There is something quite strange about the Christmas and New Year period. The world at large is quite happy if you choose to go off grid for a week or two because most everyone else (recognising with gratitude the amazing few who keep the world turning during this time), have done the same.
We have all been given permission to take a break.
But what about those other 51 weeks in the year?
How often, outside of Christmas, do you take guilt free time off?
The first lockdown in 2020 gave many people an opportunity to experience life with nothing to do and nowhere to go. As soon as the world opened up again it did feel a little like coming up for air but it would be nice to think that if we took anything away from the experience it was the importance of taking time out. Whether it’s being with family and friends or just ourselves.
So why do we find it so hard to give ourselves permission to take a break?
Speaking for myself, as someone who works from home, it’s very difficult to switch off completely. Whichever way I turn there are distractions and always something that needs to be done. Whether it’s housework, business admin or new projects to get started (or even finished!) the list seems endless and my attention is elsewhere.
This time last year, I made a point of ensuring I took time out for myself every day. The year before I had failed to do this and suffered the consequences. Those daily breaks, making more time and emotional space for myself and my family were exceptionally beneficial but there was still a small part of me rushing to get back to work.
I discovered that I could only truly relax and switch off when I was not at home. Last autumn we enjoyed a family holiday away from the farm. The change of scenery was wonderful. It generated new conversations and experiences for us. We returned home with fond memories that we continue to reflect on. That guilt free feeling of knowing that there was simply nothing for me to do but just ‘be’ was exactly what I needed.
I recently came across this beautiful quote by Simone Weil:
Removing ourselves from those daily distractions allows us to
give the gift of attention to our loved ones and also to ourselves.
Take some time out this year and give the gift of “attention”,
“the rarest and purest form of generosity.”
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