The British actress on why it’s important to have a break every now and then
In today’s busy society, many of us live to work and unfortunately that’s the way the world is – our office is in our pocket. People can now answer emails from anywhere and everywhere and therefore we’re working more and more outside of normal business hours.
However, I’m a big believer in the fact that we need to dedicate time to ourselves and ensure we have some space away from our computers and phones. Regular readers of my column will know that I meditate every day as soon as I wake up at 5am – I find this is a wonderful way to set yourself up for the hours ahead and give yourself some peace.
The thought of going and sitting in the park – even on a Saturday – may seem alien, but getting some time outside and to yourself is so important. I remember one of the best afternoons of my life was spent in St Regent’s Park in London with my friends. There were people playing cricket, and people laughing and talking, and I just laid down on the grass and relaxed. In fact, I relaxed so much I fell asleep! I didn’t have my phone with me and I felt completely restful and calm.
You don’t necessarily need a lot of time or money to escape like this – you just need to be able to relish the time away from your daily stresses and make the effort to connect with your mind and body. Whenever possible I walk to work, and strolling through the park near my house allows me to pay attention to something other than my work commitments. Taking this time to look around me and really take in the beautiful green space of the park feels like it’s a break, and I really enjoy this ‘me time’ where I can switch my brain off.
The same can be said for holidays. Everyone loves the thought of a two-week getaway to somewhere exotic but sometimes this just isn’t possible. Whether it’s because of a lack of time or money, a longer break can sometimes feel as though it brings unwanted stress along with it – the very opposite of what you’re trying to achieve! Plus, I’ve found that the price of these vacations seems to have risen astronomically lately.
And so I’ve begun to think that the way forward is to focus instead on taking just three or four days away. I say this because a friend of mind recently went to Marrakesh for four days, and she returned looking and sounding as though she’d been away for 14 days! It completely rejuvenated her and gave her a real sense of renewed energy that was apparent to everyone.
You don’t necessarily have to go somewhere you can lie by a pool for your short getaway – you could go and climb a mountain, sit in a bakery in a little village in Scotland or go to Morocco and spend your time shopping in the souk markets. Three days at a spa or on a weekend detox is a brilliant way to give yourself a mental and physical break too.
The fact we work to total exhaustion scares me and taking these breaks is vital for our health and wellbeing. I’ve got plans to go to York in a couple of weeks to see my friends, and I’m also hoping to go to Marrakesh and on a three-day active skiing trip (to have my time on the piste, as it were!).
Be smart and look for cheap deals, and make sure you can really enjoy this downtime. After all, you deserve it! Happy holidays!
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