Taking time out… switching off… chilling out… maxing, relaxing, nothing too taxing (oh puh-lease)… whatever you choose to call it, there’s a lot that can be said for hopping off this merry-go-round called life every once in a while, and I only came to realise this last week.
I am, admittedly, crap at relaxing. A good friend of mine often reminds me that I might find it helpful to set aside a little ‘me’ time every now and then but I rarely do, choosing instead to be on the go all the time, for fear of missing out on life if I do otherwise. And when I do get some time to myself, I squander it, either not getting things done that I should or by fretting that I’m missing out on something, I don’t know what exactly, but just something.
Last week, however, was relentless. I had a busy working week, coupled with a social calendar that seemed especially busy. This would have been all well and good because I love my friends and family but life factors meant that anxiety, the acquaintance I made a couple of years ago but thought I’d dealt with by now, chose to rear its ugly head again – big time – making the week more and more difficult to deal with as it went on.
By Friday evening – returning home from work and realising that once again, I’d have absolutely no time to myself before I had to jump in the shower, make and eat dinner then head out again – I fell apart. I had a lot on my mind and was in tears whilst trying to go about my routine, but had no time to stop and process anything I was experiencing.
‘Enough!’, I thought and did something I don’t often do. I cancelled all plans for the evening (a really flaky move but needs must), turned off my phone and left it upstairs, and got into my pyjamas. I had the added luxury of having the house completely to myself (a rarity when you live with your boyfriend and two other adults) so I made my dinner at an unusually relaxed speed and spent the evening watching whatever the hell I wanted on TV, and also catching up on back episodes of ‘Episodes’ online.
And, my word, it was AMAZING! (Not ‘Episodes’, that was just average). I felt the wretched anxiety I’d been feeling all week just seep right out of me and I was left with head space to think about – but not brood on – the stuff that had been on my mind. Not having my phone with me to fiddle with every five seconds really helped too because the amount of time that can be lost messing about on email or social media sites on your phone can be unbelievable, if you’re not careful.
As therapeutic as this much-needed break from the world was, I don’t think it’s something I could do often, especially if it feels enforced. But that one night off helped me to re-group and go back into the world the following day to enjoy the things I had planned.