Ep.43 Take A Rest
Taking breaks. This is something I have struggled with forever.
I’ve always overworked, over committed and did everything. I filled every single minute and second of my day with something.
I still struggle with it now, but I’m a bit more aware. I know what it’s going to take to change that and I’m working on it.
Today I want to talk to you about taking a rest. We often get into this place where we’re so driven and we’re so ambitious and we just push ourselves – but this can negatively affect every area of our lives.
Here’s what I talked about:
- How my last vacation didn’t go as planned (I couldn’t relax!)
- What I learned from that vacation (I need consistent weekly and daily breaks!)
- How I changed my work schedule (Fridays are my open days!)
- What my days are like (including my ‘people days’!)
- 4 things I’m doing differently (and which one I’m still working through!)
Maybe some of this will inspire you or it’ll give you some ideas to sort through, so that you can continue to be driven and ambitious and work hard on making your dreams real – making your business grow and reaching more people and making more money and having the kind of life that you want!
If you enjoyed this podcast, you may enjoy these 3 other podcast episodes about creating a business around your life:
Prefer reading? Here’s the transcript below
Stephanie: Hey there. Welcome back to another episode of The Leveraged Practice. This podcast episode is coming out right during the holiday season, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging because we chat every week, don’t we? And ever since I started this podcast in April of 2019… I think it was April, I have consistently shown up every single week and produced a podcast episode for you.
That’s something I’m proud of and something that I want to continue. I want to make sure that you can rely on me and know that I’m always thinking about you and thinking about what can help you next on your journey to build a leveraged practice.
So here I am on December 26th, this is coming out December 26 so I’m recording it a week ahead of time. Took me a while to think about what I wanted to talk to you about during the holidays. First I was thinking, “Oh man, I have so many different ideas.” I’ve actually recorded the January podcast.
But this one has been on my list because I was like, “What do you want to hear in the middle of your holiday break or in the middle of your holiday season or right at the end of the year?” And first it was strategic and business oriented and then I decided yesterday that I would do this podcast, which is about taking a break, taking a rest, taking a vacation and not working.
This is something I have struggled with forever, since I can remember, since I was a child, throughout my university career, into my master’s, throughout my career and even being a new mom. I now have a four and a half year old and a one and a half year old.
With that first baby I struggled. I have struggled with taking a vacation, taking a break, taking breaks, not overworking. I would say that I have a problem. No, do we call it a problem? I’m challenged by overworking. I don’t want to label myself. We don’t need to label ourselves.
But I definitely would say that for decades, and I’m 37 years old, since high school I just overworked, over committed, did everything, filled every single minute and second of my day with something. I still struggle with it now, but I’m a bit more aware and I know what it’s going to take and I’m working on it.
So in this podcast episode, I want to talk to you about taking a rest. It is the holidays and you may have 1,000 children running around or lots of family visiting or maybe you are taking a break or maybe you’re travelling. Maybe you’re going somewhere beautiful and warm… I’m so jealous, it’s cold where I live…and that’s fantastic.
My Last Vacation Didn’t Go As Planned…
Even when we are on vacation, when we take a scheduled break, it can still be terrible. We can still not take a rest. Have you ever done that? Have you ever scheduled a day off or a vacation and your brain just doesn’t want to stop working? Again, that’s how I am and how I have been all these years, especially as I became an entrepreneur in 2011 and since then, Oh my gosh, I’ve taken so little vacations.
The last real vacation I took was when I was pregnant with David and Deacon was three years old. Stuart and myself and Deacon went to the Bahamas. The Bahamas is super close to where I live, so it’s three hours. I was pregnant, so every single country had Zika,that was warm in the winter time, except a couple of them. One of them was Bahamas, three hours away. Beautiful and I love that. At the same time, there was no time change.
We were going to go to Hawaii, but I was really pregnant. I was six months pregnant and David was really big. So I was uncomfortable and I didn’t want to get on a plane for 10 hours overnight and then have a six hour time change. So we didn’t do Hawaii…but one day we will. So we went to the Bahamas and stayed in Atlantis, which is a resort. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a very big resort and we stayed there for a week. There was a day program for Deacon that we paid for.
Here’s what happened, I did not relax. I couldn’t relax. My brain couldn’t relax, my heart couldn’t relax. I kept thinking about things. I was journaling, I had anxiety, and I had lots of work thoughts. It was really, really uncomfortable for me to be on vacation. This was expensive and an investment of time before we had our second baby to go and spend all this money on Atlantis and travel there. Man, it was such a lesson for me. When I came home I was like, “Well, that was not a vacation.” Wow, I spent a lot of money to learn that lesson.
What My Last Vacation Taught Me
What did I learn? What did I learn from this terrible vacation that didn’t feel like a vacation when it was super stressful, anxiety provoking and my brain couldn’t stop spinning. What I learned was you can’t just take a one week vacation every three years. You can’t just take a one week vacation and hustle your butt off the entire rest of the year.
