
Many coaching clients I have been working with find it difficult to switch off, and feel overwhelmed at times by lots of competing demands, responsibilities and never ending “to do” lists.
When working with a client recently, I asked him if he had any time for himself and he admitted no – that somehow he felt that he had got “lost” in all the busy-ness of business. It was affecting his creativity and energy levels, and he wanted to do something about it – his “batteries” were becoming depleted because he wasn’t taking time for himself.
He even said that he purposely used the computer or smartphone out of habit because “doing nothing” seemed so self-indulgent. He also recognised that doing things solely for himself, even two or three things over the next week, would be helpful to help him get back to being more like himself.
So what kind of things can you do, whether you’re on vacation or just in the few moments of leisure time you might allow yourself during the working week?
Here are some ideas to create some space and give your brain a rest …
- Take a walk or sit by yourself, even for 10-15 minutes, without any earphones or other distractions, and just be present in the moment, noticing the sights, sounds, smells and sensations around you.
- Check out some great smartphone apps including Headspace, Mindfulness I and II and many more, that offer guided mindfulness practices as short as 1-3 minutes – you can do these in the car (not while driving) perhaps while you’re waiting to pick someone up, or take a few minutes before you go into the office. The website www.franticworld.com also has some great free meditation recordings.
- Read a book, purely for pleasure – maybe a book you’ve always wanted to read, or wouldn’t normally be your thing.
- Do something creative with your hands – many people who believe they aren’t creative really are; they just haven’t found out how yet – try pottery, painting, collage, sketching, sandsculpture, gardening, baking, photography… its amazing how working with your hands can help you learn new things about yourself.
- Try some exercise if you don’t already – use your body rather than your head! This has obvious physical benefits as well as giving you some head-space – yoga, dance, zumba, cycling, running, tennis, spinning, beach volleyball!
- Listen to music, or sing or play an instrument – the power of music to relax and stimulate our creativity is amazing – but again take time out just to listen, and pay attention to the music, without doing anything else.
- While on vacation or in leisure time, consider a digital detox, switching off devices and keeping “off grid” even for a couple of hours can work wonders.
We spend so much of our time multi-tasking, juggling various tasks, firing on all cylinders – when deep down we know that to be truly effective at anything requires our full attention and focus. That includes spending quality time… with yourself.
Try it – and let us know what works for you!