Another new week already? This week I want to share Three Things I Do To Relax. As a small business owner life can be pretty stressful at times (many times in fact). I have spent a long time as a boss not being able to switch off without feeling guilty. In recent years however I have seen the impact it can have on both my productivity and happiness. Oh, and health. That old chestnut. Not wanting to work myself into another deep hole of despair, I've been practicing taking time off. This year I decided that I wanted to treat myself the same as full-time employed people get treated. I wanted to make sure I had 28 days of holiday. I have a page in my planner with 28 boxes and I've been filling them in when I take holidays. What about outside of holidays? What about every day? I have a set of things I do to relax which is like pressing a reset button. I'm going to share three that I hope inspire you to take some time to relax.
- Journalling. This might sound like hard work. It doesn't have to be. When I get stressed out I find that thoughts fly around my head at a million miles an hour. I can't focus, I have a hard time making decisions, I struggle to get my mind straight. I spend tedious amounts of time trying to come up with solutions and I end up talking myself round in circles. When this happens I grab a notebook. I've got an A4 notebook that I find it perfect for this. I bought it just for this purpose. I sit down in a quiet space and I write. Somewhere I know I won't be interrupted. I write down whatever pops into my head for at least 3 pages. I write down everything that goes through my mind. I don't fuss about writing with perfect grammar or in a way that would make sense to anyone else because it isn't for anyone else. It is for me. I've solved a lot of problems for myself with this, and I've also picked out a lot of inspiration from this. It's simple. Just fill 3 pages of your notebook. Sometimes it helps just to get it out, and get it written down.
- Get outside. During busy periods in my business it's more important than ever for me to stick to my exercise routine. Whether that means getting outside for a walk along the seafront, going hiking, getting to the gym, going for a run or going for a bike ride. It doesn't have to be anything big. It can be a half hour walk. I breathe deep. I leave my phone at home. I get to grips with my thoughts. That bit of fresh air and change of scenery makes me feel a million times more calm when I get back to my desk. I remember when I started running I wondered how people enjoyed it. How they found it so relaxing. I also remember the first time I ran without noticing I was running. That was it. It was that perfect flow. That meditative thud of my feet on the pavement. The sound of my breath going in and out. The birds flying around me. I lost track of what I was doing and before I knew it had run my first 5k without stopping. I was congratulated with a beautiful sunrise at the finish. That was when I first realised how relaxing running can be. Just to be able to shut off and think of what your body is doing and not all the ten million other things that are going on. This is what I love about exercise.
- Reading. I love grabbing a good book and escaping. I realised this is a great way of getting out of my head and shutting off. If binge watching your favourite show works for you then make sure you give yourself time to do that. For some reason, when I try doing that I end up getting more stressed out and I make myself feel guilty. That doesn't happen for me with reading. I'll happily spend an entire day on the weekend getting stuck in to a really good book. Each turn of the page a little bit of the stress floats away.
There's definitely more to it than just those things. What do you do to relax? How do you shut off? How do you stop feeling guilty for taking time off?