Pure relaxation and the ability to take a complete break is hard! Increased adrenalin, pressure and the need to appear committed to our work means it’s more difficult to switch off our minds and almost impossible to turn off the i-phone.
Yet we must. Unless we switch off periodically, our minds and bodies have no time to recover from the accumulated stress, adrenalin and hyperactivity that too quickly becomes habitual and routine.
Farmers regularly lay fields fallow – ploughed but not sown, to enable the soil to restore the nutrients and minerals required for next season’s harvest. This enables greater productivity and growth the following year.
I aim to take one week every six months to lie fallow – but it’s hard. It’s hard to switch off my mind, stop my hand from checking the phone and still the anxiety that comes from doing little – at least for the first few days… and then I start to breathe out and gain perspective and notice the season, the beauty and nature around me. This is when I remember what’s most important – my relationship, family, our dreams and future together, that my work supports rather than creates.
When I do return to work-mode, I feel fresher and out of nowhere spill new ideas, energy and changes of direction full of possibility and potential.
Unlike most other countries, Australians have traditional Christian holidays to provide a catalyst for rejuvenation. While on the one hand, these holidays are anachronistic and evidence of Australia’s ambivalence to a truly diverse and secular society, there’s no way I’d want to give them up. These holidays are a gift that we can and should use to stop, reflect and notice who we are, who we’re with and what’s most important.
This is time we can all lie fallow and re-generate so that we can return to our workplaces with new rich and fertile thoughts, perspectives and growth from which will emerge increased creativity, energy and worthwhile outcomes.