I’ve written previously about my battle against the part of my brain that strives to always be ‘productive’ – to always be moving, to be achieving, to be constantly on the go. In the last couple of months, between starting to work for myself from home and limiting social contact, I’ve been thrown into the deep end, trying to find peace and time off – alone. My first question was simply what to do on a day off.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” John Hughes
Discover how you recharge
It’s always struck me as so interesting how our desire to relax shifts. Some days I’d love nothing better than to curl up with a big cup of coffee and read the day away, others I feel an explosive, childish excitement to get out and get dancing.
I like to picture that we’re all full of different types of emotionally-charged energy. Checking in with the types of energy I feel I’m spending, helps me categorise the way I’m feeling and get a feel for how I’d best recharge that reserve. And if you want to get real weird and deep here, I like to picture that energy in different colours, because it helps me distinguish better than if I tried to use words. “Man, I’m really lacking in purple energy today” – usually means I’m tired, I need good food, something comforting to do and an early night.
That might all sound a bit out there, but I’m essentially saying to evaluate how you feel and what would make you feel most refreshed. It won’t be the same thing every time – your usual relaxing Sunday routine might not work every week, so keep this in mind and adapt.
Unplug – completely
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that social media is bad or criticise you for working on your days off – sometimes it’s necessary and sometimes it’s just enjoyable. But as I’ve committed to blocking out time away from work, I’ve found that even that isn’t always enough.
When we really need to recharge, we need to step back from all of our daily responsibilities, as well as just our work lives. Errands and chores will always filter over into days off and that’s fine. But every so often, completely clearing your plate is refreshing (and necessary!).
Whether it’s FOMO or just a habit of checking your email or scrolling through Instagram, removing the distraction for just a day can help leave you refreshed and provide insight into how you use them everyday.
Wake up naturally
I try to avoid setting alarms on the weekends. Even if I do end up working on those days, I find myself so much more peaceful and content to sit down if I’ve had my eight hours. When we wake up to an alarm, we limit our body from getting all of the rest it needs. Having a morning free from time restrictions will help you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
Explore your wants
Similarly, experiment with feeling your way through the day. What do you feel like doing? What do you feel like eating? As I said earlier, communicating with how you feel and directing your actions to heal/boost that energy will help you feel more aligned and more relaxed.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in routines and thoughts, ‘shoulds’, and ‘have tos’ that we forget our body is trying to tell us what we need in real-time. Training yourself to hear that voice will benefit you in every area of your life.
Do the things you normally don’t have time for
That’s the real beauty of days like these. You have free time. So fill it with the things you usually don’t have time for. From small things like elaborate cooked breakfasts to hobbies and activities that get pushed to the side. Only you can decide what this is, but here’s some ideas.
What to do on a day off:
- Finish/start a new project
- Dedicate time to your hobbies
- Cook yourself a great meal
- Catch up with friends or family
- Research/plan your future
- Take time to relax
This is similar to exploring your wants, but more focused on your mind. Maybe you’d like to start a new hobby or research something you’ve always been interested in. Ask your body what it needs, but also ask your mind.
Alternatively, if your mind replies with “I just need a break” – give it that break! That’s just as valid. Find ways to relax, take a day away from your responsibilities and stresses. Maybe drive somewhere new and discover a new restaurant or binge that TV show you’ve always told yourself you’d sit down and watch.
If I had to round this blog up in a sentence, I’d say to simply let yourself be and listen to what you really need. Sometimes we get so caught up in the idea of ‘productivity’ and doing things for the benefit of the outcome that we forget to just experience a day and to give our mind and body what it needs.
Here’s to hoping you find a peaceful pocket in your life. Love, Ella-Rose x