Maybe some of you have learned that lesson. If so, let me know. Find me on Instagram @TheLeveragedPractice. Find me on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you. Let me know how you do with this. Maybe you do really, really well with vacation and taking breaks and building it in and relaxing when it’s time to relax. Or maybe you’re like me and you’re still working on it. Or maybe you learned this lesson.
So that was the lesson I learned. I cannot work my butt off for three years, seven days a week, always thinking about work, always committed to it and then take a week off and relax. Oh my gosh, what a lesson. What I learned was what I need to do because that doesn’t work.
What I need to do is actually build in these times of break, these times of rest, these downtimes consistently on a daily but also weekly basis. I think my therapist helped me figure this out too, to be honest. I’m sure she had a part in this when she helped me debrief from my terrible vacation.
So I learned that I have to build it in on a daily basis and a weekly basis. It’s so funny because we’re all like, you’re probably like, “Well duh, like of course.” And it makes sense. But day to day sometimes we just get into this place where we’re so driven and we’re so ambitious and we just push ourselves. That’s my problem.
I push myself through the moments that I need a break or I need to pee or I need to go for a walk and I just push myself so hard. What productivity research and all kinds of research has shown is that outdoors, both outdoors and exercise, which are both fantastic ways to take a break, actually help our brain move, help our brain work, help get clarity, help new ideas come like scientifically.
This is so important for us to move our bodies and to take breaks, and to not overwork ourselves, to get enough for us, to get outside time. It actually helps us be more productive. It helps us have better ideas. It helps us break through a problem that we’re having.
So that is something that I have put into my day to day and my week to week now. I really started in 2019, I think. We went to the Bahamas in April of 2018, I had David in June of 2018 and then I was off with him for a few months. Then I got back into work at the end of 2018 and now we’re just finishing up 2019. So at some point this year with two kids, two companies and big dreams, I figured out that I needed to start taking more breaks and building them in because it wasn’t working, pushing so hard. I think I started in the summer by taking Fridays off.
So I want to share with you what I’ve done because maybe some of this will inspire you or maybe some of it will feel really good and that’s something that you want to do . Or maybe it’ll just kind of give you some ideas to sort through.
How I Changed My Work Schedule
So remember, we have to take breaks every day and every week on a consistent basis. So one of the things I do now in my schedule is that Mondays and Thursdays are admin time. So this is when I do marketing, this is when I have meetings, this is when I record podcast episodes. This is when I do all the things that you need to do in your business. I do planning and creation and all that kind of stuff.
So that’s Monday because I like to start into the week gently, and that’s Thursday because I’m real burned out by Thursday already, because Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my ‘people days’, I like to call them. If you are my people, I get to hang out with you on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So this is when I teach my group classes for The Leveraged Practice and any other group coaching programs I’m running.
Remember my business is exclusively group coaching and online. I do see a couple of clients, so I take a small number of one-to-one clients at a time, but I also provide some customized and targeted sessions within my group programs for my students and my clients.
So on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I teach my group classes. And I have a handful of clients that I get to meet with one-to-one and chat about and go deeper into the things they’re working on, like their marketing messages and their calendar planning and their program outlines and what they’re working on as well. Super fun. And I love doing it back to back to be honest.
So if you’re looking at your schedule and you’re saying, “Whoa, I have too much people time, I see people five days a week.” If you’re a woman, “I put makeup on five days a week, I wash my hair five days a week, it’s too much”. And so it’s tough being a woman. We got a lot of work to do.
Anyway, if that’s what you feel like, then you might want to do something like this where you put your people time together and then your marketing, your admin, your content creation, all that kind of stuff on other days. I don’t over work myself on those days. It’s not like I work 10 hours with clients.
Again, I run group programs so I might be teaching for 90 minutes on each day at the most and then have a couple of clients, maybe two or three clients at the most. So it’s small but it’s people time and it’s fun and I love it. I love doing it back to back because I get right into it. I get to hang out with my people and then on Thursday I take a break and I do my admin, and Friday I take off.
That’s new and very hard. Here’s the thing about Friday, I don’t necessarily take it off, like it’s not my day off. Friday is my day to do whatever I need. What does my body need? What does my mind need? What does my business need? What does my heart need? Friday is my open day where I don’t have plans, I don’t have expectations for myself, I just do whatever.
Today for example, actually I’m recording this on a Friday. So today I had a client this morning. I had to move her from earlier in the week and I was happy to see her at 9:00 AM this morning. Then I am recording this podcast episode because I need to get it done for you for next week. Oh my goodness. And then I’m going to go to a therapy appointment. Then I’m going to go to the bookstore and I might get a new notebook. Oh my gosh. I don’t know if I need one, but you know what I mean? I need to get some wrapping paper for Christmas.
