Take a Break
Why is it that we humans don’t seem to be able to relax?
Or is it just some of us?
I feel a bit of a fraud writing this because there’s a big part of me that is very able to relax, that is, in fact, more than a little lazy.
But sometimes I struggle with the idea of taking a bit of time to myself, for myself, to well, just be.
2 weeks ago, I completed a 50- day challenge (self-imposed) to do something I’ve never done before each day for 50 days. And I did it. Each day, I found something to do that I had never done before, did it, wrote about the experience and then posted it on my blog (see Everyday for 50 days).
It was fun. I had a focus for my working day, and although it didn’t take up the whole day my life revolved around the project. I made it a point of ensuring that the blog was posted before the end of the day. One day, towards the end, I woke up at about 3am and remembered I hadn’t pressed the button to publish the post. I got up.
Anyway, I finished the projectin the days that followed I couldn’t seem to get going again. It’s all a part of my business so I have loads of other things to do but I just couldn’t get going.
So what did I do?
I started to beat myself up.
‘You should be doing this, you should be doing that,’ I said.
‘What’s the next step?’ I asked.
‘Why-are-you tired-you’re-not-doing-anything???’ I proclaimed!
‘So-what-if-it’s-5am-GET-UP’ I shouted.
I couldn’t get going, I was beating myself up and I was sleeping badly. So of course, by the end of the week my energy was low as was my mood and understandably, I was beginning to get on my own nerves.
So I took myself out for a walk. A long walk. During that walk I started remembering other times I had come to the end of a big project and how I would have a short period of nothingness, where I’m not able to do anything new, where I’m not particularly productive. Those periods after I finished an acting job, those times when I finished a big piece of work in my grown-up job, last year, after my seminar in Lagos.
And I realised that what had been going was a natural slump that I go through at the end of something. I’m aware of this slump, but for some reason I didn’t recognise it this time, I thought I was being lazy. So instead of celebrating the end of a successful project, instead of rewarding myself with well-deserved R n R I moped about getting frustrated with myself.
How daft is that?
But as I sit here and write I realise that I am totally missing the point. I didn’t think I was being lazy because I was feeling low, I told myself I’m being lazy because I didn't believe I needed a break.
Because writing isn’t a proper job.
Because I’m not a writer I’m a coach.
Because writing a blog is what you do as a hobby.
Because it’s not a job it’s my dream, it's what I would do if I had £10m and didn’t have to work.
It’s what I’m doing, what I’ve been doing all this year. Writing a blog, seeing clients and growing my business. I’m doing what I said I wanted to do, but finding it hard to call it work because I’m enjoying it so much.
I found it hard to tell people I was going home to work at first, but now I could can say it, mean it and not feel like I'm being pretentious. I feel as accountable to the people that read this, including you, as I did to an employer and I give it the energy that I would give any project in my old career – more even - because I really love it. And I haven’t loved what I’m doing this much since I stopped acting however many years ago that was.
And I sit here and smile as I type because it’s true, I’m working and doing a job that I love. I’m living my dream.
Part of the reason I have my own coaching business and I’m not employed by anyone is so I can choose my working hours. So that I don’t work if I don’t feel like it. So that I can be kinder to myself than an employer would be. So next time I need to actively give myself permission.
Yes I’ll give myself permission.
Is there an area where you’re not giving yourself permission to enjoy where you are? Where you’re not valuing what you do because you don’t think it’s important or serious enough? Are you beating yourself up when you should be lifting yourself up? If yes then
Take a breath and give yourself a break.