What I Learned From Doing Nothing

Koh Samui ViewI’m the first to admit, when it comes to my business as a health coach, I find it hard to switch off. My poor hubby and the countless nights he’s had to cook dinner, do the dishes, and compete with my laptop for my attention! I’m lucky he’s a patient kind of guy or I’d be in real trouble. But it’s not that I’m a workaholic (or at least, I don’t think I am), it’s just that I love what I do. I love seeing my clients, watching them grow into themselves and gain their health back, and I love the constant learning that I go through in this job. The more I learn, the more I want to learn.

But as you and I both know, there are some things in life that you just can’t learn from books, and I’ve very recently learned one of those things. And that is the need, or should I say the absolute requirement, to just relax.

I’ve never done relaxation very well. I tend to think about all the things I need to do, and then work to get those done. And then it’s time to do something else! So imagine my shock when I arrived in Phuket last Friday, woke up to an (incredibly stunning) storm and the realisation that I had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do. There were no plans, I’d postponed all my clients, and the heavy rain meant I probably wasn’t leaving my hotel room anytime soon. So for the first time in a really long time, I gave in and relaxed. And it was almost like an epiphany right then and there.

One thing I always tell my clients is that they need to spend time on themselves. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing as long as it’s something that they love, something that lights them up inside and they get so into it that they have no concept of time anymore. You know when you’re reading a book that you’re enjoying so much you have no idea what’s going on around you? Then suddenly it’s dark and you realise you’ve been sitting there reading that book all day? Yeah, that kind of feeling.

When you do something that’s good for your soul.

There’s a serious connection between the health of your body, and the health of your soul. I heard recently that the most common time for heart attacks to happen is about 9am on a Monday morning. Why? Because people hate their jobs! They hate them so much that they would rather have a heart attack than face another working week! So that’s exactly what happens. Can you imagine??

When you’re stressed, your body reacts immediately. Your heart beats faster, your breathing becomes shallow, and you get all kinds of stress chemicals pumping around your body. You can’t sleep, you put on weight – your body starts to freak out! But this can all be reversed, quite effortlessly, with just a little relaxation.

All you need to do is find the thing that relaxes you. For some, it’s yoga, meditation or simple breathing exercises. For others, it’s painting or drawing or doing something creative. Playing an instrument or writing in a journal. Dancing around the house to your favourite song. Maybe it’s taking a swim at the beach or a walk through a forest (in my experience, if nature’s involved, you’re usually onto a winner).

For me, as it so happened last week, I’ve found there is nothing like lying in bed with your loved one and looking across to an incredible view of the ocean, white sand and palm trees. Of course, we can’t do that every day (damn it!) so it’s about finding a little piece of that feeling and being able to access it on a regular basis.

So what happened with my epiphany? I realised I’d been telling my clients to relax but I wasn’t walking the talk myself! I’d been asking them to take some time out, spend time on a little self-love and allow themselves some ‘me’ time, but it was all a bit hypocritical of me really.

It’s time I fixed that.

So I’ve made a promise to myself that I’m going to spend a little bit of time switching off every week. Switching off my laptop, putting my phone away, taking my mind off work and just being. Allowing myself some time to enjoy what’s good in my life and the people that are close to me. And I have absolutely no doubt that this will make me a better health coach and a better writer (and probably a better wife!).

By allowing your mind some down time you’re able to approach everything you do with fresh eyes, a fresh understanding and maybe even something a little new and improved. A change in perception can go a long way.

If we’re too busy working, we never really see.

And isn’t that what life is all about? Do the things you need to, and then stop to smell the flowers. Reward your achievements, appreciate all that is good around you. Experience the joy in your life! 

So over to you gorgeous. How do you spend your down time? Or are you desperately in need of some relaxation and not sure how to do it? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s help each other to switch off, even if it’s only for a moment.

With love and ocean views,

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