The importance of taking time off

Last month, most of the world marked March 8th – The International Women’s Day.  I’m not sure why it’s not a bigger deal here in America, but in Ukraine, where I grew up, it was a day that was honored and celebrated as a true holiday.

About a week prior, without any steering from me, my husband said: “Let’s take this day off.”  “Uhm,” I thought, “how can I just take a day off in the middle of the week.  I can’t do that.  I have appointments.  I have obligations.  I have stuff to do”.  And then I remembered that this flexibility is exactly why I chose to be in business for myself and quit my corporate job 6 years ago.  Believe it or not, it was a difficult decision for me, but I allowed myself to say Yes (I work for a very tough boss, what can I tell you ).

We had the most magical day attending the Philadelphia Flower Show.  The aroma, the color, the life that filled that convention center was incredibly inspirational, invigorating, and relaxing all at the same time.  Great lunch nearby, followed by a walk through the Reading Market (kind of an amish/farmers market) and amazing ice-cream (another thing I almost never allow myself to have).

The day off got me thinking how important it is to take time to indulge.  Indulgences, no matter how small, energize us and give us strength and motivation to be better designers, parents, partners, friends, sons and daughters.  Here are some ways to consider indulging.

  1. Annual vacation – or two.  In the beginning of the year, I try to block off a few weeks on my calendar as my target weeks to take off.   I may not know where I’m going yet, but I do know that I won’t schedule anything else during weeks.
  2. Scheduled weekends off
  3. Spontaneous days off (kind of like my March 8th example above)
  4. Trips to your favorite coffee shop
  5. Time off for fitness – lately I’ve gotten into yoga, and I try to attend the class even if everything else around me seems to go awry
  6. Brief walks – especially if everything is going awry, things are spinning out of control, and I can’t possibly step away from my desk for a minute – that’s when I push away and get out for 30 minutes.  It’s amazing that I come back with a whole new clarity
  7. How do you indulge?
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