It’s been one week since the launch of Relax Ya Self To Health. So what have I learned? That I am, perhaps, the biggest idiot that ever lived.
The plan had been to use the blog as a way of charting my quest to relax. But the stark reality in the run-up to the big reveal was that I worked myself into the ground, and my stress levels went through the roof. Oh, the irony.
Every spare minute was spent working on the site. The posts. The images. The social media. The technical bits and bobs. I refused to rest.
“I resembled the hunchback of Notra Dame”
And on the day of the launch I was still tapping away at my keyboard at 2.30am – having turned the computer on at 5.30am the previous day.
Even a fool knows that a 21 hour stint is not sustainable – by the end I resembled the hunchback of Notra Dame complete with square eyes and a fried brain.
This madcap way of working is something I’ve grown accustomed to during my 17-year career as a freelance journalist, which is famed for its ‘feast or famine periods’.
Whereas once I used to thrive on juggling news shifts and five commissions landing on the same day, my recent health troubles have forced me to re-evaluate. The whole point of setting up this site was to learn how to relax.
Evidently, old habits die hard.
What’s more, I received some quite lovely messages from a number of people – including a couple based overseas – thanking me for my posts.
I felt privileged to hear your stories. Some of you are in a similar situation health-wise, others are going through different but equally stressful experiences. Firstly, I’d like to thank you for getting in touch. Secondly, I’m here to let you know that you are not alone.
If it helps, I’m going to share two messages I received from a couple of friends at the end of last week.
“Your work is really important, but not as important as you. You need a break.”
“Can you do one thing for me, please?,” the first started off. “At some point today book yourself proper downtime over the next few days to relax. No computers, phones or anything else. Your work is really important, but not as important as you. You need a break x”
The second one stated: “Can you listen to your own bloody blog and get yourself some rest?”
I heeded the advice. On Friday afternoon I gave myself permission to have an afternoon away from my desk, which is unheard of for me. I arranged a meeting with a PR by the sea. Technically, I was still working but I was away from my computer. The sun was shining. It felt GLORIOUS.
“It takes 66 days to change a habit.”
Of course, I’m not perfect. The next day I immediately slipped back into my old ways – putting in another eight hour performance. According to a 2009 University College London study, it takes 66 days to change a habit.
As I’m determined to build relaxation into my life, I plan to post a picture on Instagram every Sunday with the hashtag #chilltimesunday in a bid to stay on track.
I’d love for you to join me and hear how you relax!
Please feel free to tag me in your posts or leave a comment below.