Over the last month and a bit, I've found that I've been working like an industrious little bee. A lot of it has been behind the scenes stuff like editing video content, researching, organising and holding interviews, or learning new skills to put into practice during coaching sessions. Some of it has been catching up with other awesome business women from around the country, with the rest of my time and energy being poured into my coaching sessions. I've been loving every part of doing the work. So much so that I'd been working into the night and scheduling around what had recently been quite a full diary of events.
It was starting to become clear that both my boyfriend and I were long overdue for some time out of the house and away from our desk - with a few little technical glitches popping up and testing my patience to prove it.
Taking an extended break isn't a priority for us right now, but we weren't about to let that stand between us and a relaxed few days together.
With the arrival of Autumn, I've been itching to get out and about into the outdoors before Winter sweeps in. I'm not going to lie, I love elements of all of the seasons, (which is a good thing considering that we live in Melbourne, where we often see all four of them in the span of any given day - that stereotype, and my love of dressing in layers exist for very valid reasons) but I'm particularly fond of Autumn and Spring when things are at their most balanced. Just like a punk rock Goldilocks, I like my outdoorsy weather "Not too hot, not too cold, but just right!"
Jordan had the three days in the lead up to Easter off work, so I figured what better time for a mid-week day trip out of the city! Although he was sceptical about how much fun our "Adventure" would be, we put on our walking shoes, downloaded podcasts, and loaded ourselves into the MINI.
The weather was perfect as the freeway gave way to the highway, which in turn gave way to winding roads leading us up through the villages and mountains I played in as a kid. We walked out into a rocky stream, found a waterfall, spotted lyre birds in the wild, drove beneath towering temperate rainforest trees, and ended up in a contemporary art gallery checking out paintings by some of our favourite Australian painters.
By the time we made it home that evening we were both pooped, but happy settling in with burgers for dinner. The day away from my desk got me thinking about just how important it is to take time out from our work - as well as how grateful I am for the fact that I can take time out around Jordan's schedule which meant that we got the rainforests and the roads all to ourselves.
So with it being Easter, and Self Care Sunday, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about Taking Time Out and why it's so important.
First of all, taking time out doesn't HAVE to look like a day in the bush, or relaxing on golden sands by crystal blue pools, or exploring the colourful laneways of the city - but if that's what feels good for you, then it totally CAN.
Secondly, time out doesn't have to be expensive. For the last few days, I've been snuggled up in my favourite armchair reading, heading out for coffee, or marathoning Buffy (for the first time ever - I KNOW. Buffy is awesome and how have I never seen it before?!?!?!) and cooking dinner at home with friends.
And thirdly, time out doesn't even have to mean GOING ANYWHERE! Really, all that matters is a break from your regular routine and snapping out of just doing the same old thing. Sometimes there's nothing better than a good old Staycation - whether you're single, in a relationship. responsible for a group of tiny humans - or in my case, three particularly pathetic cats.
So why is it important to take time out?
Connecting with Friends, Family and Loved Ones.
Time together in the car, visiting places that still feel like home to me, listening to podcasts we both enjoy and listening to music we wouldn't normally have chosen (Jordan insisted on a random disco playlist on the way home) gave us heaps to talk about and new things to learn and understand about one another. Even on the days we spent at home together, we read articles to one another, laughed at cat videos on the internet, and drank our morning coffee's in bed together.
Time and Mental Space for focusing on YOU.
Time out can be a really great opportunity to reflect, journal and set new goals. It's also an awesome opportunity to dedicate some serious thought to Real Self Care (as well as you know, actually DOING Self Care). Is the path you're on right now working out for you? What would you like to be doing a little differently? How can you start making the things you want to see happen, come to life?
Relieving Stress and Calming the Fuck Down.
Stepping away from your work helps put whatever you've been working on into perspective. The world is honestly not going to end if a work deadline isn't met, or there are a few typos in your newsletter, or as was my case recently, my video editing wasn't as schmick as I'd like it to be. So long as we've got our health, a roof over our heads, enough food to eat and people who love us, then at the end of the day, life is pretty damn good. We're best off actually appreciating those good things we're fortunate enough to experience, rather than directing our frustrations towards them.
Boosting your Creativity.
Not only does distance help the heart grow fonder in relationships, in work situations distance makes the vision grow clearer. I often find that I have some of my most creative ideas when I'm doing something completely unrelated to work, I've thought up entire program and event ideas while drying my hair, and composed pages of copy while in the shower.
Dedicate Time to Your Hobbies and Passions.
Both Jordan and I LOVE art, so spending time wandering through galleries and looking at paintings by people like Fred Williams, Imants Tillers and Ben Quilty "in the flesh" is something we really special for us. Having a few days off has also given me time to settle in and really get stuck into Tara Moss's memoir 'The Fictional Woman', which I'm reading for Hot Mess Book Club. It's also given me time to catch up and chat with friends
How to make time for Time Out
This is where identifying boundaries and setting priorities comes in. Like I've said throughout this piece, Jordan and I literally took one day for our Road Trip Adventure, but we had to make an active decision to actually see it through - and really that's all it comes down to, with anything.
Maybe you've got your heart set on spending a month somewhere, and obviously that's going to take some more planning and research than a one day road trip, but there's nor reason you can't enjoy little breaks from working in the meantime.
And you know what, there are a million and one things I could have found that "needed to be done" at home had we not gone out, but for those hours out of the house on that one day, the chores could wait.
I hope that you've been having a wonderful weekend, whatever you've been up to, let me know in the comments below.
If you're looking for a fun way to get down and dirty with some colour pens, learn how to create self care practices that fit you as well as your favourite leather jacket, then the Real Self Care Workbook is a great place to start!