Our weekly Team NLP blog where you’ll find inspiration and actionable advice on how to build healthy habits, resilience and connections in our unprecedented times.
What downtime have you taken for yourself recently? I have just come back from a break in Scotland, hence the photo this week of my favourite Shetland cows! We had a wonderful and magical time. However, the reason for mentioning this is that it wasn’t until I arrived in Scotland that I realised how tired and fatigued I actually was. Nearly five months of working long hours to recreate both my businesses and myself had really taken its toll. I looked back on some of the tell-tale signs for me of feeling overwhelmed, lack of concentration and motivation, feeling more out of control than usual, waking up tired, not really enjoying life as much as usual and so on…..usually I am pretty good at recognising these but not so much this time. So, what is different and what can you do about it?
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the covid ‘fuzzy brain’ which is a real phenomenon. This is what INSEAD neuroscientist Hilke Plassmann has to say about it:
’In times like these, our brains tend to work differently…the brain scours its long-term memory systems for comparable experiences. Finding few precedents for this pandemic, it looks intently outward for guidance on what to do next. The combination of impaired analytical thinking and heightened external sensitivity creates what can be called ‘Covid-19 brain’ – a fragile, frazzled state that keeps our thoughts simultaneously on edge and unfocused.
So be nice to yourself. It’s important to take a time out and time off this summer, even if you cannot travel to get yourself energised, engaged and filled up. So that you are ready to solve all challenges our new normal will throw at us.
Taking time off is one way — but an important way — to recharge, especially during challenging times. It’s a pathway to feeling more refreshed, rested, and even hopeful. Right now, I’m hearing from a lot of people that the idea of taking any time for themselves — whether it’s a day or a week — just feels weird.
However, maybe it’s time to reset our expectations around what taking time off really means, and what purpose it serves. Yes, most of us are feeling tired and experiencing emotional ups and downs. A lot of things are not in our control. But that only makes it more important to take time off — from our jobs as well as from our daily routines — to just allow ourselves to be. And to breathe. And perhaps even to process everything that’s going on in our lives right now.
Below are a few dilemmas I’ve heard recently, related to taking time off. Maybe some of these circumstances will resonate with you, or maybe you have different reasons for being reluctant to take time for yourself. Either way, try one or two of the strategies I mention, and see how you feel.
- Because of COVID concerns, I’m reluctant to go anywhere. What should I do? This year, let yourself off the hook from the idea of a big travel moment, because the kind of “getaway” you can take — without actually going anywhere — might be even more restorative. Yes, we’ve been stuck in our homes for a long period of time, and it’s completely natural to want a change of scenery. But if you can’t go somewhere else, reframe your perspective on where you are. Remind yourself that you don’t necessarily have to go somewhere else to unwind. If you can’t wrap your head around taking a week off at once, opt for an extended weekend. Or even take a day or two off in the middle of the week. Think of it as an investment in self-care, minus the packing!
- My finances are tight. How can I make the most use of my vacation time to recharge my batteries here at home? Plan your ultimate staycation — make time for the things you love and rarely get to do. I have made a commitment to myself to read more and I am going to enjoy the Susan Hill, Simon Serailler detective books on my kindle. Giving myself time will sustain the benefits of my week away in Scotland. That’s the plan anyway!
- My children have been home schooled for months now. How can I make time to replenish myself? With a busy schedule and lots of people to take care of, finding time for yourself comes down to being intentional about even the smallest chunk of time. What can you arrange for yourself? And, then take that time for yourself without feeling guilty about it.
- I’m self-employed, so there is no “time off” for me as I’m worried where my next client is coming from. How can I “get away”? In this case, scheduling self-care like it’s your job is a great way to ensure it happens. Then, in those moments when you’ve planned to unplug, try to physically separate from your work to get the most out of your downtime. If you work out of a home office, for instance, shut the door and go to another room, or take a walk if that’s a possibility. One of my students has a great strategy…actually cover up the PC with a blanket, close the door (if you can) and walk away.
To your success…
Lindsey and Team NLP
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