Stop Feeling Guilty for Relaxing

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A few years back I was working with my health coach Paige and was pretty deep in the self-development churn.

My husband was heading away on a business trip to sunnier climes so I joined him and mostly had the days to myself while he was at the office.

Paige emailed me between sessions to see how I was doing.

I had grand plans to relax on this holiday and my first day was blissful - a long walk, spa, a cold beer with lunch on the beach, reading all afternoon, but by the second day I was struggling … I told her I’d already powered through the goals we’d set at my last session and was itching for more to do.

She then asked me a question that has really stuck with me since - “Do you plan to spend a significant amount of your life resting?”

Um, yes, was my response.

Yet here I was on day two of my holiday sitting with uncomfortable feelings like boredom, guilt and restlessness.

Does this sound familiar to you? If so, here’s how to combat your phobia of relaxing:

Schedule relaxation time

A good type A personality trick right?

I found, for example, when I had ‘nothing’ to do on a weekend day, I felt quite guilty for lounging around. I think this was because none of it was very intentional and I hadn’t actually committed to my plan to do nothing - it was just happening by default.

So now, if I want to make plans, I do - brunch, walks with friends, shopping, all still fall into relaxation for me. Or, if I have a few errands and chores to do, I schedule them for the morning, then schedule in an afternoon of reading my book, watching Netflix or scrolling social media with no issues.

It feels better for me to relax after having been productive, or to relax with other people rather than alone.

Sit with the uncomfortable feelings

As I mentioned, I do struggle with the feeling of boredom or, more specifically, not being sure what I feel like doing.

We run around so much in our lives - working hard, running to appointments, keeping our houses in order - and when we do feel any boredom a device is there to distract us immediately.

Sitting with hard feelings is something Brooke Castillo taught me and it’s really about realising there’s nothing to fear in any emotion.

Boredom to me might feel a bit icky and might make me a bit restless but I can handle that.

Given everything else I have going on, the feeling of boredom is a good thing to come up for me once in a while and after I’ve accepted that I can move on to the things I think I never have time for.

We’re not living life on a points system

I absolutely love this concept (thanks Amy Young).

I’ve talked about it here on the blog before, but if we’re lucky enough, we’re always going to have a to do list, a bucket list and a bunch of cupboards that never stay cleaner longer than a week.

So when I have nothing to do, I can easily create something to do - but who is watching and who is going to pat me on the back for ticking these things off?

Life is much more interesting when lived with pleasure and enjoyment and compassion for ourselves, not when we’re churning through a to do list or adding to that list for the very sake of it.

I do plan to spend much of my life relaxing, and I’m ok with that. How about you?

August Recap and September Intentions

I don’t like to wish time away but I have to say I’m pretty happy that winter has flown by this year - September sees more sunshine during the day, evenings staying lighter and just a general feeling that a fog has lifted.

Looking back over my August calendar, I had some fun nights out with friends, but also had a pretty low-key month day to day… which actually suited me fine.

Between my full-time job, coaching, and keeping up with my intentions, I was happy for the downtime.

Good news though - I now have two free coaching spots in September so if you’re interested in three months of focused work towards your goals, jump over here and set up a complimentary 30 minute call with me. I can’t wait to chat with you!

So how did I go with my intentions?

August Recap

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Stay healthy at work

I think I have found a gap in the app market - I could not find one app that fulfilled my needs for August!

As I mentioned last month, I wanted some pretty simple reminders around focusing on my health at work - standing up more, drinking water, not getting distracted by my chat tools… kinda basic stuff that we could all use yes?

In my search, I found apps that suggested embarrassing exercises to do at my desk, apps with annoying buzzers as reminders, and nothing that had all the basic office hygiene stuff I wanted.

I settled on Momentum, a habit tracker that worked ok … but I ended up ditching it about a week in.

In general, I definitely stood up more during office hours and even broached one of the standing desks at my work. But maybe it’s time for me to take care of the office health app market…

Would that be something you readers would use?

Complete an early spring clean

I did pretty well on this one - decluttering a scary wardrobe of my house, and even attacking the area under my bed that had been gathering random magazines, online shopping packaging and cat toys for the last three years.

It’s all about mindset when we go into these less than fun tasks.

I can’t stress enough how much easier it is if you’re in alignment - rather than trudging in disgruntled, I would plug a podcast in, get in some comfy clothes, set up a system for keeping/donating/throwing away and work methodically through everything.

I hope this approach helps if you’re planning a spring clean soon too.