So that’s my day today and how my Fridays look like that. Sometimes they’re an entire day of nothing. Like I go to the gym, I go to a yoga class or I go for a swim or I go meet a friend for lunch. Or I do an hour or two of work, but it’s light work. Maybe it’s reading or research or brainstorming. Its simple, simple stuff. Or I record a podcast episode if I’m behind.
But my Friday is this open Friday. Usually there’s no clients, usually there’s no people, but once in a while I might need to slip someone in there. But it’s this like day of freedom, day of gentleness, day of quitting work early, day of, I don’t know, just feeding the body and feeding the soul.
Now I am someone who has two small kids and so for me the weekends are a hilarious joke. They are not relaxing. Where are the mamas out there, who knows what I’m talking about? So for some of you, if you don’t have babies yet or if your babies are older, I don’t know what older babies are like, but you might be able to take some downtime on the weekends. Maybe you want to work five days a week straight nine to five and then you have time in the evenings or you have time on the weekends to like hang out and relax and feed the soul. And that’s cool. Whatever works for you.
I just want to share with you what I do because Saturdays and Sundays are really for my babies. And so it’s chaos. It’s fun chaos. We do swimming lessons, we might go skating, we might see grandpa and grandma. We might I don’t know, do what families do. So we just hang out and I don’t want to have a lot of pressure on those days to do a bunch of stuff. So we just do whatever. So those days are a little bit of downtime but mostly the family time, which is wild with kids under five.
So the other thing I do is this exercise thing, which I have never really been good at fitting in exercise because I don’t really like a lot of things. Well for everyone, we love something. So I’m a swimmer. I actually grew up competitively swimming and playing competitive water polo. It’s easy to fall out of routine for swimming because you have to drive to a pool and put a bathing suit on and go to a lane, swim and then wash your hair. It’s a lot of work. It’s not like just going for a run.
So I really fell out of swimming for quite a few years there. Recently I’ve been swimming every week, Mondays and Thursdays. So those admin days when I don’t usually see people, I go for a swim in the morning as soon as my nanny gets here and I can get out of the house. So it’s not super early. I usually get there and I swim and I shower. Then I get into my day, usually around 10:30 or so. It’s a late start on those days. But I do get that swim in and it happens most of the time. Once in a while I don’t get into it, but most of the time I get to do that swim on Monday and Thursday, and that feels so, so, so good.
It’s winter here and so it’s freezing and I don’t get outside that much. But in the summer I was riding my bike. So on other days I’d hop on my bike and do a 20, 30, 40-minute bike ride, which was awesome. So easy to hop on my bike, go for a bike ride and come home. Now it’s too cold, so will do it in the spring.
So for me, those are all the things that I’ve done. I’ve played with my schedule, I’ve lightened up the work load. I’ve dedicated a couple of days to people days, putting makeup on, getting my hair ready, going online, like those kinds of things and a couple of days to admin days.That’s really helped. Friday is a loose day where I take a break. I’m adding in that exercise piece.
Taking Consistent Work Breaks
The other part that I am still working very hard on that’s challenging for me is taking breaks through the day. So just taking like a five 10, 15-minute break to not consume content. Even when I take a break, I want to listen to a podcast episode or I feel like I should be doing something. So that’s still very, very hard for me.
So that’s my last challenge to get through is on a daily basis, taking that 15 minutes to meditate or to have quiet time or whatever. I work from home and I have a one and a half year old. So at the end of the day when I want to meditate, I always hear screaming upstairs. This is very hard to do, but I’m working on it. That’s my last piece that I’m working on.
I wanted to share with you my story and let you know that you’re not alone. If you feel like you’re filling every minute with stuff, if you feel, the word’s not lazy, but if you feel like you should be doing something if you have an empty five minutes, you’re not alone there. We can’t just go off to The Bahamas and think we’re going to relax for a week. Turns out that doesn’t work that way. You have to build it in on a daily basis, on a weekly basis to rest, to relax, to have downtime, build it in.
So I hope that my story about The Bahamas and my new schedule, which I’m very committed to, really inspired you to do something. I would love to hear what your goals are, moving into 2020 for this, for not overworking, for taking care of yourself, your mind, your soul, your heart, your body.
What are you doing now that you’re going to continue to do or is there anything from this podcast episode that really spoke to you? You can find me on Instagram @TheLeveragedPractice and you can send me a DM there or I will also post the podcast episode, so you can comment in there. I would love to hear what you’re working on.
4 Things I’m Doing Different In My Days
I have a couple of action steps for you, a couple of suggestions here before we go. Action step number one, fit in the quiet time, a minimum of five minutes. You can start with five minutes. You just sit on the couch, you sit on a meditation cushion, you just close your eyes and you just have quiet time. You don’t have to be meditating or doing yoga, but you can. You can do those things. Just quiet, quiet time. Okay, work on this with me. Keep me accountable. I am working on this one. This is the hardest one for me.
