by MindJournal – 5 min read
The ability to connect from anywhere in the world can mean that we’re always ‘on’. How many times have you found yourself working on a Sunday night because you’ve habitually checked your email? Indeed, ‘work’ these days exists outside the traditional four walls of office space, any time of day, any day of the week, and it’s all too easy to find yourself engaged with it.
Thing is, you know it’s important to take time out. And while it might not seem like much, replying to the odd message here and there when you’re out of office impacts the quality of your relaxation time by keeping you alert and actively processing. You need to rest - and that means turning off all your work notifications and dialling right out.
Rest is key to being our most productive selves at work, and in life generally. Nobody functions efficiently on an empty tank, and low batteries mean sluggish output. Time out, where you can get decent rest, truly relax, and feel refreshed should be a compulsory item on your self-care list.
Journaling is a great tool for making the most of time out, keeping your focus away from the screen and connected to the present. MindJournal is the perfect holiday companion for staying mindful while you relax, helping you make the most out of the moment. Make full use of the Happy Hour section to outline some leisure time and self-care; or try a few writing exercises like the ones below for a fresh way of structuring your journaling while you’re on holiday.
If you fall into the ‘always contactable’ category, and have holiday plans coming up, here are a few reminders about why you must switch off as soon as your OOO goes on.
Give your mind a break
Your brain uses a massive amount of energy concentrating, processing, problem solving and decision-making. Dial out a bit, and make things like meal planning the biggest decision you make each day. You’ll be amazed how alert and creative you’ll be after some rest.
MindJournal exercise: Meal planning. Use an entry to create a menu for your holiday. Include recipes you love making (if you cook), or new things you’re up for trying. Or, if the order of the day is eating out, make a list of restaurants you intend to visit while you take a break. Use the double ribbon placeholder in your MindJournal to mark the page to come back to each day.
Let your body relax
Unfurl yourself from the physical toll of your work life. Maybe you’ve got a physical job, or perhaps you’ve built tension in your body from mental stress or hunching over a desk? It’s vital for your overall health to give your body a chance to rest and restore.
MindJournal exercise: The body scan. Find a quiet spot, get comfortable, and tune into your body. Scan it: how is it feeling? Bring your attention to every inch, from your little toe to the top of your head. Jot down what you notice. If you feel any discomfort, what could help ease it?
Catch up on sleep
Turn your usual morning alarm off, and take guilt-free naps when you can. Sleep regulates our nervous system, allows our body the opportunity to repair itself, and is crucial for mental processing. Schedule in some minimal-commitment time out to allow yourself a lie in.
MindJournal exercise: The dream diary. Take inspiration from Carl Jung, and keep your MindJournal by your bed with a pen. On waking from a dream, write it down immediately. You might be surprised with what comes up!
Give stressors the space to process
We don’t mean immediate stuff like deadlines or unanswered emails: we’re talking next level pressures, like career progression, or gnarly stuff like work projects that aren’t going to plan - maybe even some difficult feedback. These kinds of stressors do well from getting parked temporarily: it takes the heat off the issue and allows the way forward to surface organically.MindJournal exercise:
The ‘I’ll get back to you’ list. At the start of your holiday, write down all the stuff that could dampen your spirits while you’re on time out. Don’t think about solving anything: you’ve written it down, so you don’t have to remember anything. If during your holiday you have a positive thought or a solution appears for you, make a note of it by your list -making sure you relegate it again until your holiday is over.
Get a chance to try new things
Whether it’s kitesurfing, rock climbing, or starting a novel, it’s important to carve out time in your schedule to do things a little out-of-the-ordinary. Self-care is about honouring yourself, so do whatever excites and inspires you. New experiences spark new ideas, inspire joy, create new relationships, and help us grow.
MindJournal exercise: The Ultimate List. Engage your adventurous side and make a list of everything you’d love to try. It can be as long as you like. How many things can you do in one holiday?
Sure, you should be true to yourself all the time. But our professional personas can take energy to sustain. The opportunity to unmask, relax and uncensor is important.
MindJournal exercise: The Alternative CV. Forget the traditional professional resume. This is a writing exercise that will actually take you quite deep. Go about this any way you wish (list, table, timeline), but remember, this is about your life highlights; not work highlights.
Reconnect with loved ones
We’re all so busy in our day to day that it’s easy to go months without seeing the folks that mean something to us. Phone calls are great, Zoom calls even better, but holiday time offers the perfect chance to get together and spend quality time with old friends or family. It’s vital for our wellbeing and sense of security to feel connected to others, especially the people we love most and enjoy spending time with.
MindJournal exercise: Self-addressed delivery. Use an entry to write a postcard to yourself.
Keep your routine fresh
A break helps with perspective. Too much of the same gets stale, so it’s important to change it up. Having dates in your calendar to look forward to is energising and key for good mental health.
MindJournal exercise: Five Favourites. This is a good writing structure for each day of your time off: use an entry to describe your five favourite things that happened that day.