THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A WEEK OFF

Hello everybody! Welcome back to my blog. The purpose of this blog is to help people find their way to a healthier lifestyle. I mostly talk about exercise and its science, which is my area of expertise, but I also talk about nutrition, sleeping habits and many other subjects related to wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle. 

Last week I needed a break. I was writing about a pretty interesting subject, giving really good tips, but last week I did not apply any of those tips to myself. It felt fake to post about it.

For that reason, I decided to have a week off from working on my blog and to tell you this week about how important it is to step back sometimes and have some time for yourself.

A couple of weeks ago I shared a post about self-care and some of its benefits. Check it out!

When we train our body, we give it a stimuli that decreases or initial level of performance. With enough rest, our level of performance will not only go back to the previous state, but it will give us a compensation for the training. This is the point in which we improve our fitness. Resting, as you can see, is important for your body to recover its level of performance and go beyond.

Our mind is not very different. When we give it a stimulus (studying, working, fix problems) we increase fatigue in our brain, and it needs to rest to go back to the previous level of performance and beyond (knowledge acquirement, lessons learnt, experiences included). Sometimes a couple of hours to refresh are enough in both physical and psychological scenarios, but some other times a longer time is very welcome.

This is what basically happened to me last week. As I talked about in my post “Fitness mistakes #1: imitate Instagram gurus” everyone, even those people who claim to have a perfect life online, suffers from stress, anxiety, and other mental issues now and again. Check it out if you haven’t!

If you feel overwhelmed about everything you have to do, but there is no way you can have a week off, take a deep breath and step back. Use the ‘Urgent-Important Matrix’ to figure out the steps to take. Grab a piece of paper and pen, and draw two lines crossing each other or 4 boxes making one big square like the picture behind.

On the top left write “urgent”, on the top right “not urgent”, top left-side of the paper “important” and bottom left-side “not impotent”. Make a list of all the things you have to do that week.

Now, this is when it gets tricky. What is really urgent, not urgent, important, and not important? In the picture, it is just an example, but every person will have other thoughts about what is important and what is not. In my opinion, a meal plan is important, perhaps not urgent, so I would have scheduled it. When I did this last week, I realised that I just had two things that were important and urgent, so that became my priority, something I really needed to get done. I also realised that, for me, everything I do is important. And that was the biggest challenge. If it wasn’t important, why would I do it?

That’s why instead of writing: ‘not important’, I named that category: ‘less important’. It sounds too simple, but it did help me identify those things that, even though are important to me, are not as important as others. For example, in that category, I included: reading, studying physiology, and working on the post. All these items are items I have to do myself, so I cannot delegate. Still, I didn’t want to completely delete it from my list, so I called that category ‘do if I have time’.

Another challenge I found is to delegate to others. In my case, I enjoy taking and sharing responsibility. I put ‘clean house’ in that category because it’s something that both my husband and I can do together.

My biggest category was ‘not urgent-important’. Like I said before, it seems like everything I do is important, at least to me. Even when I decided to rename the category from ‘not important’ to ‘less important’, I still felt like some things are important enough. So I worked on my schedule with those items.

It took me a bit of time because it was the first time I used the ‘Urgent-Important Matrix’, but it was worth the time.

One last tip I would like to give you is to plan a proper week off every now and again. You will need to figure out your situation (work, studies, family, partner, personal issues) and plan a potential week in which you can relax, at least most of the time. Even though I can sound like a hustle (fix the pets, figure out your work schedule and your partner’s, if you have kids, future out what to do with them, etcetera) but it is so worth it when you are enjoying that time off.

That’s it for today! I really hope that you enjoyed it and you thought about treating yourself sometimes with a week off. If you like what I do and you want to support this project, follow me on Instagram and Facebook, like the post and comment! Thank you!

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