When my holidays started, I decided to take some time off work and to just relax. This has been really good for me and I very much enjoyed it. With the holiday season and mock exams on the horizon, I wanted a few days to myself and I decided to give these days to myself. I would highly recommend giving yourself a break after working intensely for a period of time (as I did during my term time).
One thing I realised (which was rather sad to acknowledge) was that I did actually not really know what to do with myself without a full schedule. I had cleared my entire schedule and nothing was in it - not even when I would wake up. Falling asleep without setting an alarm was a very new experience for me since I have not done that in a while. But after two days of doing absolutely nothing except binge-watching Dynasty (because don't we all love Fallon Carrington?) and The Royals, I got bored.
Although sleeping in until breakfast would no longer be served in the canteen and not checking my emails for a few days was enjoyable, I realised that I needed some sense of purpose or simply something to work towards. I kept volunteering at an Oxfam store near my college and this simply gave me a reason to get up early and talk to some friends. I guess I needed the structure it provided for my day. I also took on some work for my university's Amnesty International society and I really enjoyed designing a few things for them. I took my time creating their items and it made me remember how much fun it is to create without time pressuring me to get something done. I also worked on a few designs for fun without any intention to publish them on my blog or my social media accounts. I ended up deciding to publish this article's title picture because I believe that the art created solely for myself is the best representation of the time I took off.
I know that the winter holidays will begin soon for many of you and I decided to collect my best tips for taking some time off for you all:
1. Bye Social Media & Emails!
You don't have to say goodbye to them for the entire time - but be conscious about when you use them and whether you really want to open them. For me, most of my social media accounts are used for both friendships and volunteering or blog-related things. This means that I often go on Facebook and find at least three requests of whether I could help some society or group with a project. Do not get me wrong, I love to get involved, but when you are taking time off, you do not need to take on any responsibilities! And regarding emails: The people in your school or university know that everybody is on a break, so they cannot expect a quick answer as they could during term time, so there is no need to stress about replying to emails within a few hours of receiving them!
2. Give yourself some time, but do not give yourself forever
Taking time off is good, but simply doing nothing over the entire break is going to leave you stressed out at the start of the term. I would recommend choosing how long your time off will be and planning the first few days after your time off in order to make it easier to get back into working on your projects after your break. When deciding how much time to give yourself, think about how exhausted you are after your intense working period, how much time the entire break contains, and what you need to get done during the break.
3. Set yourself at least one daily goal
You can definitely spend your first few days lying around on your bed, catching up on your favourite Netflix shows and having lunch in your PJs. But sooner or later, this will get boring and a little bit frustrating. When you reach that point, use your time for a purpose: set yourself at least one goal for the day. The goal can be as simple as cooking lunch yourself and not using another cup noodles package or as ambitious as filming and editing a video. What I love about not having as many goals for a day as I would during term time is that I get to fully commit to these goals and spend all my energy on one of them. It makes the results so much better and fulfilling!
4. That book you always wanted to read but never got to read? Read it now!
Your time off should be used for things you always wanted to do but somehow never did because other things got in the way. So if there is a book on your reading list which has been there for ages, go to your next bookshop, buy it, and start reading (or just keep on your PJs and buy the ebook if you're still at the early stage of not leaving your bed...). Whatever it is that you wanted to do for a long time but have not gotten around to doing, now is the time!
5. Social Commitments? Pff!
During term time, we have a lot of social commitments that we have to attend (and that often wake our anti-social sentiments...), but your time off is the time where these commitments have no place! When I am taking some time to myself, I am very conscious of who I give some of my time, how I spend it, and whether I really want to spend my time with anyone other than myself. That is why I met up with my close friends during my time off, went to London with a good friend, and spent two evenings screaming and laughing (and maybe crying a little) next to my friend while watching Netflix's new princess romance movies - oh, and don't forget the food coma we were both in after each movie thanks to the abundance of McDonald's food we ate on these evenings. Whenever I tell people that I am a lot more intentional about who I spend my time with during my free time, they seem to like the idea but many do not know how to say no. I struggled with this at the start as well. One easy way out is to simply say that you are busy that day. If you get a little braver, just be honest and tell the person that you want to spend that time with yourself to relax a little. Many seem to think it makes them seem anti-social, but really, it makes them human and the other person is probably jealous because they wished they would sometimes be brave enough to say that!
Do you have some tips for taking some time for yourself? I would love to hear them - please feel free to message me here!
Lots of Love,