Jan 23, 2012
Champers in hand, glass raised to the sky (or, to the fireworks on the telly, as it turned out), I made many a resolution this New Year’s Eve. I’d stop buying coffee every morning, get into shape and cut out all naughty food for at least the first month of 2012. And, most importantly, I’d learn to relax. Like, really, relax.
Planning my post-Christmas time-off work was easy enough – I’d take up jogging, get into a really good book and spend plenty of time lazing about in my pj’s all day. Just what I’d need after the hectic festive season spent partying with friends and hopping from one family engagement to the next.
Did any of those things happen? No. Instead, I spent the break frantically trying to fill my time with things to do – be it checking out the sales, trying out a new restaurant or rushing that essay I’d left to the last minute. Sure, shopping and eating are two of my favourite pastimes; activities that guarantee happiness. But by the time I started back work, I already felt tired and drained yet again. I’d hardly spent any time actually relaxing over the holidays – not even a single duvet day!
The ‘New Year, New Me’ attitude with which I started the year soon faded into the background amid work and uni commitments. Whether I’m cramming to reach the latest essay deadline, squeezing in meet-ups with friends in the evenings or taking advantage of the late opening hours on Thursdays to stock up on new season must haves, I’m not spending nearly as much time just relaxing as I hoped I would be.
And by ‘relaxing,’ I don’t mean taking your studying to bed, or drinking half a bottle of rose as you catch up on yesterday’s paperwork. I mean forgetting, for at least an hour every evening, that any of that exists – totally and completely letting go of any commitments and giving yourself some good quality me-time. Whether it’s a long bath with candles and bath salts, watching trash TV cuddled on the sofa with your boyfriend, reading a book or magazine or going for an invigorating swim – however you spend your me-time, make sure you totally disconnect from the world of work and stress.
Being a young woman, aspiring to achieve great success in her studies and career, brings with it a whole lot of pressure. But the sooner we realise that we can’t – and shouldn’t – always be on top of everything, the sooner we’ll learn to really, properly relax. Accepting that it’s ok not to check and reply to your emails the second they come in, or skipping that Sunday morning jog if you absolutely cannot be bothered, is the first step towards fulfilling your wellbeing, and, eventually, your potential.
So next time you’re tempted to jump out of the bath early to check your Blackberry, or cut short a Come Dine With Me marathon to squeeze in some studies, remember: well deserved me-time is just as important as hard work is when it comes to hitting that grade or meeting those deadlines. So take time out, take care of yourself, and when it comes down to it, Relax: Just Do It!