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The best laid plans...


I am just back in the office from two weeks off. I’m feeling rested and energised and somewhat rejuvenated.

I had quite a lot of things planned for my two week stay-cation:

  • Reading some novels and doing a jigsaw puzzle
  • Sowing vegetable and flower seeds
  • Decluttering my kitchen and my home office
  • Walking with friends
  • Barbeques (weather permitting)
  • Getting my campervan out of the garage to render it “summer ready”
  • Playing guitar, doing yoga, spending time with my partner, playing with the dog, cooking, eating, drinking.

I know. That’s quite a long list. Several friends told me that I would be exhausted at the end of the break with all these “things to do”. But I needed to know that I could fill my time and not be tempted to “log in” to work. When you are holidaying at home, you need to get creative.


In order to prepare for my break and to ensure that it would be real downtime, I did a few things.

Firstly, I made sure that all my clients knew I would not be in the office and that we had scheduled coaching sessions for when I would be back. I then wrote a few blogs that could be scheduled to go out in my absence by the magic of ESP (email service provider, not extra-sensory perception!). I also wrote two weeks’ worth of social media posts that my Passionate PA (Emily) posted for me whilst I was off.

I had a couple of ground rules: (i) I could respond to social media comments but was only allowed to login to social twice a day and (ii) no phone whenever I was with anyone else.

Best laid plans

The first weekend was lovely. I got stuck right in to my first novel and the jigsaw puzzle which was finished by the end of the weekend!

I had a lovely walk with a friend on the Monday and then … tweaked by sacroiliac joint at the base of my spine. This was followed by two days of not being able to move – thank goodness for those new novels – and about another week of ibuprofen kicking in and experimenting with walking / moving before getting in to see the physio last week.

Despite the pain, I still really enjoyed this time and felt that I was relaxing. Another friend pointed out that sometimes our bodies send us a message to rest completely and maybe this was mine telling me to do just that.

I still did lots – I read and jigged and decluttered (a bit) and walked and barbequed and played guitar and spent time with my partner and cooked and ate and drank.

There were also things I didn’t get done – not much gardening (unless you include sitting in the garden) and the campervan is still in the garage. Yoga was also, unfortunately, off the agenda.

And that’s OK. My long list wasn’t for ticking off, it was for ideas and inspiration.

Deliberate rest

Whilst reflecting on these last two weeks, I’ve been reminded of a concept called “deliberate rest” which I first came across in Alex Soojung-Kim Pang’s book “Rest”.

He posits that rest is not a negative space where you do nothing but that it’s a positive space where you do something different to what you normally do at work. Rest can be physically engaging and intellectually challenging. Therefore, deliberate rest can be active and is actually more likely to be restorative if it is active.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Deliberately resting in an active way within the confines of my temporary restrictions on movement.

Don’t forget to book yourself some deliberate rest this week!

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