We’re currently in London with our family for a lovely, two week trip (check my IG page for more constant updates), and guess what? I am actually planning on taking a vacation! I’d be lying if I said I won’t use my laptop, because I am most definitely working on this trip, and in fact we are bringing all our gear since we plan to get some photography done. Despite all of that, I do plan to take another full day off where I maybe check in once or twice to ensure things aren’t burning down, and to actually just enjoy the city. We’ve been running the British Airways countdown calendar and I am SO looking forward to that 9 hour flight where I can’t do anything but eat, watch movies and sleep.

Hmm, if I’m looking forward to the sleep on the plane then I sound a little like someone who needs a vacay, right? This actually leads directly back to a topic that has been on my mind for a while now, ever since I took a real day OFF of work. The topic of slowing down, practicing savasana, and practicing real self-care.

For our anniversary weekend, I took a real life day OFF of work. Like, wait, what? Yup. It had been months (I know, how sad) since I last did that and I spent the day getting a deep tissue massage, deep sea snorkelling, paddle boarding and kayaking. All while eating the best vegetarian hotel food available in Jamaica (Goldeneye, keep rocking on my friends.) I’m not the kind of person who takes the day off just to lie down, so this was the perfect version for me.

I think because I went SO hard, I came back home longing for another day off. This ended in a serious case of the Monday blues that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I love my career so much, and while that’s a great thing, it means it can be really hard to turn off. While I practice meditation and mindfulness, I never realised how badly I had needed that moment to slow down a bit. Since then, I’ve worked to take more real moments not only off of work, but unplugged and completely slowed down from the regular pace of life. I think it’s really important that you do too, by the way.

The various stages of unplugging

  • Excitement
  • Boredom
  • Fear – No, Utter Fear and Convincing yourself to retreat!
  • Slight calming down
  • Realising you’ve never seen this plant before and it’s always been there…hmm.
  • Wait…when did 5 hours pass? This has been fun!
  • Wow, I feel so…calm!
  • Oh gosh I want to unplug ALL the time!!

So what is slowing down?

I’ve been reading Erin Loecher’s Chasing Slow on and off for a while now, and every time I get back into it, it reminds that there is a beautiful world all around me waiting for me to keep exploring it while I have my head down and in my work all the time. It is 2017, and I know we spoke about this last time, but social media is slowly driving me insane. There is SO much going on all the time that you feel like if you don’t check in constantly, you’ll be missing out.

Unfortunately (and if it’s happening to you in your career too let me know) this has leaked over into my career. I feel like I HAVE to be plugged in and turned out all the time. I check my emails endlessly throughout the day, check my blog and social media comments, check in endlessly and it’s slowing creative a cycle of insanity that will only lead to a real time burnout.

As soon as I took that day off, I realised this. I NEED a structure, set office hours that I don’t often work out of, and time to just slow down and focus on the present and now outside of work. It’s hard when your life and work are so intertwined, but I’ve begun to find a balance that is working well for me. Does this happen to you too? Are you feeling that you need to endlessly be on, in or outside of work and you’re craving some time away from it all?

Easy ways to practice slowing down:

1. Actually reading an article from top to bottom, not just skimming it.

When was the last time you read a post THOROUGHLY? We’ve gotten so into the habit of skimming that there’s now a TL:DL (too long, didn’t read) section at the bottom of so many posts. Try to get back into that habit, and you’ll find that you’ll not only absorb it more, but it’ll bring you down a few notches too to a more calm place.

2. Eating a meal without your phone, laptop or Netflix.

I really mean it! Simply put, because of the time that went into growing those veggies, and creating that meal, your food and your soul deserve to enjoy it, right? The founder of Headspace put it best. Food has just become something to pass the time, so we never really taste it when we are doing it alongside other things. Take even one meal a day distraction free to just sit down, have a real life conversation and eat your meal.

3. Scheduling in “white space”.

I heard this from the wonderful ladies on the Being Boss podcast and I’ve started implementing it. Just like how you schedule work into your calendars, schedule in free time too. That way it is non-negiotable that you actually take it. That time away from work is so important. You can’t pour from an empty well, and as such if you’re so burnt out from working all the time, without putting in time to re-energise yourself and to refuel, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.

Do your morning routine BEFORE you go on your phone. If your phone is your alarm, set it across from you. That way you can’t just reach over and tune right into the noise immediately. Ugh! I hate when I do this – it’s like I never slept! I wake up every morning to dozens of Facebook, IG, and twitter comments as well as lots of WhatsApp and emails, so I am trying hard to get up, wash my face, do my exercise, meditate and THEN when my work hours begin, get into all that work related stuff. You deserve a morning without all that extra noise.

Repeat after me:

You are amazing (no really, say it out loud!)

AND You are strong AND

You are incredible for all the things you do

AND You are not a robot.

