Hey guys! Thanks for coming back to read one of my #selfloveclub posts. So, as you are all welllll aware, I’m a pretty open book when it comes to talking about my life, my experiences and learnings (I sometimes wonder if that is a good or bad trait, but have chosen to embrace it none the less).
As well as being honest about my dating life and my move to the city, I’m a huge fan of being open around my previous struggles with anxiety and just generally finding my grounding and sense of self over the years.
As I have personally experienced anxiety, I struggle with the concept that even in our day and age, there is still such a stigma and lack of understanding around mental health and a lack of openness when it comes to people talking about finding their grounding in themselves or their lives.
A few years back when I was probably at my worst with anxiety, I would worry relentlessly about anything and everything; my family, my job, my future, my health- basically anything that my super brain could find to worry about – it would. Even if my life felt harmonious in every aspect, brain would still be there like …
“I got something else for you”
Anywhooo, as time has passed and I’ve learned to understand me and accept who I am, managing my anxiety and just general self value has increased massively and there has been no looking back.
Over the last few years, One of the main things I have learned about myself and wanted to write about is THE IMPORTANCE OF TAKING A BREAK. When I suffered with anxiety my crutch was to busy myself so much that my brain would stop thinking (logic much), I would work, I would train, I would write, I would run and I would party without coming up for air.
Eventually and always I would hit a major wall.
And trust me, it was never pretty.
As such, I learned and continue to learn when to stop, unwind and take time out for me, in a real way. While I appreciate for me, I struggle to know when to stop, I know many anxiety sufferers struggle to start (don’t worry, we’ve all had those horrible mornings) and so, I wanted to write a post and share my experiences around how to give yourself a break, no matter how you struggle and hopefully my tips can help you, like they helped me. Plus, it would be rude to not talk about a break while I’m out here in LA, hey?
Getting your life in order.
Now I don’t know about you, but there is no way I can truly relax knowing I have things left to do before a break…
Whether that’s a work email, laundry, bills to pay – if I don’t do it, my brain will only remind me about it while I’m trying to relax. My advice: get your general life admin done before taking time out to relax. Prepping yourself to chill seems a little backwards, but in reality, it isn’t. You wouldn’t work out without warming up the muscles first right?
On the flip side, if you struggle to get through your life admin, I would suggest writing a to do list and break it down to maybe two key tasks a day. Makes it seem a little less scary!
Environment Change is Key.
I hear a lot of people make excuses around changing up their environment; it’s too expensive, travelling aggravates my anxiety further, it doesn’t make any difference to how I feel etc. and truth is – I hear ya! There are millions of reasons that we could stay in a familiar environment to try and relax but in reality the only way you will truly be able to disconnect and relax is to be out of your usual environment. Trust me, new places are good for you and exciting…
Of course, if you can afford quick beach break away – get on that plane, yesterday. If not, there are so many great cheap breaks away in the UK and if you really can’t afford it – visit a friend or family for a couple of days. Trust me, seeing a different environment is key when you need to truly unwind.
I know horrifying.
Erm… so this is definitely an ongoing working progress for me and not something I can really preach on (but I am trying!) but getting away from you phone, social media and emails is so key to switching off. It’s no real secret I’m a social media fan but when I truly need to take a break, I do (try) and put my phone away. If I’m honest, after about an hour…
But I’m not dramatic, promise.
If you are like me and struggle to disconnect from the world of social media and work emails. Try baby steps, I have minimum 1 hour a morning and 1 hour an evening where I don’t touch my phone and I’m aiming towards a no screen Sunday (I would rather run a marathon) but you’ve got to challenge yourself right? I will be writing a post on my experience of digital detox soon – look out for it! (If you would like to laugh) and try it yourself!
Get back in touch with what matters
Now, I’m not going to go all hippy on you guys here (with my commitment to my local beauty salon it would be smidgen hypocritical of me) but I can’t stress how much getting back in touch with nature helps relax the mind (well for me personally).
Whenever I am away (or at home), I get outdoors. So whether that is running in the park, surfing in the sea, outdoor yoga, skiing in the slopes – getting back in touch with mother nature is always strangely calming and sometimes I don’t even realise how relaxed it actually makes me until afterwards. Couple being outdoors with some exercise, you’re onto an endorphin high – go nuts on it.
Give you brain a break!
So, following your “to do” list being ticked off, getting on the beach and giving yourself an endorphin overload; your brain will likely be buzzing around and if you are anything like me, I struggle to switch it off.
Something that has helped me incredibly is meditating (jeez, I can’t kick that hippy out of me). For anyone that hasn’t tried meditation (or is a little skeptical), I can’t recommend it highly enough. I have been meditating for a year now (on and off) and have found it calms my thoughts so much.
I know what you’re thinking right? Meditating, that must be the key, it’s here to save us! (and it kind of is to some extent) however achieving inner calm (even for a minute) is pretty damn tough. To switch off our brains completely and get in touch with our breathing isn’t something that comes naturally, especially when your brain looks like this;
My advice, try Head Space. This app is baby steps to achieving a meditative state and introduces you to developing this skill in small daily doses. It has really helped me and now I can actually attend a 30 minute meditation class without a struggle. Trust me, try it if nothing else from this post.
Give your body a break!
This piece of advice is pretty broad as each individual and how you fuel and keep your body fit varies. But by a general rule of thumb, my advice, when taking a break – do the opposite of what you usually do. Of course, this is to a lesser extent and by no means to be taken too literally, trust me, if all you do is train and eat avocados switching up and lying on a beach for a week and eating nothing but cake, ain’t gonna make ya feel great.
What I mean by opposite, are things like; if you are a hardcore gym goer, maybe try a day where you don’t go as hard and treat yourself to that slice of (not whole) cake. On the flip side, if you are someone that struggles to exercise or maybe you just love a glass of wine, why not try a run down the beach or try a night on the orange juice (as boring as that may sound).
As I said, this is a pretty broad subject and can be so different for each individual that it is tough. Understanding your body and how to better your well being is also an on-going journey and one I’ll be sharing (keep an eye out for an upcoming post on my Vegan experience) and remember, giving your body a break doesn’t nesaccarly mean being super healthy and fit, sometimes it can be the complete opposite and actually toning it down a little.
Anyway’s guys, I hope the above tips help when taking a break and what has helped me switch off, helps you to too. It took a while for me to learn how to totally relax, so even if you do still struggle to switch off initially or stress when you take a break, don’t worry – even if you worry for a minute or an hour less than you would have originally – it’s progress – keep going!
Thanks for reading and remember – relax!