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Take Time Out to Relax and Recharge

For those of us working overseas, we are on vacation and the summer holidays are here! How do we switch off? This is something I have been pondering over the last few weeks. As a Leadership Coach, I always advocate the need for clients to take time out and recharge their batteries. Working as a Headteacher I constantly remind my staff not to check emails in the holidays. We will What’s App them if it is urgent, but in reality, most things can wait! However, do I practice what I say? To be honest I don’t! I spoke to a couple of male friends who are Principals and they both have no problem switching off from work and believe that if they are on holiday and out of the country then it is their time, and they deserve to relax and enjoy themselves. So this summer I thought I would try and follow their example!

Here I am for the first summer in two years on a proper relaxing vacation with nothing to do. I set myself the challenge of trying not to check my emails. I then broke it down into smaller chunks. I knew for my own piece of mind that I could not go for four weeks, the thought was terrifying! So I set myself a target of ten days and a compromise of a maximum weekly check-in! Have I made it to the end of the first week? Well, no, on day 3 I logged in on my phone to my work emails by mistake! They appeared on the screen and so I checked them. Was there anything important absolutely not and they could easily have been put on delay send until at the start of term. So, I start to try again and I am now on day 2. Five days left until I can check my emails!

As I write this I am on holiday in Bali, we’ve booked into a hotel in the middle of nowhere surrounded by paddy fields and all you can hear are the cockerels and the dogs barking. Yesterday desperate to destress I had a 90 minute massage, then went to a yoga class. After that, I thought I would give meditation a go. Having tried several times before at the end of Pilates classes. A whole hour of nothing but breathing and trying not to think! I was determined to make this work as it was my third relaxation activity of the day. I turned up put my phone away and listened to Jane the instructor's calming voice and instructions. As a leadership coach, I can deeply listen to my clients, so I used that skill to just listen to her and concentrate and be focused. There was a breathing task and I had to concentrate. The more I concentrated the stiller my mind became and the more relaxed I was. So much so that by the end I felt calm.

I went for my morning run this morning and my mind wasn’t racing or overthinking. I left my phone in the room at breakfast. I’ve signed in again for today and tomorrow. I need to develop this habit of stillness and hope over the next few weeks I can learn to put a calm time in my day when I do absolutely nothing. The idea is that in the future I find 10 minutes a day to be calm and just do nothing. As for the emails I have 5 days left and counting!

So, for everyone else, it is hard for some of us to relax and recharge with so many responsibilities in our personal and professional lives as well as our attachment to our electronic devices and the belief that we have to be readily available. I encourage everyone to use the summer to develop some good habits for their own well-being and concentrate on the here and now.

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