I’m sitting writing this post in a bit of a post long weekend haze, you know what I’m talking about, the haze where you can’t quite come to terms with the fact that you haven’t really worked in the last two weeks because of all the long weekends and now you’re faced with an eternity of five day work weeks.

Through the haze I’ve been thinking about the importance of taking time off and how taking time off this weekend has helped me refocus and feel even more excited to work. Craig and I always joke that It’s impossible for me to ever truly be on holiday. Partly because of my personality, I love working and my brain just never stops and partly because I’m a business owner and that means you constantly have a thousand things to worry about. 

This weekend however I went completely ‘off the grid’ at Lush Festival in Clarens with three amazing friends who have nothing to do with my daily work life and I feel about a million time better for it! As an aside Lush Festival is by far one of the best festivals I’ve been to in South Africa so if you’re already planning your Easter Holidays for next year it’s defiantly worth looking at. 

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While just clocking out completely for weekends or weeks at a time isn’t always possible or wise, because let’s face it we’ve all got shit to do, even taking a few hours for yourself can make all the difference. This is especially true for those of us who are entrepreneurs, self starters are those of us who have full time jobs and a couple of projects on the side, you probably have a fistful of pennies for the amount of times you’ve been applauded for being able to do so much and for wearing so many different hats. It’s necessary yes, but man oh man it gets tiring, and the more you do it the harder it is to believe that it’s okay to step back and take a breath. 

Last time you went for a run or completed week one of Bikini Body did you take the time to stop and have a breather, no, you collapsed onto the floor with spotted vision and downed a bottle of water and only reemerged half an hour later feeling like you just ran the Comrades…twice (okay that was me, but you get the picture). Just because our brains don’t ‘pant’ doesn’t mean they aren’t tired!  

Tired brains can’t perform at their best and more often than not they make bad choices and that makes you even more stressed out than before which leads to a rather vicious circle of bad decisions, lack of concentration and even more stress.  

An article I read years ago described the problem really well: “In the course of staying focused on a task, we use up a key cognitive resource: self-control. Studies show that regulating our emotions is taxing. Known in research circles as ego depletion, this holds that every time we exercise self-regulation–paying attention, suppressing emotions, managing how we act to conform to a cultural norm–we use limited regulatory resources and reduce the ability for further self-control, depleting energy and causing fatigue.”

So, how do you just let go, even if it’s for a little while? Well I’m no expert, nor am I able to follow these steps myself just yet, here are a few steps I’ve written down for myself.

  • Put in the hours but not all the hours. Spending too much time on something can be a bad thing, set yourself a time limit and then take a break and revisit it at a later stage. 
  • Give yourself a free day, or even a few free hours every week. Force yourself to just chill, don’t do work and try not think about it. 

Here’s to working hard and relaxing hard!

Thanks Star, Terry and Muntie for the best weekend!

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