Jess’s Ten Weeks Off


“I’m going to take the next 10 weeks off.” It had finally gotten to that point. I’d felt so guilty about taking any time off work (during the middle of a lockdown- are you kidding?!) but my health was finally starting to get in the way.

It had started simply enough. I’d been stressed– who hadn’t- with my study plans being derailed left right and centre from the pandemic (that subject I wanted to do? It doesn’t exist, and nor doesn’t its back up!), as well as the looming threat of lockdown with the new delta variant. Like most people, when I get stressed, I stop looking after myself– I couldn’t sleep because of all the thoughts running through my head and I was keyed up all the time.

I had been seeing a therapist for a while to help me cope, but it wasn’t helping me enough.

Luckily I have an amazing support base at work and home who all said what I didn’t want to hear: “TAKE SOME TIME OFF!”
With a little bit of planning, I had the next ten weeks off.
If you’re ever feeling the long term effects of the world in general, and you’re lucky enough to be in a position to take a chunk of time off, I highly recommend you do the same thing!

Signs that you need some time off:

You’re always tired and irritable
You’re getting sick often
Even after a full night’s rest, you feel exhausted
Not sleeping enough at night/taking a long time to “switch off” to fall asleep
Your eating patterns have changed in an unhealthy way- you’re either over eating, or under eating
You daydream about escaping from work/study/responsibilities regularly
You dread the next day
You feel keyed up/anxious/hopeless most of the time, or all of the time

What Time Off Allowed Me To Do:

Though it was a lockdown, and I was still studying full time, my time off allowed me to prioritise my health and to unwind and deconnect from the outside world. I logged out of social media (after firing some parting shots at my boss’s total lack of coordination in Hip Hop), my phone was turned to silent and my laptop was used for logging into my uni work, and that’s it.
Outside of exercise, I didn’t have anything that I didn’t for me. While I was sick, I couldn’t exercise properly either, so I felt lost. For the past 2 years I had been studying or working, or feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing either. The time off allowed me to find a new hobby– art. I love drawing on my tablet. It’s also been a great way to connect with my family, as my brother was an artist and my mum regularly doodles out incredible portraits.
There’s no quick fixes in health, and it took every second of the ten weeks to get on the road to “better”. Sleeping through the night, eating proper meals, and exercising are all things that I will continue to work on, but after 10 weeks of them being my only priority, I’ve finally reached the point where I’m doing all three with relative ease. I no longer dread going to bed, my mum’s homemade bread is the reason I get up every morning and I love rolling out my mat and doing some downward dog and abs, preferably with favourite prop: my Labrador, Chumpy.
Not that I ever hated exercise, but I’d lost my love of it when I was stressed. It had become a bit of a chore– something that I did because I knew it was good for me rather than something I enjoyed doing that happened to also be good for me. Taking me-time allowed me to play around on the mat for sometimes hours just because it felt great to move my body in different ways.

Enjoying some arm balancing again! Building up a little portfolio of artworks. Best Pilates Prop ever- the doggo.

Some Tips in Taking Extended Time Off:

  • Pre Plan with your work as much as you can. Have set dates when you’re available for handover, and for calls when you’re gearing up to go back. You want your transition in and out of your time off to be as stress free as possible. This also allows you to be completely out of contact for at least some, if not the majority of your time off.
  • Find the time to do activities that you enjoy doing. Not just “free time” to do what you want, (though that should be in your weeks as well!) but work on your hobbies and creative outlets. Treat them with as much importance as you would sleeping or eating well. This will help you unwind, and give you a bit of direction in your time off. Don’t have a hobby? Try some new things out! Jigsaw puzzles, board games, art, dance, musical instruments, exercise, or learning a new language are all great hobbies to have.
  • Discover amazing healthy recipes and move about! Take the time to discover what you enjoy eating in healthy ways and what types of exercise makes you tick. Want to work on something in particular, or get some special attention in class? Book in a couple of Semi Privates or Privates with our amazing instructors today.
  • Cut yourself some slack. You. Deserve. This. Time. For. You. Don’t let invasive thoughts of work, family, study get in the way of enjoying you time. Have fun. That’s the point. And let us know what a great time you had when you get back!