Savasana

There’s a running joke in the yogi world (oooh that sounded fun) that savasana is everyone’s favourite pose. But did you know that it’s also one of the hardest poses? It’s also known as the corpse pose, so essentially, you do nothing. No really, NOTHING.

When the Mr. and I used to do hot yoga, this was the move I craved after an intense workout. At the same time, we’ve been taught that doing nothing is basically a crime (time waits for no one! you’re wasting your precious time on earth! Etc etc etc!) so imagine sitting still for at least 15 minutes doing absolutely nothing!

This is what happened to me on my unplug day. It started off with me saying er, well this past two hours of just being in nature has been fun but WHAT IS GOING ON ON FACEBOOK?! What am I missing?? Followed by “what if someone is dying? How will they contact me? This isn’t safe. Unplugging is DANGEROUS.” Yup, I’m laughing at myself too!

Even if you don’t practice yoga, try to just set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes, to do nothing. No distractions, no phone, nothing. Just you, your bed/chair and the sound of the fan and a/c. Try to close your eyes and just focus on that. You’ve just experience only 15 minutes of unplugging and doing nothing. This is important to just clear the mind, reset the thoughts and re-energise the brain.

Do you take time to just unplug from it all?

Self Care

I am aware of how long this post is getting – I told you it was something I wanted to discuss! On that day off – that magical day, I learned what self-care really means. Sure, it means getting your nails done, or getting a massage etc, but on a less material level, it means taking care of you and your well being, aka your mental health. I have had a pretty terrible history with stress, so I know how important it is to keep myself in an alignment that doesn’t let too much stress enter my life.

Self-care means keeping yourself on that level and protecting YOU no matter what that means. If that means that you enforce strict hours to protect yourself, or you ensure that you carry a snack with you because your hangry levels lead to terrible headaches, or you say NO to that event, self care simply means doing things to take care of you and protect you. Think of how you love and protect your partner, or your child, or your pet. Apply that to yourself because you deserve it too! Self Care for me has meant, in just three daily steps:

  • Practicing yoga because it makes me feel stronger and confident
  • Practicing meditation because it helps to alleviate so much stress for me
  • Eating my meals on time to protect my gut and flora.

What does self care mean to you? If you don’t already, how are you going to incorporate it?

READS/LISTENING MATERIALS

Chasing Slow by Erin Loecher – this book is a must. Erin goes through her life as a top blogger, and how despite having it all – the pace at which her life was going was just too much and she didn’t feel the happiness she knew she wanted and deserved.

Being Boss Podcast – oh my gosh! I have totally done a marathon on this podcast!! Kathleen and Emily are two amazing entrepreneurs sharing tips for being an amazing boss in ways to benefit you, your business and your well being. It is SO inspirational!

The Lively Show Podcast by Jess Lively – I just started this podcast and Jess’ views on all things wellness and spirituality are just so awe-inspiring to listen to and relate to. Also, Jessica is an awesome name haha.

Currently on my reading lists and in my Kindle library, also thanks to amazing recommendations by you guys:

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Need I even explain? Dr. Brene Brown is an absolute genius and this book is all about courage, life, and love.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** by Mark Manson. Don’t mind the title of this book. It’s all about getting away from people pleasing, stop focusing on things that don’t deserve your energy and focusing on what matters the most to you.

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I have so many amazing things about this book!! It’s about address self doubts, and starting to focus on your amazing life!

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This book has been recommended to me over and over and over and OVER! I can’t wait to get into it.

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. This book also got recommended so many times to me, so I can’t wait to explore!

RECIPES

Welcome to the easiest recipe ever:

Easy Grilled Pineapples caramelises pineapples, making them sweeter and juicier with NO added sugar!! They are perfect as a side dish, in a salsa, as dessert or even in your smoothies! You need to try them if you haven't already! via https://jessicainthekitchen.com

Grilled Pineapples! I wanted to include this because it shows you just how simplicity, and slowing down yields such beautiful, divine results – while being absolutely delicious of course!

 

P.S. how are you going on your summer bucket list? Remember this is a NO pressure scenario. I don’t want to add just one more thing to your never ending wellness list! It’s just a way for you to channel more happiness into your life. It can be as simple as you love the way eating fruit makes you feel, so you have more fruit, to taking a walk one evening by the beach.

 

I would love to hear from you in the comments section! Happy Sunday!

 

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12 comments

  1. Ymail says:

    I want to say that you are looking absolutely gorgeous. I want really love your Blog.
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  2. Nadine says:

    I’ve been seeing so many posts about self-care recently that I know the Universe is tapping my shoulder yet again. Your relatable post is another gentle reminder that I need to have self-care at the top of my list. I need to move from doing to being.

    Thanks for the tips and recommendations. I recently finished listening to Season 1 of Liz Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast after reading your last Out of the Kitchen post. It has really made a difference in how I live and work creatively. I’m sure that I’m in for tons more inspiration based on your reading and listening suggestions.

    I’m so happy that you started this series. Thanks so much, Jessica! Safe travels, and continue to take excellent care of yourself.

