Pretty much my entire adult life, in both a personal and professional capacity has been spent in the fast lane, travelling way over 100 mph and rarely making time for a pit stop. Don’t get me wrong, It has served me really well, travelling at such speed had meant I’d reached places faster than I’d anticipated and gone further than I’d ever imagined. But I was tired, physically, mentally and emotionally drained.
I have one of those personalities and lives where I’m forever keeping my diary busy and mind occupied. Whether it’s working, parenting, learning new skills, crafting, socialising or networking, I find a way to do it all. I’ve certainly mastered the art of juggling.
But for me, like most others, these past two years have been fraught with challenges. Making the decision to move jobs shortly after returning to work from maternity leave was by no means an easy one, but I knew this opportunity was too good to let pass by.
Of course it would have made more financial sense for me to start the new job straight away, or perhaps just take a few days off. But my body and mind was screaming out to me. I knew then it would be critical for me to carve out enough time between role changes to properly recharge and reset.
Switch on to Switching off
In this digital age, we are constantly connected. Switching off from work is near impossible, even on evenings and weekends I would find myself glancing at my phone, planning the next day, thinking of work even when on my own time.
Imagine two weeks of no calendar invitations, email notifications or slide decks to prepare! Sounded absolute bliss. Time to myself, where my brain could power down, the ultimate headspace that I so desperately needed. No stress from the past job and no accountability for the future one. I couldn’t wait!
A moment of reflection
This time off had gifted me lots of opportunities to reflect on the rollercoaster journey I had been on to reach this point. Remembering all I had achieved in my last role and thinking about what more I needed to work on to grow into this next role. Having time and space to pause from the hustle and bustle of life came with such rewards. I had time to catch up with friends and peers alike, to spend quality uninterrupted time with my family and to just be present.
Crossing things off the aged ‘To Do’ list
With this time off I had to ensure I didn’t fill my days with lots of errands to run, despite the temptation and habit to be productive. I had nothing specific planned and it felt so liberating. Instead, I did things when and if I felt like doing them, eventually crossing off some life admin that had been on my to do list for a considerably long time, without it feeling like a chore.
Some days I couldn’t help but feel guilty for not having achieved ‘enough’ because not constantly doing something was pretty alien to me. But I soon learned to park those thoughts by telling myself that doing nothing was on the top of my to do list for the day!
Self care isn’t selfish
Because I continued to send the children to nursery, I found that instead of constantly looking after everyone else, I had the incredible luxury to invest and look after myself for a change. Taking long walks daily, watching films uninterrupted, listening to podcasts, spending quality time with my husband and taking afternoon naps too! By losing myself in doing nothing, I found a part of myself that I hadn’t seen in a long time.
Ready and raring to go
Although the thought of early retirement sounds incredibly appealing to most, this break has given me a new found love, appreciation and validation for what I do. I help to make a difference, I educate others, I do what I love. Having had the opportunity to fully recharge my batteries, I’m more energised than ever before. New adventures can often be daunting, but I’m ready to face this new challenge head on.
Doing nothing these past two weeks has been the best something I’ve done in a long time. If you have the chance to take a break between jobs, I couldn’t recommend it enough.