The Importance of Rest
I often get called a workaholic by friends and family who consider answering emails on the go to be 'working over-time', but also, I've never had a burn out and ended up sleeping for 2 days straight because I've been so exhausted, either. So, in my mind, I've found my happy medium with achieving a work-life balance
All jokes aside, no matter how busy we are, I know one thing; I simply do not function properly if I've not had enough sleep. I like around 7 hours, but this varies between 5-8 for most people (you're a bare-faced liar/substance abuser if you tell me you can survive perfectly well on 2 a night) Even around our busiest periods when we're leaving the office in the wee small hours, I make sure I get enough kip.
My favourite methods for switching off are:
- Reading a novel will usually have my eyes feeling heavy after a few pages; as I grew up reading before bed from a very young age I think this is just drilled into me!
- Failing that, if my brain is really struggling to switch off, low music/radio/TV in the background usually gives me something else to focus on other than the million and one thoughts we can be disturbed with late at night. Controversial, but it works for me!
- Similarly, keeping a pen and paper by my bed allows for any flashes of late night inspiration to be recorded and let go of, lest they keep me awake worrying I won't remember them. If anyone knows when they're going to invent the Pensieve for real, I'll take one of those, too.
- Keeping electronics in the next room; this is a relatively new inclusion to my methods but seems to be working so far. Yes, I love nothing more than spending an hour in bed browsing Pinterest to switch off but sleeping with my phone by my pillow, especially when stressed, was causing me to wake up and answer emails/check twitter in the middle of the night which is quite frankly, fucking ridiculous.
- Not using an alarm. The beauty of being a small business owner is that, largely, you can hit your desk of a morning whatever time you please. This doesn't really work for me if we're super snowed under and stressed, but on a day-to-day basis, I don't set an alarm to get up of a morning, and rise around 730 every day without a hitch, even earlier in the summer months. If the thought of this terrifies you, why not download an app like Sleep Cycle - you set the rough time you want to wake up and the app will track your sleeping pattern to ensure it wakes you during the lightest part of your cycle around that time. Yes, it means your phone will be by your bed, but putting it on Aeroplane mode every night will do the same trick as putting it in another room, I'm sure.
Rest, for me, also means mental rest: for example, after 3 solid months of being pure manufacturers over the Christmas period, the thought of designing, sourcing and making a whole new spring line in January pretty much sent me over the edge. So, last month was all about taking some time for ourselves; to get through that pile of household chores that’d been sitting in the hallway since October, to ferociously devour 4 seasons of Breaking Bad in a fortnight, of having weekends to read the papers in bed and not get up before noon.