How to chill out

Remember when you first dreamt of going it alone? You’d choose your hours and work when you want. There’d be time at the beach with your laptop – #digitalnomad – or afternoons at the park with the kids. You’d probably work half the time you did before you stuck it to the man, if that. And you’d earn a ton more more, obviously.

Fast forward a year or two down the line and you’re working harder than ever to build a business from the ground up. It’s ace but it’s hard. And switching off? Well, that’s even harder.

Being the captain of your own ship means you’re constantly navigating changing seas, making it way more difficult to wind down and chill out. Traditional ‘office hours’ are a thing of the past; we’re always on, especially when we work for ourselves. Fortunately for the burnout averse, getting back the balance isn’t impossible, once you know how.

Write your to-do list late

Switch things up and write your to-do list for the next day before you leave your desk. It’ll clear a murky mind and give you back the feeling of control, making it way easier to walk away from your desk on time tonight.

Know your limits

Speaking of to-do lists, when was the last time you ticked off every single thing on yours? Now, more realistically, when did you last make a decent dent in it, but not quite slay the day like the ambitious morning version of you who wrote the list anticipated? Nobody is perfect and you’ll always wish there were more hours in the day to get stuff done. Don’t beat yourself up about it. As your mum might say – all you can do is your best.

Hit the gym

…or the pavements or the yoga mat. However you get your exercise, the main thing here is that you do. Exercise clears the head, boosts endorphins and leaves you feeling like you’re living your best life. Who doesn’t need that after a busy day in the office?

Break up with your phone

We’re all addicted to our phones. While switching off our computers at work once signalled the end of our screen time for the day, now we just replace it with the smaller screen of our smartphone once home. But do you really need to spend two hours on Instagram every day? Can those work emails wait until tomorrow morning? Does your Twitter feed really need more attention than your significant other? You’ll be amazed how much easier it is to chill out and make time for actual hobbies when you aren’t in the merry-go-round of social media sites.

Speaking of hobbies, get one

Remember in the olden days, when we all had hobbies? Back in the day, before we all started spending our lives online, we’d paint or write or do a bit of DIY to chill out. We’re throwing it back to the old school and taking up hobbies that take our mind away from work and our eyes away from the screen.

Read fiction

Books have been an escape since the beginning of time but if you’re always reading something related to your business, the chances are it isn’t going to help with the feeling of always being on. There’s a time and a place for learning more about your industry or craft; your own time isn’t it. Give fiction a go for a little escapism.

End your day right

Sleep is vastly underrated, especially by people who are burning the candle at both ends in the quest for successful self-employment. It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of a good bedtime routine. Have a hot bath, make a brew, read a book, slip into fresh bed sheets, but whatever you do, do not go from desk to bed without so much as time for a shower in between. That’s just gross, dude.

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