Christmas is a wonderful ‘pause’ in my life. It’s a few days or weeks with less e-mails, less things that I think I ‘have to do’ and more time with family and friends. It’s a wonderful time because there is time with no plans! Having time like that has been one of my keys to having less bad stress in life.
I worked a lot this last year. I love all my 7 jobs as a business owner, but there was a time where I worked WAY TOO MUCH. Working a lot has the same affect on the body and ming as hard training. They both break down. Without proper recovery you will not get any better at anything. Warning-bells started ringing, and I listened. I started to feel tiredness (which was a totally new feeling! When someone asked how I was and I said ‘tired’, it sounded strange), I had bad sleep and was forgetting things. From that on I said ‘no’ to all new work requests, even though part of me loved the challenge of squeezing another assignment in.
I found the best recovery in a few steps:
Back to basics. It’s easy really, but equally easy to ‘forget’. Make sure you eat well, do your exercise and sleep as much as you need. When you feed the body and mind all of the above you’ll get back to a basic level of wellbeing.
Resting the mind. The mind can easily get into the habit of planning. It then forgets to be present. Thinking of planning and all that needs to be done, and all that extra that could also be done with some more thinking is stressful. To allow the mind to rest I had days with no-plans-at-all. They always end up in the outdoors. I went for long walks with the dog, took photos, and explored new places on the islands. When the weather was boring I spent time in my house boat reading books or fixing stuff which always makes me calm.
Plan the future better. From then on I decided to have a minimun of two completely free days every week during my busy work-months. Knowing that there is space for recovery and freedom I can work hard in periods.