September Intentions

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Start regular Pilates practice

I’m pretty consistent with my exercise and have been for many years, but lately the gym has not been doing it for me - I’ve been doing some of the same routines for a while and feel like I’m ready for a change.

After dabbling in Pilates over the last few months and feeling both strong and stretched out after each class, I’m ready to be more consistent here.

I’ve bought a monthly pass to a studio and can book classes ahead of time (good for accountability!), so I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to keep up with this one in September.

Tackle life admin

Even writing that intention, my mind makes an enormous ‘blergghhhhhhhhh’ sound.

I have my tax return and some fun government applications to do in September and yeah, you can understand why that sound comes to mind.

Luckily I have Brooke Castillo and the Self Coaching Scholars course I’m doing to help me get over the protests from my brain.

Brooke suggests writing a list of what needs doing, allocating time against each one, then getting them into your calendar.

Here’s the clincher… you should also expect your brain to try and talk you out of the task when the appointment rolls around in your calendar.

I’m going to lock the time in, get in alignment before I start, and just get these things off my to do list and out of my brain.

Happy September readers! A reminder that I have two coaching spots available if you want to get in touch and find out if coaching is right for you.

Why There's No Such Thing As A 'Right' Decision

Do you remember that Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors?

I may be stuck in the ‘90s but I tend to still use it as a reference in my life - ‘This is like Sliding Doors’, I’ll say when a friend is making a decision or when I’m confused about which option to choose.

For those who don’t remember it, the premise of the movie is a ‘what if’ scenario. In one reality Gwyneth Paltrow’s character jumps on a train home, finding her husband cheating on her and in the other she misses the train and is none the wiser.

Now the outcome of the movie is (spoiler alert) that things end up the same anyway, which isn’t necessarily my belief, but I’ve been thinking a lot recently about making ‘right’ decisions, doing things at the ‘right’ time and living life ‘right’ in general.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a Libra but I’m fairly indecisive and love to overthink my way around every decision I make (and even made, past tense, sometimes). I really don’t enjoy this about my brain but I’m consciously aware of it and am working on not dwelling on each and every decision quite so much. Here’s what I’ve realised:

There is no right decision

This has sunk in for me this year and has kind of blown my mind. I was pretty certain for a lot of years that you could make right or wrong decisions but now, bar doing something really horrible in my life, I’ve realised that there is no such thing as a right or wrong decision - just a decision in itself.

How would I know what was right or wrong anyway?

I can’t do a Gwyneth Paltrow and live both realities in parallel so I just have to back myself and know each decision will lead where it’s going to lead.

As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I really enjoy my job. Although I also enjoyed my last job and particularly loved the people I worked with, I knew it was time for a change of industry, and felt some guilt about only staying in my last job for around 18 months. The job before that (are you following?) I’d been at for five years and I initially felt it had been a waste to move to a new one, only to move on again so quickly.

Except, if I hadn’t moved to my last job, I may never have heard about my current company and be where I am now. So rather than obsess over making that wrong decision between jobs, I can see it as the right decision quite easily. Which leads me to...

You can find good or bad in any decision if you look for it

Our brains have been trained to obsess about major decisions that need to be made, and who hasn’t heard of the good old pros and cons list?

If those lists help you, I’m all for it, but it’s also proof that you can find good and bad in any decision. It’s what you focus on that matters.

Last decade (gulp) I moved to London and, for certain reasons, had to leave my boyfriend back in Australia to do so. I could have obsessed about what leaving him meant for our relationship and where that would leave us in the long run, and, although it was difficult, I did my best to focus on what I wanted to experience in London and where I wanted to travel in Europe.

Looking back now, I would have missed so much if I’d only focused on the negative side of my decision to live there and am so grateful I was able to do it from a place of backing my own decision.

Indecisiveness stops you from making your next decision

Whether you’ve recently made a decision or are coming up to making one, spending your time in a place of worry or regret is not fun, and also not particularly useful.

What worry and regret do is keep us stuck in the past or obsessing over a current decision and, if we’re stuck, we are stopping ourselves from moving forward with new decisions.

I relaunched my website in May, and I spent a lot of time at the start of the year worrying about how I’d pull it off - I tossed and turned over whether I should have hired a designer and web developer to completely redo it, or whether working on it myself was ok for now.

After launching on 1 May, I was so happy to have the new website out there and have now been able to move on with other decisions and parts of my business - working with coaching clients, being featured in interviews on other websites and, I know in the future, I will probably relaunch again when I feel the time is right.

Are you making any tough decisions at the moment? Or are you spinning out over a decision you’ve already made? Book in a 30 minute complimentary chat with me so we can talk through it.