    P.S. When I used to go to yoga classes, I always looked forward to savasana. 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Hey Nadine!!

      I’m so happy this post helped and that it was relatable to you!! Yes self care is so important to everyone, including us creatives who put so much work and time into our craft!

      Oh yay! I LOVED Magic Lessons and I hope she does another season! I’m so glad it made such a difference – it really did for me too. Thank you so much for your well wishes and wishing you a great end of summer!

      I still look forward to savasana every time haha!!

  3. Aggie says:

    I look forward to savasana too 🙂 I am always sad when teacher brings us out of it.
    Self care is big for me right now because I’m just bad at it and it’s caught up to me, again.
    Thanks for the book recs, I have some of the same on my list and I’m going to get Chasing Slow. Social media is definitely making me insane right now. I sometimes dream about what life would be like without it, I am really trying to practice boundaries with it big time right now!
    Great post 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Hey Aggie! Yay for savasana!! I feel like self-care is a constant process you know? I totally understand – sometimes it catches up to me too and I just start over, slower this times and in smaller easier ways to try and make it more constant. You’re so welcome and I hope the books help!! Social media – AGH! Definitely on my negative list too. I’ve been taken a bit of a break from it, especially Facebook, because it’s just too much!! Haha I totally get you re what life would be like with it. I figure I can get back into the full swing of it when Fall & Thanksgiving rolls around! Thanks so much for your comment Aggie!!

      <3

      jessica

  4. Pooja says:

    Jessica, first off, you are stunning. So pretty and glowing, the vacation sure seems to be making you extra happy 🙂
    As for this post…..oh my…where do I even begin. I am really really loving these out of the kitchen posts of yours, and it seems like every one of them is speaking directly to me. Or maybe it’s a testimony to the kind of identical, stressed lives we all live? I really struggle with taking time off too. I work from home and while it is great in many ways, it is very hard to truly take a day off because the boundaries are so fuzzy. Even when i try, I end up feeling guilty or stressed about all the pending tasks on my list. But lately I have been realising that taking time now and then is necessary for my mental sanity. I am going to print this article and read it again and again..and as part of “taking care of myself”, I am going to give myself the white space. Tomorrow, I am going to exercise, meditate and only then look at my phone.
    Btw, my summer list is going well, thanks to you. I put exercising, reading and drawing at the top of the list and so far in the last three weeks, I have made time for all three on a regular basis. I also started meditating but I am struggling a bit with it, I can’t get the hang of it, I guess I need to give it more time. But overall I can see a lot of positive differences in myself. I hope I can continue it.
    Sorry for the long essay, I love this post so much that I had to share my excitement. Thank you so much for it and hope you continue to have a great vacation.

    • Jessica says:

      Hey Pooja!!

      Aww thank you SO much!! I’m just replying to you all because the week back has been so hectic to settle back in haha so this compliment has made my day!! I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying these posts and that they’re helping YOU directly since they come straight from the heart and actually unedited. Ah yes – we do sound like we life similar stressed lives haha! Working from home can unfortunately bring that guilt – I have heard many self-employed individuals say that they feel that way when they try to take time off.

      What’s been helping me to do this guilt free is realising that there will ALWAYS be work to do. At first it was scary to acknowledge, and then it was really relieving! I realised that it’s just the nature of our careers as being self-employed – even if we were to work for 20 hours in a row, we would still have more work to do. After I realised that, I realised how totally okay it was for me to *stop* working at 6pm for example, since I couldn’t possibly finish it all anyway, so better to take the rest I deserved, and the Sundays, and then continue to put in the work the next day. It helped me to adjust my perspective a whole lot – I hope that will help you too!

      I’m SO happy to hear your summer list is going so well!! This honestly makes me so happy to hear that I was able to help at all with that 🙂 and that you’re being able to do the things that make you happy. Re the meditation – it works wonders for me, but don’t force it for yourself if it isn’t for you. Otherwise it may end up becoming a hassle. I will say though – when I first started, I tried SO hard to *not* have any thoughts and *focus* on being zen and then I just felt worn out. Now I allow the thoughts, I instead just kind of pull back from them, and focus instead on the fan, or my breathing, and I found that helped way more than trying to be so zen.

      No need to apologise ever especially since I just wrote you back an essay hahaha. I love your comments!! Thanks so much again Pooja – I had an amazing vacation. Wishing you all the best for the rest of your summer and endless happiness!! 🙂

      • Pooja says:

        Thank you for this totally awesome reply Jessica. Everything you said makes sense, and strikes a chord. I cannot tell you how much it helps to hear all this, thanks once again. So glad to hear your vacation was great.

        • Jessica says:

          Hi Pooja,

          I’m so happy that that helps!! I hope it’s been going better for you or at least has less pressure. Thanks so much re the vacation!

          <3

          Jessica

  5. I love this-so important to slow down and unplug sometimes!! Enjoy, lady!

in the kitchen everyday

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