What I Learnt From Logging Off For A Week
If you read this post, you'll know that a couple of weeks ago I made the decision to log off and fully enjoy our holiday. There were a couple of Instagram snaps here and there, but there was no new blog content, no scheduled tweets, no replying to emails. I put my out of office on for the first time in forever, I left my laptop at home and I switched my work phone off. The reason I did this was because I was feeling tired. So, so tired. I realised it had been a really long time since I'd taken a proper break - I'd had time off work, yes, but it had been over a year since I'd taken any time off blogging. I was nervous beforehand - I work hard on this little space, and I worried that by not posting for a while you'd all forget about me and my traffic would grind to a halt. But deep down I knew that spending some time away from Wordpress would give me the headspace I needed to come back re-energised and raring to go.
So what did I learn from logging off for a week? A lot. But the biggest thing I learnt is that I don't have a lot of boundaries in my life. I am always, always, always on the go. I wake up at 6am every day and work on my blog for an hour or two before getting ready for work. I spend my days rushing from meeting to meeting or preparing reports or taking part in conference calls. I try and go to the gym on the way home, before making dinner and tidying up and doing more blog work before bed. Weekends are spent seeing family and friends and running errands and blogging some more. And that's all fine. I love my job. I love this blog. I love our busy weekends. But it doesn't leave a lot of time for me. Work - whether it be my day job or this blog - manages to seep into almost every moment of everyday.
Taking a break showed me how that's not a healthy way to live. Within a couple of days of logging off I felt myself start to relax properly. I stopped waking up in the night remembering something I needed to do and I stopped furiously tapping ideas into the notes app on my iPhone for fear that I might forget them. I stopped incessantly refreshing Twitter and Instagram and Google Analytics every two minutes. I stopped worrying quite so much.
Instead I read. I sunbathed. I swapped funny anecdotes with my friends. I fully committed to the games we were playing (perhaps a little too competitively...). I wore the clothes I really wanted to wear, rather than the ones that would look best in an #OOTD shot. I got lost in not one new city, but two. I talked to Sam about all of our hopes and dreams and future plans. I slept, soundly and properly, for the first time in months. And it was bliss.
The very fact that I didn't realise I had a problem with balance and boundaries until I went completely cold turkey says a lot I think. I love blogging and working hard and channeling those girl boss vibes so much that it never even crossed my mind that it might not be good for me to be so on it all the time. But my little break has shown me that to be truly happy and productive and creative, my brain needs a little rest every now and then.
So I'm setting myself a new resolution. From now on, I'm committing to at least one day per week where I don't work. One day a week where I don't reply to emails or brainstorm content or send pitches. One day a week where instead, I read books and go for walks and watch TV and cook and take a long bath and chat. One day a week where I allow myself to just live, without thinking about content or worrying about targets.
To some of you this might not sound like a lot, but for a workaholic like me, I know it will be a challenge. But I know that it's necessary too. For my mental health and for my relationships and for my own happiness.