How to switch off this weekend
Is it just me, or do you find it hard to switch off, even at the weekend? Though it’s fun and exciting when life is go-go-go, sometimes we need to stop. When I first started blogging, I felt I had to keep working endlessly and my head was spinning non-stop.
I realise now that switching off isn’t just a nice idea, it’s necessary. Closing down my laptop for a few days gives me the most amazing mental refresh – when I come back to work I’m more creative, I can clearly see what I need to do, and I’ve got the energy to do it.
This weekend I’m heading to the Isle of Wight with Shay, Kieran and my mum for a long weekend, and my laptop will be staying at home. This is my chance to recharge – and yours, too!
Here are my 6 steps to switching off…
1. DIVE INTO NATURE
Being surrounded by trees is really calming. Did you know the Japanese have a special name for the peaceful feeling of walking in the woods – “forest bathing”? How cool is that? I feel calm when I’ve got nature on all sides. This weekend I’ll also be taking long walks by the beach – I love the Isle of Wight! Even just thinking about the sound of the waves and the wide open expanse of blue as I stare out to sea makes me breathe deeper.
2. GIVE YOUR LOVED ONES YOUR FULL ATTENTION
When Kieran, Shay and I have the chance be together for an extended period of time, I don’t want to have my head stuck in work. So when my mind wanders I bring myself back to the two people I love most in the world by focusing on the senses in the present: maybe the the sensation of their hands in mine, or the scent of their hair. That, to me, feels like pure happiness.
3. LIMIT YOUR PHONE TIME
OK, so my laptop will be powered down, but my phone is coming away with me this weekend. I love taking pictures and I find social media a really positive place. That’s where I met you, after all! But this weekend I’m going to limit my phone time – half an hour peacefully scrolling through Instagram feels like a real treat when I’m not gripping my phone in my hand all day long.
4. BREAK YOUR INBOX REFLEX
Checking my inbox is a reflex. I do it as automatically as breathing – in fact I forget to breathe deeply when I’m reading emails! Sometimes, I feel my jaw clench up when I peek at my inbox and I feel the tension in my tummy too. So to break the automatic reflex I’m deleting the email app off my phone for the weekend. And every time I pick my phone up, I’ll remember to take a breath instead.
5. TREAT YOUR BODY
I like the idea of doing yoga every day because it clears my head and stretches me out, but realistically that yoga session doesn’t always happen! So to help me switch off at the weekend I try to practice for an hour a day. If an hour sounds like too much for you, start with my 10-minute Yoga For Strength and Energy. This routine is an old favourite of mine and I have a feeling you’ll want to check out the rest of my YouTube yoga playlist afterwards.
6. IF YOUR HEAD’S STILL FULL OF WORK…
… just do it. I know that sounds contradictory when I’m talking about switching off, but sometimes sitting down for an hour to complete the task that’s been playing on my mind is unexpectedly calming. Once I’ve bashed it out, I don’t have to worry about work any more – it’s out of my head. And the beauty of a long weekend is that we can choose to do whatever we like with it!
Love, Madeleine xx