Is taking the rest you need an act of rebellion?

Note on the image – A welcome pause with a pint of tea, as served by one of my favourite pubs in Lewes. How comfortable are we to pause for a rest when people around us are busy?

When I see what other business owners and freelancers are doing over the Christmas break, I sometimes feel a twinge that I’m not doing enough.

This year, my twinge was:

“I’ve put my LI posts & community building on pause, I’ve not even though about email marketing – I could have scheduled things over the break – I’ve been so lazy! How will I grow a business if I’m not prepared to put the work in?”

(Marketing for myself is a new project, and if anything that’s the one I’m getting wobbles about – am I doing it right? Am I doing enough? What if I fail and no one is interested in my coaching … and so on)

I went back to work on Mon 8th Jan, I opened my email and had a cache of emails, some from people like me running a small business, and I immediately told myself I’d been lazy.

Is that familiar for you too – do you see or hear what other people are doing and compare yourself? Find yourself thinking or feeling that if you were doing what they do, maybe you’d be enjoying more of what you want? Maybe that’s what would quieten the nagging feeling there’s more you want from your business?

HANG ON a moment … I’m convinced this isn’t actually the way we need to be talking to ourselves, let alone running our businesses. I don’t think it will actually get us what we really want and it certainly doesn’t honour our true, authentic selves. You know, the parts of you that make you unique and able to make the contribution only you can?


I caught myself and thought about what I need from a holiday. I need to let go – I find it so hard to switch off most of the time, and when I do take a break, I need it to be a real break.

1/I need at least 3 longer periods in the year when I let it all go (1 week minimum, 2 weeks is good). I turn off email, put on my out of office and don’t respond to anything.* Christmas is usually one of them.

*(I sometimes make an exception that there’ll be 1 or 2 small, specific things I check, on specific days. I’ve learned it’s really important to keep it boundaried and not to let this ooze into the whole holiday though, or I don’t relax and I get resentful).

2/ I also don’t promise myself I’ll do any ideation, planning, goal setting or visioning about where my business is going, ‘cos I never actually do it and I can do without beating myself up about that. Yes, that’s after years of promising myself I’ll use the break to “think about where my business is headed”, because that’s what I’ve heard other people say and it sounded like the kind of thing ‘real’ business owners do. That’s as opposed to ‘pretend’ business owners, like me ;-)

But I’m not writing this to tell you that my way is right! I’m writing it to say …



And one of the main problems with following someone else’s instructions or guide? You can easily miss the nuances that fine-tune it for you.

Take my 2 points above about what I need – it’s not even as black and white for me as they suggest.  

  1. I do take time to let pretty much everything go. And sometimes, there are a couple of small things I need to check. I make a note / put them in my calendar so I can forget about them for a bit. Sometimes it’s MORE stressful to try and tidy up ALL the loose ends before a holiday. If I want/need a few more days off, sometimes I need to tidy up a couple of things during the holiday.
  2. I don’t promise myself I’ll do anything as formal as ‘business planning’. And I know I won’t be sitting in front of a laptop (unless it’s for online shopping) while I’m on hols. BUT I do think about my business … it’s a part of me. Yet it’s important for me that I let it happen without expecting anything of myself.

I mull my work over in a completely unfocused, unplanned way. I let things surface, I think about what I want more of, what I want less of, I think about what really pissed me off this year and what made me feel good about myself. This Christmas I reflected a lot on my development as a coach and how I’ll continue to build my networks once I move abroad. And I didn’t write anything down, I just let it percolate.

And the best bit – I’m deciding not to criticise myself for any of this, I’ve decided that’s how I work best at this point in my career. That easing of self criticism – that is a thing worth celebrating all on it’s own!

How do you rest? What do you need to know you’re taking care of yourself?