On The Importance Of Taking Time Off & Letting Your Mind Have Space

I’ve never been able to sit still for long; a ‘quiet’ moment is usually filled with checking my email ‘just in case’, scrolling social media, editing a picture or googling random facts about serial killers. My multi-tasking is getting ridiculous, as I often can be found watching a documentary and reading a book simultaneously – just to maximise use of the time I have available and ensure I can absorb as much of the world around me as possible. A long relaxing bath is mostly accompanied by a podcast, magazine or book, while my weekends are usually spent taking photos or filming videos with my husband between brunch dates and cinema trips. Even while studying at Uni I juggled a day job and a night job to feed my shopping habit (and Snakebite habit, but that’s another story!) until I pretty much collapsed from exhaustion and was told to take it easy. (Unsurprisingly it didn’t last long.)

On The Importance Of Taking Time Off & Letting Your Mind Have Space On The Importance Of Taking Time Off & Letting Your Mind Have Space

For me, there’s always so much to do and see; there’s so much I could be getting on with and so much I want to absorb, that it’s so easy to get swept away and forget that what feeds the body and spirit is actually space. We need space to breathe, to listen and to look – and we need space in order for creativity to flow and for us to perform at our very best. As a freelancer it can be harder than most to recognise the need for a few days (or weeks) getting detached from technology and to resist the constant pull of your inbox. The feeling that every moment should be used to in some way build your brand, prepare for the future or be making money can be overwhelming, but often space is what you need to reignite your passion and focus.

As I stepped into 2019 I felt hugely optimistic for the future; I had a lot of exciting things planned and a handful of super exciting clients within my portfolio, but one by one everything started to go a little bit tits up. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m a pretty hard nut to crack and can fight my own (that’s what working in a male dominated environment with the face of a teenager will do to you) but I slowly started to crumble. I couldn’t focus, every little thing felt like it was the end of the world and I honestly wanted to do nothing more than curl up in my pyjamas watching Doctor Who and devouring leftover festive chocolate. So you know what? I let myself do just that.

It’s a rare occurrence for me to just throw in the towel and give myself a few days to wallow, but that’s exactly what I needed in order for the fog to clear and for my focus to be reborn. A few days of pottering about, drinking coffee and not putting pressure on myself to be creative actually started to stimulate my creativity; a few days of getting my nails done, buying myself a new bag, going to the theatre and embracing a snow day was just what I needed to start seeing the positive in things again. I came back after practically a week away with more clarity of what I wanted to do, how I wanted my future to look and what kind of content I wanted to keep creating – something that forcing myself to sit at my laptop from 9am to 6pm every day simply wouldn’t have achieved.

Our society breeds multi-tasking, constant connectivity and the feeling that we’re never doing enough; there’s always another task that needs doing, a new hobby that needs enjoying, a new documentary that needs watching, a new restaurant that needs trying… And our smartphones there by our side to document it all. But with that comes the need to step back, breathe deeply and look after your wellbeing for the long-term – something we’re all a bit guilty of forgetting about.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, lacking focus, feeling frustrated or simply haven’t been sleeping as well as you’d like, switch off and take as much time out as you need; being selfish in the short term benefits both yourself and everyone around you in the long term.

Take it from someone who’s known for burning the candle at both ends, and in the middle.

On The Importance Of Taking Time Off & Letting Your Mind Have Space On The Importance Of Taking Time Off & Letting Your Mind Have Space

How do you try to switch off, take time out for yourself and allow your mind to have the space it needs?

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On The Importance Of Taking Time Off & Letting Your Mind Have Space

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11 Comments

  1. Rachel
    February 8, 2019 / 3:52 pm

    Side note: that lipstick looks awesome on you!

    I think this time of year definitely lends itself to a bit of hibernation. All the January motivation has faded and it’s still a while til Spring. I know I’m definitely feeling the need to power down and just switch off for a while.

    I definitely feel under pressure from the “girl bosses” to keep slogging on and pushing to the top, but I’m bloody knackered and just want a nice sit down!

    • hayleyhalluk
      Author
      February 8, 2019 / 4:28 pm

      Haha I totally get you! I think there’s so much pressure to be a ‘girl boss’ and that doesn’t suit a lot of people – you don’t always have to be ‘living your best life’ because sometimes living your best average life and taking some time for you is what you need. Not everyone needs to be bossing life and achieving XYZ – social media has a lot to answer for when it comes to that.

  2. Danish Pastry
    February 8, 2019 / 3:52 pm

    I suppose it’s a bit like taking a break from the computer screen every hour or so! I know if I don’t I’ll end up feeling cross eyed by the end of the day!
    In my 20’s I had a full time job and was a member of the Territorial Army, which meant that one to two evenings a week (shift work allowing) and three weekends out of four I was occupied with my hobby/ part time job in the TA. I only found it a problem if I was sleep deprived (like going from a 28 hour shift at the hospital straight to a weekend exercise). It was like the old saying “a change is as good as a rest”. I’m not so sure I could keep up now I’m in my 40’s!
    These days I tend to get home from work and am straight out with the dog for an hour (making the most of the light), then it’s usually some no brainer tv series (can’t count how many times I’ve seen Friends), nothing too heavy!
    If I’m not working at the weekends I do tend to relax in my pj’s, catching up on Instagram at this time of year. But come the spring I’ll be in my garden and greenhouse. Enjoying growing and watching things grow – its meditative!

    • hayleyhalluk
      Author
      February 8, 2019 / 4:30 pm

      My mum loves sitting in the garden – as soon as the sun is out she’s there! I love fresh air and when spring comes along nothing beats an afternoon by the river and going for a wander. We do try to juggle to much and forget to take the world in.

  3. Meg
    February 8, 2019 / 6:50 pm

    Studies do show that multi-tasking isn’t good for the brain – stimulation is superficial. Glad you’re getting your mojo back. When your mind and body are telling to do it then you need to do it – powering through causes problems later.

  4. Heather
    February 9, 2019 / 6:38 pm

    I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog. I’m not on social media (except Pinterest) & spend little time on screen. I “came into” fashion in my mid 30s (10 yrs ago) & do love shopping online. I found you by googling “how to wear a beret”. I already knew how, but wanted more inspiration. I found you & have spent hours reading your older posts. My husband said, “You’ve really been on your phone a lot!”
    You are appreciated & inspiring to me.

    • hayleyhalluk
      Author
      February 9, 2019 / 9:14 pm

      Thank you so much Heather – and I’m so glad you’re enjoying the site, posts new and old. My aim is to inspire and stimulate conversation in the over 30s category specifically, so I’m glad that’s happening! Thank you for your support. x

  5. February 10, 2019 / 7:51 pm

    Just the post I needed to read Hayley – I’m feeling burnt out too, even though we’ve just had a few days away. Such beautiful pictures in this post xxx

  6. February 11, 2019 / 4:14 pm

    You look beautiful here Hayley! I’ve been getting into swimming lately and it refocuses my mind like nothing else. Just breathing and emptying the mind works wonders sometimes.

    Jess
    http://www.thejessicalife.com

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