The art of switching off

In the summer, and at other times of the year too, we all feel the need to escape, to have some fun with family and friends, and some time by ourselves to relax.

But all too often it can be hard to switch off from work or our responsibilities. We can find ourselves distracted and not able to feel ‘in the moment’, even while we’re on holiday when we’re supposed to be having a break and recharging our batteries. 

Along with the pressure to enjoy ourselves as we take some well-earned time off often comes a real sense of anxiety. Why, we ask ourselves, can’t we just relax and enjoy ourselves? Why won’t our brain, well, switch off for a while?

When we’ve had struggles or traumatic experiences in our lives, work and a sense of busyness can become a coping mechanism, distracting ourselves from difficult thoughts and feelings. When we’re away from work, on holiday, sometimes these thoughts and feelings can overwhelm us at a time when we thought we should be relaxing and taking it easy.

Luckily, there are simple methods you can use to keep you grounded.

Trying some simple breathing techniques, or mindfulness meditations, can definitely help, and there are some great apps for Android and Apple smartphones out there. Walking in nature or doing something practical or creative with our hands can also help keep us anchored in the present, moment by moment.

I’ve recently taken up drawing again, with pen and watercolours, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. The picture at the top of this post is one of my recent efforts! Taking an hour to sketch something – I’m tending to focus on flowers from the garden at the moment – leaves me far more relaxed and refreshed than when I started, with a sense of calm achievement.

Such things, as well as helping to keep us more ‘in the moment’, can also offer a sense of fun, enjoyment and feeling of achievement which may also positively impact on our self-esteem. So, is there something you’ve been meaning to give a go? Maybe a hobby you used to do or would like to try?

Perhaps you need more professional support. Have you been holding back from taking a leap of faith in giving therapy a go?

Please do get in touch to arrange your free initial 30-minute consultation with me, a trained, BACP-registered and qualified counsellor and psychotherapist.

I can offer face-to face sessions at the Ishta Centre in King’s Avenue, Stone, online or outdoors for walk-and-talk sessions in the beautiful countryside.