Number two, find a routine that works for you. So I have all the babies, I have a tight timeline so it’s hard for me to go to the gym. I can’t go to the gym at six o’clock in the morning and I can’t go at noon either. It just doesn’t work for me. My routine is those Mondays and Thursdays I go for a swim. I leave at eight o’clock, I start my day late. Find a routine that works for you when it comes to taking breaks, fitting in exercise, activity, lunch with friends, whatever it is, but find a routine that works for you and your schedule. For me, for years I couldn’t because I had this cookie cutter way I had to fit it in. Now that’s what we do.
The third thing is choose things you like. Remember I always struggle with exercise and can’t find a lot of things I like. Love riding my bike in the spring, summer, fall. Love it so much, feels so good to my body, and swimming is what my body feels good in. I’m not a runner, I know many of you are, you wonderful beings. For me, my body does not like the ground, it likes the water. Choose things that you like to fit in. Choose that class that you like or that exercise that you like, fit it into your schedule, into your routine, but choose those things you like.
Number four. This is a good one. We haven’t talked about it yet. Read non business books, non work related books, non entrepreneurial books. Are you with me on this one? Everything on my shelf is entrepreneurial. If I have time to read, I want to read how to make more money, make more sales, help more people, improve my marketing. What kind of funnel do I need? How do I grow my team? How do I delegate? How do I be a good boss? All those kinds of things. I have a lot of books to read on those topics. But when we fill every moment with work-related ideas and podcasts and books, Oh man, we’re burning out.
So choose a non-work-related book to read. Maybe it’s at night before you go to bed, maybe it’s at 4:30 before you end your day. I am currently reading Ali Wong’s book, Dear Girls, they’re letters to her daughters. It is so funny. I am laughing out loud when I read it. We all need a good laugh and I have not read a non entrepreneurial book in a long time.
So that is something that I’m doing that I am digging and I love it so much that I might even just send all my new clients, instead of a business planner or a goal setting notebook, like just to Ali Wong’s book. Take a break, it’s my new policy. So Dear Girls by Ali Wong or a non-work-related book, something to make you laugh, take a little break and set your goals so they’re achievable, right?
I know that, I mean I’m a dietitian, right? I know we need to exercise like every day. I know we need to move our bodies every day. I know it should be like three times a week. Like I think that’s what I used to advise my clients when I used to have clients and advise them on exercise. That just doesn’t work for me right now with all these tiny humans running around. So choose achievable goals.
For me, Monday and Thursday, two days a week, going for a swim is what works for me right now and I have let go of feeling bad and feeling guilty about not moving my body more than that. And it’s winter. Come on guys, we’ll move more in the summer. Okay, I got to hibernate a little bit.
Also, Oh my gosh Fridays, sometimes I need to work a little bit. Today I’m doing a couple hours of work. Set achievable goals for your days off, for your time that you need to relax and rest and remove all the guilt from it.
Like I said, Friday is my open day. It might be a little bit of work. It’s never going to be like eight hours of work, but it might be a call or a podcast episode. I don’t feel bad about that because is my open day, but mostly it’s me time.
So set goals that make sense to you that are achievable for you, that meet your routine, that work for you like that’s the thing. I feel like this is very nontraditional and weird. The way that I’m planning out my schedule and my days and how I’m setting these goals and moving my body.
So I hope that this really helped and I hope that this gives you a new perspective on how you can rest. That you don’t end up booking a vacation next year and it’s the only time you take off and you don’t hustle every minute of the day till you get there, and then ruin it like I did with anxiety and spinning and business thoughts the entire time you’re on vacation.
I hope that you can relax on your vacations, but I also hope you can relax and rest and take care every single day and every single week, even if it’s for just five minutes or 15 minutes or an hour. So that you can continue to be driven and ambitious and work hard on making your dreams real and making your business grow and reaching more people and making more money and having this kind of life that you want. Okey-dokey?
All right. I really hope that you like this, and I’m so glad that you joined me here. It is December 26 when this comes out, so it’s Boxing Day here in Canada. I don’t know if it’s Boxing Day in other places. We all have different holidays, so people might be shopping today, maybe you’re listening on your drive to the mall at 7:00 AM when it opens, or maybe you’re in a different country and I love you there too. Oh, maybe you’re in somewhere warm like South Africa, Australia…so jealous.
Thank you for listening during this holiday season. Please reach out to me, I’d love to see you, hear you and know if this helped and know what you’re going to do about all of this, if you come and find me on Instagram or on Facebook.
And you know what? I hope you have a fantastic holiday. I hope you’re excited about the new year. I’m here to help you along the way and I’ll see you back here next time.