As a blogger/influencer, I never switch off. Even on holiday I’m constantly thinking about what Instagram picture I’m going to share at what time, what blog posts are scheduled and shared, whether my emails are responded to in a timely manner. The line between work and play is most definitely blurred.
At my old job I used to set an OOO (Out Of Office) and not check my emails while I was away (more than once or twice!) however I’d never considered setting an OOO on my blog email until I received one from my friend Sophie.
I feel like I’m ‘ON’ all the time.
New research from Bupa shows that only 5% of us actually pause and take time out during the day to rest due to work commitments, social pressures and the rise of technology.
Right now this over-commitment is making me feel completely overwhelmed. Between studying for my dietetics exams, four coursework deadlines in the next four weeks, planning a wedding (and trying to please everyone and feeling like I’m pleasing no-one), nannying, blogging and freelancing…oh and training for two marathons – I have zero downtime.
You might have noticed my Instagram post yesterday was a little different… I’ve teamed up with Bupa to take time out of my busy schedule to encourage both me and YOU to embrace those critical moments of rest after a busy day or marathon training cycle!
It’s important for your mind and body to recover properly, to repair if you’re ill or injured (this can be anything from a muscle niggle to exhaustion), and help you get back to doing what you love.
I partnered with Bupa to take some time out after the Boston and London Marathons to relax and reset (and start revising for my summer exams). It’s really important as part of your general health to look after your nervous system and lower your stress levels through regular relaxation, sleep and techniques such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness.
It can also be really helpful to speak to a GP if you’re suffering either emotionally or physically – it took me ages until I saw my doctor about my anxiety only to discover that a side effect of the medication I was on was making it worse. She recommended a different treatment alongside mindfulness techniques. Bupa has a range of services including GP appointments and physio consultations as part of a pay as you go service – so you don’t need health insurance or to take out a contract with them to benefit. Ideal if you’ve picked up a marathon niggle.
Personally, going offline yesterday helped me prioritise my uni work without the distractions of social media (I have 6 deadlines within 6 weeks, including 2 exams!). I went to a gym class with a friend and had dinner in town with friends (didn’t look at my phone once during our catch up). I also put the time aside for a bit of a trainer clear out which was really cathartic – and should earn me some brownie points with Tom for tidying!
Whether you need to prioritise your rest days when you’re training, switch off your phone an hour before bed, or spend the time planning a holiday with friends or family (and putting an out of office on!). In fact, we’ve just organised a trip to the South of France with friends and our B&B doesn’t have wifi – a few months ago I would have freaked out about this. However, I’m actually excited to totally switch off social media, emails etc for the week and really enjoy the time with friends on a digital detox.
Did you know that research shows that we Brits spend 11.5 hours a day working, including on our commutes to and from home (totally guilty of this), 52 mins a day checking emails and 53 mins a day on social media. There are actually apps you can download to see how often you unlock your phone per day, I guarantee it will highlight how often you mindlessly scroll through Instagram or Facebook without looking for anything in particular.
It’s funny, when I see my friends and peers, we talk about how busy we are almost as a badge of honour. I’m praised for fitting it all in – for the 5am runs, for managing to balance everything. Whereas when I see my Grandparents or Mum, they talk about how I need to slow down, and stop saying yes to things. For our generation it seems to be normal to do everything, we feel like we’re failing if we don’t have a great job, work out, have hobbies and time for a social life. I’ve been like this since school where I wanted to stay busy all the time to stop myself getting bored and homesick at boarding school.
But it’s OK not to do everything. To say NO (politely). To put our physical and mental wellbeing first.
I’ve spoken before about how being on social media can exacerbate my anxiety, and the feeling like everyone is having more fun than me. After posting about it on Instagram (the irony of this is not lost on me) my old boss Karen commented saying ‘Likes will never make you happy, dear Charlie. Social media is fabulous for encouragement and inspiration (if you follow the right people!) but ‘likes’ will never give fulfilment. Only human contact, looking into someone’s eyes and face to face discussions, encouragement (and smiles) can ever do that. That’s my wise-old-bird thought for the day ☺️ x’
So from one social media addict to another (?!) let’s remember to step away from our devices and enjoy human interaction, even if it’s just time spent alone.
Go for a walk with your partner, head out for a run without any tech devices (even if you don’t share it online, the run still happened!), curl up with a good book or watch a favourite film with a cup of tea.
Bupa looks at health and wellbeing wholly and believes that small acts like taking time out is vital for recovery and our ongoing general wellbeing. It is also an opportunity to get help for any physical aches and pains, or chat about anything you’re concerned about (like the new mole I’ve discovered on my back!) For more information on Bupa pay as you go, visit www.bupa.co.uk/_payg
This collaboration couldn’t have come at a better time, after 2 marathons last week and with deadlines looming, it’s prompted me to start saying no, clearing my diary over the summer to give myself a proper break and prioritising the things that really matter; my health, my relationships and my studies. I love this blog and want to make it full of interesting, engaging content…but that also means sharing my real struggles and acknowledging when I can’t do it ALL.
Thanks for reading, now turn your device off, make a cup of tea and RELAX xxxx