I have recently come back from a little week away in Rhodes, and boy did I need it. A week away in the sun might not sound like much to many of you, but when I realised it was the first real break I have had in two full years, it dawned on me just how much I needed a little bit of time to escape.
As many of you will know, I’m all for people working their asses off and making a fantastic life for themselves. I dedicate pretty much all of my spare time to running this blog and my boutique, rarely giving myself much free time for ‘chilling out’, lazing around or doing ‘nothing’. But recently, I’ve been working super long hours in my day job, along with trying to squeeze in seeing my friends and family, and everything got a little bit mental…
And this, dear readers, is a fine example of that ‘little-too-late’ moment when you realise you are on the verge of exhaustion. As much as I love my blog, my freelancing, my little dress boutique, my job, etc etc… it’s by no means OK for me to start letting things suffer – such as sleep and spare time. I’ve recently learnt that these two precious things aren’t luxuries, they are essentials, and it really is OK to give myself time out.
So I packed up my (overweight) case and headed off to Rhodes, just as this blog closed its eyes for 8 sweet days. My ASOS Marketplace Boutique also shut up shop for 8 days (I’m not too proud of that by the way, but when you’re a one man band, there is literally nothing else you can do. Except don’t go on holiday. But that’s the mistake I made over the past two years).
Does my scenario ring true to any of you guys over there? If so, take a read of how I have been spending my well deserved ‘time-off’, and hopefully it may inspire you to do the same. And don’t you dare feel guilty!
1. Became a Tourist
As much as I love taking a casual Saturday day time and turning it into a little trip to an undiscovered bar/cafe/walk nearby, nothing beats getting out of your local area and jetting away. I enjoyed nothing but strolling around the ancient Old Town of Rhodes, sailing off on boat trips, walking along the beach front and exploring new sites. One thing I absolutely love doing when going on holiday is checking out local markets, and browsing the range of handmade jewellery and clothing. Hey, you can take the girl out of her shopping city of Manchester, but you can never take it out of the girl!
2. Stopped Exercising
As much as I can’t praise exercise enough for keeping your body in good shape, it’s fine to take breaks every now and again. After taking on a pretty tough job where I have a rather long commute and work long hours, I had to make the decision to cut back on the gym and working out a little, at least until I got myself settled into a new routine. But hey, it’s OK, everyone deserves a break sometimes. Our bodies need to rest just as much as our minds do. As long as you try to fit in a little bit of walking when you can, plus making other small efforts and eating well, it’s nothing to feel guilty about. Make little mental notes to do things such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking the long way round to the staff car park, and ditching the car when nipping to the corner shop.
In the last month I have probably clocked up around 5 gym sessions, which for me is really quite poor. But a holiday to me should be just that – a holiday – and by no means would you catch me running around the resort in my leggings in the 34 degree heat!
Instead, I threw on my brand new Boohoo Crop Top Bikini which I managed to get in the Boohoo sale – for an incredible £10! I lay back on the sunbeds, took short strolls along the beach, and went for a couple of swimming sessions. This brightly coloured number has to be my favourite bikini I’ve owned in a long time, and laying down resting in the sun seemed so much more appealing with this fab item to hand.
3. Ate, Ate, and Ate Some More…
Following on from my point above, I have also been eating like a king during my time out period. I mean, when you’re on holiday to a foreign country, it can be really hard to keep up with your usual eating patterns and diet plans. For example, I can’t consume much dairy, as I literally break out with spots. But try staying in an all-inclusive hotel where everything contains cheese, and there’s no soya milk, and creamy yoghurts are staring at you at the breakfast buffet every morning at 8 am. Lets face it – diet rules just ain’t going to stick. So I’ve been treating my time out to indulge in all my favourites such as pizza, cheese baguettes, pasta dishes and the typical Greek take-away favourite – Gyros! If you don’t know what a Gyros is, its pretty much a fancy name for a kebab, except the meat is a little nicer (think slices of pork with red onions, tomatoes and tzaizki) and it is ridiculously tasty. As long as you don’t overload yourself with bad food after bad food on a daily basis, then taking a healthy eating break is sometimes the best thing to lift your mood and cheer you up!
3. Looked After My Skin
There’s nothing like a good relaxing break to really think about your skin and overall health, so that’s something I really focused on during my mini break. I’m always really cautious about the ‘evils’ which can make my skin and health deteriorate, such as smoking, alcohol, and late nights, and thankfully I limit these as much as I can at the best of times. I’ve never been a smoker, but I have so many friends who still get caught up in the bad habit, and the effects really are starting to show. Small wrinkles around the lips, yellow stained finger tips and the first signs of discoloured teeth. Luckily, a few of them have started to turn to options which make the process of quitting a little easier, such as e-liquids. I’m actually quite happy when they turn to this option instead of the horrible cigarette habit, there are so many fruity smelling flavours that I actually enjoy the scent! If you’re reading this and are a smoker yourself, I am in no way trying to dictate that you should stop, but there are so many people turning to other ways to stop the traditional smoking habit in a bid to improve their health and extend their life. There’s a piece on the BBC here which I found quite interesting about e-liquids etc…
A few other changes I made during my break was switching up my usual vodka and coke’s to vodka, soda water and a slice of lime instead, just to cut down on the amount of sugar. I don’t know about you, but sugar sends my skin wild. After just a few days of sweet treat indulgence, I’m breaking out everywhere!
I also tried to get to sleep before midnight every night, despite being on holiday. I really struggle to get the recommended 8 hours sleep, and the bags under my eyes are firm proof!
4. Read and Became Inspired
Whilst I’m always busy working, I realised that I never actually spend any time curled up with a good book like I used to. I was an absolute reading addict at one point: fiction, non-fiction, motivational or inspirational – I read everything. So during my holiday, I embarked on a reading mission to get through the entire #GIRLBOSS book by the Founder of Nasty Gal (fashion brand). I love a good book which tells the story of someones success through light-hearted prose, and this book certainly does that. Just reading about the passion the author has for building her own brand and making something of herself reminded me of the goals and aims I’ve always reached out for. Reading about successful women out there who have dedicated their lives to creating their own business, yet having fun along the way, really enlightens me, and it only encourages me to work harder and be more passionate.
If you’re feeling a little stuck in a career rut, or are in need of some life inspiration, I honestly can’t recommend this book more. People who read it say it’s life changing, and at first I doubted how it could really be that powerful. But trust me ladies – it’s super motivating!
So there you go, a little bit of a discussion about taking time off, and the importance of relaxing. In today’s world we become so ridiculously busy, that’s its nice to step back every now and again and realise that our bodies are in much need of some R&R. So do it!