This post seemed particularly relevant today, seeing as I know a lot of people who really would quite like to take a break from the world right now.
In my dream life whenever I need to take a break I leap in my private jet and spend a week lounging by a pool, or drinking hot chocolate in a Viennese café, or eating pasta in a Tuscan villa, or just generally doing something different and expensive. In my dream life I’m also 6 inches taller, 2 dress sizes smaller and probably have some kind of super power (I’m quite fancying the Luke Cage style super strength and invulnerability).
Seeing as I’m stuck with my real life, and in that life I don’t have the time, let alone the money, to even jump on an Easy Jet flight every time I need a break, I have to find other ways of giving myself a bit of space.
We all need a bit of breathing space sometimes. Life can be intense, we have work, social commitments, family and friends that all need our attention. We have money worries, personal problems and professional issues to deal with. There are days when I set myself goals that I can’t possibly accomplish in one day, I roll them over to the next day and that to do list just builds and builds until you can’t even look at it any more.
I haven’t really had a proper holiday for a long time. We’ve taken short breaks of up to 5 days, but that fabled 2 weeks in the sun just doesn’t fit in with my life. Those mini breaks are lovely, but there’s other ways I’ve found over the years of giving yourself a little bit of that refreshed and relaxed feeling, sometimes without even leaving the house. So here are some suggestions for little ways to take a break, not matter how much time you have.
None of these are particularly ground breaking, but we all need a reminder to take some time off occasionally, right?
If you’ve got time to give yourself a whole weekend off from your regular life, but not enough time or money to organise a trip away you can still get a decent break.
Be a tourist in your home town, look up local museums and events, many of them might even be free. Switch things up, sleep in your spare room, treat yourself to something unusual for dinner and generally behave like you’re on holiday. Many years ago a very skint me turned my house into a cruise ship for the weekend, I printed “ship” maps to stick on the walls, and bought individual cereal packets and croissants for the “breakfast buffet” every day. I couldn’t quite run to installing a pool and hiring staff to bring tea and coffee to my room, but you have to use a little imagination.
Don’t spend it catching up with your household chores, or going to the gym, or doing some shopping. Literally take the day off. My favourite way to spend a day off is watching cheesy movies or a box set (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Rocky Horror, Buffy or Poirot for preference), drinking fizzy wine and eating chocolate. You might prefer a cup of tea and a black and white film, or a beer and an action movie. Have a bath, put on your favourite pyjamas, paint your nails and do as little as possible.
Steering clear of all phones, lap tops and even TVs for a whole day is a dream for most of us, but even an evening can be super refreshing.
Don’t worry, The Apprentice will still be there tomorrow, and if you’re not on Facebook no one will ruin it for you. Go for a walk, play board games, get one of those grown up colouring books and spend some time being artistic, or just sit and read a book. Remember when you were a kid and there were power cuts? What did you do then (apart from eat cold beans).
If you only have an hour it’s amazing how refreshing it can be to just sit and watch the world go by. Sit on a park bench, by the window in a café, or even in your own garden. Leave your phone, book and newspaper behind and just watch the world go by. There don’t even have to be people, watching the cats eyeing each other up in my street can be strangely calming.
I am perpetually amazed that this hippy dippy nonsense actually works, but sometimes 10 minutes of meditation can make me feel more refreshed than a whole day off (especially if I over did it on the fizzy wine on the day off). I saw a great video on mediation with a Buddhist monk once (that I now cannot find) explaining how many people struggled with it as they thought they needed to somehow “empty their minds”. In reality meditation is about focusing on breathing and merely letting thoughts come and go.You don’t even need to close your eyes if you don’t want to.
The Headspace app is an excellent place to start if you’ve never tried mediation before. I highly recommend it and the basic version is free.