This weekend I took some much needed time off. No computers, no cell phones. Just beautiful weather, random road trips, and two handed euchre. Here’s why:
Last week, I wrote about graphic design being a “real” job, and how rewarding it can be. Well, just like any other job, it can be exhausting, and, to say the least, I was exhausted. Both mentally, and physically as a result. Working long hours and weekends had finally caught up with me, and I was ready for a break.
(I guess this is why we have weekends in the first place – to re-charge after the week.) But sometimes you get so caught up in projects or are so excited about an idea, that you are constantly thinking about it, even if you don’t realize you are. And just because you’re not physically in front of a computer, doesn’t mean your mind isn’t still ticking away on whether you chose the right font, or if that text should be kerned out a bit more.
It’s often incredibly difficult to turn your mind off and simply relax. But this weekend, that’s exactly what I needed. You can usually feel when you’re ready for a break, but sometimes you don’t notice how much you’re working and it just sneaks up on you. Then all of a sudden, you get sick or your body just shuts down.
When this happens to me, I know it’s time to take a day (or two) off, and with the beautiful weather we’ve been having, it was the perfect opportunity to get outside, go explore, and be re-inspired by the world around us.
Here are a few things that really help me find my motivation and re-charge my body and mind when I need it:
1 / TURN OFF THE COMPUTER
Even when I’m not working I find myself drawn to a screen of some sort. And unless it’s a tv screen and I’m watching a favourite movie, then I’m not relaxed. In order to take a break from working, you need to change your environment and get away from the computer screen all together.
2 / GO FOR A WALK
Fresh air will do wonders for your health. When you feel the weight of projects bearing down on you, and if it’s a nice day, take a quick walk. Even if your mind is still on work, this can be a good time to assess everything on your to-do list and set small attainable goals that will help break up the tasks.
3 / EXERCISE
Maybe a walk just isn’t enough, or perhaps it’s raining. Don’t let that stop you! Throw in a workout dvd, do yoga, go for a run or head to the gym. It will help to clear your mind and you’ll feel calmer once you do.
4 / TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
No matter what our job is, we often follow a certain routine throughout the day, which can get a bit mundane day in and day out. By changing something, and it can be as small as drinking tea instead of coffee (I’m sure some people would curse me for suggesting that), we are therefore breaking that routine and trying something new at the same time. Who knows, maybe you’ll like it.
5 / DE-CLUTTER
This can be a daunting task for some, but by putting it off you will only end up collecting more stuff. Everywhere. For me, I have a difficult time relaxing if I know there are things to be done, and physical clutter often represents a cluttered mind. So set it straight by tackling the small tasks that may never get done, bit by bit. Take an hour, half hour, or even just fifteen minutes a day to clean up and organize. Before you know it, that clutter will be gone and you’ll be breathing easier because of it.
6 / GET A PLANT
I’m not really the greatest when it comes to caring for plants, but I do like having them around. I’ve started buying fresh flowers once a week to bring some of the outdoors in, and I’m proud to say that our latest tropical tree is doing quite well!
7 / PEOPLE WATCH
One of the greatest ways to do research for anything is to people watch, and you might be surprised with what you learn. When do we ever have time to simply watch other people? Never. I find it fascinating to watch what people are doing, constantly wondering what they’re thinking about or where they’re going next. You might catch a glimpse of someone you think is perfect having a not-so-perfect day, or someone who might look angry performing a random act of kindness. It’s all these things that bring us back to realize that everyone is human and everyone has their own problems. Just because you feel overworked, tired or upset, doesn’t mean you’re the only one. It can be inspiring watching pieces of other peoples lives in action, and it can make you think about what’s really important.
8 / GO ON AN ADVENTURE
This one’s my personal favourite and is something I try to do often. As time permits, just go. Hop in your car and drive – anywhere. Sometimes you just need to “get away”, so, get away! I love the thrill of going somewhere new and exploring. Even if you’ve been there before, maybe you’ll see it in a new light. If you live in a city, drive to the country. If you live in the country, drive even more into the country. There is something about the feeling of escape that is so refreshing. No matter the scenery, just being away from the noise and congestion is necessary, and the silence that nature can provide puts everything into perspective. I’ve had some of my best ideas and life realizations when I’ve “gotten away”. Because sometimes, when we’re constantly surrounded by familiar things in our “routine”, we are blinded from what we really see on the inside. Getting away from everything gives your mind a chance to think. Not about whether to have milk or cream in your coffee, but about everything else – life, goals, aspirations, etc.
It’s in those moments where everything becomes crystal clear, and that’s all the inspiration you’ll ever need.
My husband and I took our own adventure this weekend, and we are lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most incredible land I’ve ever seen. We went from frozen lakes and people ice fishing, to coulees in the middle of nowhere and herds of antelope crossing the road. Here are some of the photos:
What do you do to stay inspired?