It’s usually around this time of year that I tend to sit down and have a conversation about wellbeing with you (and myself really). If it’s not about fitness, it’s about womens gym wear and I have a few new favourite pieces that I’m currently loving at the moment. Lots of winter outdoor sportswear saved in my virtual baskets, but happy to be sporting these Elmgate Gym Leggings from Jack Wills. They’re amazing for cardio workouts as they stay in place for the entire workout and are also fab for post-workout “sofa marathons” we all need from time to time. It’s precisely that I want to talk to you about – that balance between work and wellbeing and how taking time to wind down is really necessary. Perhaps you can share what works for you too?
I’ve read somewhere recently that last year over 17 million working days in UK were lost due to anxiety, stress and depression. This of course doesn’t include those who work from home and most definitely suffer from the same issues. We just have nobody to report to or ask for a day off. Whilst organisations might try to recreate a more “homely” environment for you to make you feel more at home with big rugs, warm lighting and other cosy elements, what sort of environment should we get inspiration from if we already work at home? We are already cosy. Some even with a separate office room dedicated for one purpose only – work. But here’s the issue and it doesn’t really matter whether you work in an office 9-5 or at home from your “bed office”. We all struggle to fully switch off and it’s technology we have to “thank” for it.
I don’t know about you, but if I didn’t sleep at night I’d probably work 24/7 from my phone or laptop. It’s really awful I know but I’m not alone… Mobile technology and the rise of the agile working means we are always switched on. If you’re a business owner and your business uses Social Media or worse, depends on it then you’re already expected to be ahead of the game. Always available, always competing and constantly making sure you’re visible online. It’s our new culture that’s all, especially the industry I’m in. And although digital marketing might not mean that I’m physically exhausted all the time, it takes a big toll on our emotions. All this time on our phones and computers isn’t good for our eyes eyes either but you already knew that. We all know it but can’t help it. It’s our culture. It’s my job. It’s my responsibility.
How does one balance their work and wellbeing in this day and age? How do we switch off in this always switched on world? I can’t even meditate or exercise without technology as all of my self-development apps are on my phone. Can’t do yoga as I only remember 3 or 4 salutations without guidance so I do need my laptop for yoga classes at home as well. Here’s what I’ve come to understand my friends. There’s no way fighting with technology and if I’m honest, I wouldn’t want to anyway as my favourite apps have literally transformed the way I live.
The real art here is learning to be disciplined with yourself when it comes to switching off. If you can easily switch your phone off for a few hours every night then that’s amazing and I need you to teach me how to do it. But if you’re like me and your livelihood depends on technology and social media and you need a bit of self-discipline, then I have a few tricks and tips that I’ve learnt in the last year or so of my 4 year self-employment. Tried and tested and might help you too.
Notifications start bombarding us from the moment we wake up or sometimes they even wake us up. I put my phone on Flight Mode before I go to sleep and only use it as an alarm until I’m ready to use its full “smartness”.
Leaving the phone in another room all-together when you sleep might reduce the need to check it first thing in the morning. Creating some quick morning rituals like a short meditation or a stretch might also help set the right energies for the day and help you make more mindful choices. I noticed I even eat better after allowing myself to simply breathe for 5 minutes on my own as soon as I wake up.
If you must use your phone for exercising, then try and use apps that don’t need internet or 4G connection and put it on Flight Mode again. I have it zipped up in my pocket for the entire duration of my workouts and don’t try to leave it untouched until I’m home and out of the shower ready for work.
NO SIGNAL ZONE
One thing we love doing as a family at weekends is going for a long drive to Loch Lomond. As well as being surrounded by beautiful mountains, trees and water whilst breathing purest oxygen, there’s also never any phone signal. Yes, we use our phones to take a couple of pictures and boomerangs, but that’s all. Try to get away somewhere like that every once in a while. It’s so liberating.
NEW MID-WORK DAYTIME RITUALS
We all have days when we’re stressed with too much work or days when we need a bit of a push and motivation. It may not be possible to go out for a short walk and we aren’t able escape to the quite mountains. This is when we need to be disciplined enough and command ourselves to take that five to re-centre. When my creativity stops flowing or I just can’t get into the right mindset about things I do two things at home: run myself a bubble bath or pick up a book with a cup of tea for 20 minutes. Or both.
And lastly, I wish I could tell you that I fully switch off at night with my phone on Flight Mode and laptop untouched but I’d be lying. It’s one aspect and time of day I still need to discipline myself with and quite frankly struggle with. My blog and Instagram audience is most engaging in the evenings and so that means I must spend time engaging with users at night for a while. But it’s also a nice thing, as I get to talk to so many of you and find so much inspiration from fellow bloggers. One to two hours of work in the evenings and the rest for my family.
How do you switch off?
GYM WEAR WISH LIST:
Elmgate Leggings – Jack Wills*
Huge thanks to JACK WILLS for sponsoring this post.