Zero down time? Don't Worry!
Posted by Nicola Elliott
We asked NEOM Psychologist, Suzy Reading to give us the lowdown on how simply staying in, can be the only recharge tool you’ll need….
Hands up, who is always busy? ‘Manic’ right? We’re betting you asked 3 friends “how was your week”? You’d get a resounding “hectic”, “flat out”, OR “I’m KNACKERED!” So, we got to thinking. What’s with the zero downtime? Can staying in really be a mindfulness sesh? AND if so, how on earth can we master the art of Not. Doing. Anything... (i.e catching up on work, sorting the socks, online bill paying)….the struggle is real! We asked Suzy.
Q A night in. Can it really be as powerful as a full session of mindfulness? How can we make sure when we take a night in – we have a night off?!
A The key? It needs to be mindfully spent with nourishing activities. Think small to begin with….20 minutes with a book before a bath anyone? On autopilot, brain fade, engaging in unhealthy/sleep defeating behaviours (stop that before-lights-out social scrolling), no… it’s all in the choice. Just like happiness, you can choose! (Stop sorting those socks!).
Q The NEOM mantra Wellbeing: Small Steps Big Difference. Your top tips (we can do when we’re being ‘boring’ on a night in)?
A 1. - Give yourself permission to have a true break. Yes it can be that simple. There’s no point putting your feet up if you’re still ruminating on the ‘to do’ list. Use the mantra, ‘I give myself permission to rest’. Use this to genuinely carve out some peace from doing, effort, worry and striving. Every time that niggle pops up, say to yourself ‘it’s not time for that now’. If it’s genuinely important, write it down and let it wait for you. You’ll be more productive after you’ve recharged yourself.
2. - Choose activities that you find genuinely nurturing – read a book that you find uplifting or watch a movie or TV show that fills you up (gets you smiling and laughing perhaps?). Too often we fritter away our down time with things that just ‘fill time’ or worse, further deplete a frazzled nervous system. For example, if you’re having trouble relaxing don’t watch Breaking Bad!
3. - Get skilled in the art of ‘being’. If you’ve tried mindfulness – the ‘simple’ act of focusing on the present moment – only to discover it didn’t quite live up to its ‘simple’ name, don’t be disheartened. It can really be as simple are taking a meditative bath and feeling the cleansing property of the water, lighting a candle and immersing yourself in the scent. Get down on the floor and try some restorative yoga for a few minutes – nothing fancy needed, child’s pose (google image this if you don’t know this one) will do, or just sit and focus on your breathing for a few minutes – this is a simple meditation practice we can all do. Read up on the NEOM 7/11 breathing technique – it’s a whizz for this sort of stuff.
Q Your favourite family night in activity? Why does this make you and your family feel good?
A We put the mobile phones in another room, snuggle on the sofa and watch something ‘feel good’. We love this time of year with the family friendly joy of Strictly Come Dancing. George of the Jungle is another firm favourite. Or we dig out ‘Bird Bingo’ – even my three year old enjoys joining in. It’s about sharing time and being present to the pleasure of being together.
Q Zero downtime? What’s your simple and easy piece of advice to someone when they tell you they don’t have TIME?
A I say, there is ALWAYS time. What is more important than your health and wellbeing! Even for the most time pressured, there is a way to invest in yourself. Some of the best self-care skills and activities take NO extra time (yep, really). Breathing for one – you are doing it anyway, just smooth it out and notice when you breathe better, you feel better. Fine tune your ability to appreciate and express gratitude. Learn to extend kindness and compassion towards yourself. All these things are fabulous mood alchemists and they don’t take any extra time, just awareness and bit of acknowledgement.
Q Your night in? How do you Suzy, the mum have your night to reboot? NEOM products which work for you AND your family?
A Wow. What a joy to answer. Soooo, just for me, I would be to curl up on the sofa, draped in my favourite throw, wearing my favourite jammies, NEOM Tranquillity candle burning brightly. I’d devour my favourite magazine – something mind expanding and inspiring like Psychologies or Red. I’d ease out any aches in my body with some simple floor based yoga and enjoy a quiet sit using mudra (hand gesture) to anchor my mind and maybe an ‘I am…’ mantra using whatever quality I want to create. I’d seal the day with my NEOM Scent to De-Stress Hand Balm, spritz the Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist and sink into bed reflecting on all the mini accomplishments achieved throughout the day… My whole family love the candles to help us all feel calm and nourished, room sprays to switch the mood in an instant and the pillow spray gives collective good sleep and peaceful bedtimes…. Gold dust!
For more inspiration on practical self-care tips and tools for you and all the family, check out Suzy’s first book, The Self-Care Revolution. It’s due out Dec 28th and is available for pre-order here.
Join Suzy’s Wellbeing Community at: Instagram: www.instagram.com/suzyreading/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/SuzyReading Facebook: www.facebook.com/SuzyReadingPsychologyAndYoga/