Last week I went on a ‘sibling’ holiday which meant that my sisters, brother in law and all our partners went away together. We rented a cabin in Scotland and it was seriously the most beautiful, picturesque place – right on a loch, surrounded by sheep, horses, highland cows and snow covered mountains.
Leading up to that holiday away I was working pretty much ALL day EVERY day, rarely socialised with my friends, was on constant high alert, didn’t get much sleep and all the while wondered why on earth my body wasn’t functioning as well as it should have been! Well, it’s no wonder really. This pattern of working vs living isn’t really new and sharing this with you is me being as raw as I possibly can with you – after all, I should have mastered the art of balance by now.
The truth is, I find it really hard to relax, to take time away and to ‘switch off’. Running my own business might have something to do with it but it definitely isn’t the only reason. I find it hard to let go of the house cleaning, the cooking, the food shop – you name it, if it’s part of modern day life and 'adulting' it becomes a task that needs to be done with a ‘right here, right now’ attitude. When I go into ‘WORK’ mode (and by work mode I mean ‘go go go’) everything in my life seems to become a source of mild stress. Forget mindfulness and meditation, if something needs to be done then I’m going to get it done at superwoman speed so I can run onto the next task at hand. Let me tell you, it’s exhausting.
It’s something that I’ve been working on for years – to find balance and feel more at ease as I go through life – but every now and again that drive gets the better of me and I cave into that ‘go go go’ attitude, mostly because I feel SO guilty if I’m not always doing SOMETHING on my to do list. In the last few months, it’s become more of a priority. Even health coaches have to continuously work on their own health journey and so finding balance is more of a priority than ever so that I can show up for you in the best way possible. Plus, it’s important to me to live life optimally and be the best version of myself possible.
When it comes to living on the go continuously, I know I’m not the only one. In fact, so many women who I have the pleasure of coaching, struggle with finding balance in their lives. Taking time out seems to be the most guilt inducing activity when it’s actually meant to rejuvenate us and make us feel more alive. In our modern world it seems like there’s a million and one things that always need to be done and our to-do lists (as awesome as they may be) are forever growing. Gone are the days where there were the masculine roles and the feminine roles – now we all can embrace both the masculine and feminine energies inside of us and work with them throughout our days. As amazing as that is, it does create more work for us because we have to fit in so much more throughout our days, wear a variety of hats and adapt to multiple roles constantly.
The list is endless.
But, it’s also exhausting. Having to constantly change from masculine to feminine and feminine to masculine just to accommodate for the role you need to play at that particular moment in time. That’s why burn out is more common now than it ever has been and why so many of us struggle finding that balance between our energies and how we live our lives.
Being constantly connected to technology doesn’t help either – the fact that we’re all so closely connected to our phones impacts on our own vibration levels and that time we might have spent listening to the birds singing in the park is actually spent scrolling through social media or replying to emails. There never seems to be time to ‘stop and smell the roses’. Seeing our friends used to be a form of escapism – it would be a planned date and time when we would be allowed to escape from the world and enjoy being present in our friend’s/lover’s company. Now, its constant. We’re always so connected to each other (which is AMAZING in its own way) that there’s never a switch off point and it’s harder than ever to forget about everything and be completely present in the company of our loved ones.
There are so many reasons why living in the modern world makes it harder to relax but there are also so many reasons why it’s important to do so. I know that I really needed that little break away last week and feel so much better for it. So, I wanted to share my go to techniques and tips for relaxing and taking a break in the modern world. These are ways that help me to switch off and reconnect with myself and my loved ones and I hope you find some tips that resonate with you and that you can start practicing.
This is so important to me – spending time with those I love most. It’s probably one of the things I cherish most in this world, being able to spend quality time with my family and friends. Spending the last week with my sisters (2 of the people who know me best) really allowed me to tap into my inner child and just laugh!
Being present with loved ones is so important for boosting your relationships and nurturing them as well as creating memories you can hold dear to your heart forever.
This is one of my favourite things to do to distract my mind and relieve any tension I might be feeling. Growing up in a hot country meant that the majority of my life was spent outdoors, it’s where I feel most at home – listening to the birds, enjoying the sound of the wind and feeling the sun against my skin. I live in the UK now, in a little village on top of a hill. We moved here back in October and it’s been freezing so far, so summoning up the motivation to get outside has not gone to plan! Having said that – walking in the hills in Scotland was exactly what my body needed to unwind.
Get out of the room you’re confined in and get exploring. Pull yourself away from technology and allow yourself to get lost in nature and see what it has to offer you.
This is therapy. I’ve kept a diary since I was 17 and have filled in a page a day ever since. This is my time to write my thoughts down and relay what has happened throughout the day. It’s my way of getting all that extra junk out of my mind and onto paper (plus I love keeping all those memories!).
Journaling doesn’t have to be so regimented and you can journal every now and again, write a gratitude list or even just a few words that you’re feeling at that moment in time. It’s just a great way to unwind and look how far you come.
Reading is one of my favourite forms of escapism. I read a variety of non-fiction and fiction depending on my mood and what’s happening in my life at the time. This is one of my go-to ways to unwind. I love getting lost in the characters in a story and I love educating myself by reading all my non-fiction books.
There’s just so much to share in this world and what better way to learn what others have to say than to sink your teeth into their words.
Cooking for my family and friends is like heaven for me. In fact, my favourite way to cook is when we’re all cooking together, having a laugh and sharing the love. Sharing cooking, good food and laughs with those I love fills me with more gratitude and joy than I could ever dream of. It also links back to number 1 on this list.
When you’re so busy throughout your day it’s easy to take the small things for granted (like cooking a delicious meal) so I actively make room in my day so that I can spend time in the kitchen, being present with what I’m doing.
This is all about being in the moment and being present. Thinking about what you’re doing in that moment takes away all other stresses about what you need to be doing later or what is still on your to-do list.
Allow yourself to switch your mind off and enjoy being in the moment whether it’s walking the dog, washing the dishes or tucking your children in at night.
Just have fun! I love playing board games – it unleashes the child in me. I laugh so much when I play board games with my friends and family (again see number 1 on this list).
It’s a timeless activity that never gets old and it’s a much better way to spend time with your loved ones than sitting in front of the TV.
Another form of escapism I LOVE is getting creative. That can be in any form from making a friendship bracelet with my sisters to playing the piano or flute to knitting. I love it all.
It’s a great way to unwind and it opens up new pathways in the brain to allow for even more productivity.
I have a weekly checklist to make sure I get all my work done that I need to and on that check list I have 3 boxes for creativity.
This is where the geek in me comes out. I love having to use my brain to problem solve and am a massive fan of crosswords, sudukos and pretty much every form of number and/or word puzzle out there. While we were away I smashed my way through a puzzle book and it’s on my shopping list to buy another one right away!
When my brain is busy working on a puzzle, I can’t think of anything else – so it’s mindfulness, creativity and playing games combined! Plus, there’s always something new to learn.
Intimacy with your partner should be a priority just like brushing your teeth and sleeping. It’s the only thing that separates your partner from every other relationship in your life and is something special for the both of you to share. When we get caught up in everyday tasks though, it’s hard to switch off and actually BE intimate – sometimes it’s the last thing you want to do.
It is so important though! It’s not only important for your relationship between you and your lover but also for allowing yourself that time to switch back into your feminine state and embrace that feminine energy.