Lessons in Taking Time Off | Jo Linsdell

Lessons in Taking Time Off

"Sometimes it's okay if the only thing you did today was breathe." -Unknown

I've not been well. To be complete honest with you, I'm still not 100%. My immune system doesn't work very well, and with two young children, this time of year is always a struggle. I'm the sort of person that needs to go into hibernation for the winter months ;) 

Well, I was ill over Christmas, ill again over New Years and, yep you guessed it, ill again. This time I got two infections; one in my mouth that caused multiple mouth ulcers (very not fun), and another in my throat caused by the one in my mouth. Needless to say, I've been feeling a bit fed up lately.

I went to the Doctors and got given various medicines to sort things out and get rid of the infections (which are working great but give me brain fog and headaches), and got ordered to rest. I always find myself laughing when the Doctor tells me I need to rest, because I'm really not good at it. It seems like a joke. I have two young children, work, meetings, and well all the chores that come with every day life... rest is one of those things I like the sound of but know I won't get much of even if I try my best. The side effects of the meds have helped make sure I am resting though.

I am trying my best. I cut back on everything. Seriously I've done very little for the past week now. The workaholic in me is in major crisis, but there is a little part of me that has enjoyed taking the time to just lay around and watch a film or read. It's been nice to finally have some free time and not have to think about times and schedules for a change. As the quote above states "Sometimes it's OK if the only thing you did today was breathe". This is something I've always had trouble accepting as I'm normally multitasking all day long. This past week I've learnt to accept that it's OK to take time off, that it's important to make my health a priority, and that I'm actually OK with doing it. Trust me this is a big step for me.

Anyway, all this has made me do some thinking. Can't switch my brain off completely ;) 

I went back to look at my goals for 2016 and my notes about what I learnt last year

Here's what stood out:

My number one goal was to be healthier. I can't just "try to be healthier". I need to make it my number one priority. I doubt I'll ever have a strong immune system (I just wasn't built that way) but I can do things to help stop it from dropping. From now on I'll be giving myself weekends off. Yep two whole days away from my computer to just chill and enjoy family life. To some this might seem strange, but when you work for yourself, from home, and love what you do, it's not easy to switch off. 

I also want to try and set more structured work hours for during the week too. If I went out to work I'd do 9-5, and have a lunch break, maybe a coffee break... well I need to schedule in my work the same way. No more super long work days. No more working through lunch. I need to learn to take time off. Not just from a health point of view either. Stepping away also helps give better focus when you come back.

I still have loads of projects I want to do, and big plans for what I want to accomplish this year. I'm just adapting to a new way of doing them. 2016 is going to be the year of working smarter, not harder. 

How do you make sure you take enough time off from work? Got some good health tips for people like me who work from home? Share in the comments below.