I have a plethora of friends and contacts who are currently going to, returning from or planning holidays to the Seychelles, Crete, Cambodia, the Lake District… Whether you are off to Bermuda or Brighton, or having a staycation, it is important to take some time out to recharge the batteries. But if you are self employed, it is often hard to convince yourself that you can afford (either in time or money) to take time off. And if, like me, you really love what you do, it is difficult to notice how much you are working.
Now I have to confess at this point that I am not a great one for holidays in the formal sense. Two weeks sitting on a beach would a) burn my fair skin and b) bore me rigid. I’m also not one for long country walks - I like to know the countryside is there, but I don’t need to actually visit it. I am more of a city break, gallery type and even then, after about 4 days I get restless.
But what I am very good at doing is regularly blocking time out in my diary to definitely not work. This could be a day or a weekend where, first and foremost, I turn off the phone, unplug the laptop and lock away the iPad. If it is a cold, wet Sunday, I will snuggle down on the sofa with endless pots of tea and a pile of books and spend 12 hours in other peoples’ lives. (Crime fiction is a firm favourite of mine and the Inspector Montalbano books by Andrea Camilleri are particularly good for holiday reading - great plots plus endless descriptions of Italian food and locations which make you feel like you are really there!)
I often plan a ‘city break’ in my home town of London, meeting up with friends and spending the day like tourists, taking ourselves to places we don’t usually see in the hurly burly of working life. (It also cuts out the time and expense of travel!) We make it a rule not to talk about work and to have lots of afternoon teas!
The point is, whether you take a day or a couple of weeks, it is important to just kick back and take a complete break. It is very good for your well being and also your career - emptying your mind of work even for a few hours creates space for all those new ideas!
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