Six weeks until my holiday! I have been thinking long and hard (or rather off-and-on) about the best way to approach this to make sure I get the best out of it. Obviously planning time off in great detail totally kills the point of having a holiday in the first place BUT at the same time if I don’t plan anything then two weeks is a long time to be on my own at home doing nothing! At the moment I’m planning on having two contrasting weeks, that way I can make a kind-of plan for the first week and then do something completely different in the second week or change things around (or resolve to do nothing!) for the second week as I choose.
The idea I want to cling to is that it’s better to do things than to do nothing – only for these two weeks I get to choose most of what I want to do rather than have it dictated by routine or requirement. So it’s not intended to become a slob-around daytime-TV-watchathon but I will choose to DO the things I find most pleasureable (within healthy boundaries) in the moment without feeling like I have to hit a certain number of hours on any one thing. Awake, alert, active but not pressurised. That’s the aim.
One of the things I need to do is to look back over the week I spent at home last year and see what worked and what didn’t. I know I tried to pack quite a few things into that week and it felt like it went really quickly (a couple of days of nothingness will do that). Also that was autumn and this is going to be midsummer so I won’t be trekking to Hyde Park at sunrise (without getting up at 3am!) and things like that, but hopefully there will be more sunny days.
Looking at how things are panning out, there is a natural division between week 1 and 2 in a few different ways. In some ways I think week one will by my quieter, recovery kind of week with fewer plans and less expectation, but I should hopefully be close to reaching some kind of weightloss milestone so I’ll probably want to keep things as healthy as possible. I get paid at the end of week 1 and that’ll be my last week on strict cash-rationing so in week 2 I’ll be able to do more celebratory stuff and make some purchases I’ve been holding out on all year. Kind of a famine/feast contrast in terms of lifestyle and activities, perhaps (although of course it’s quite possible I’ll get to the end of the first week and be craving a second week of total hibernation!)
So for week 1 I’m thinking of aiming for a sparse and healthy lifestyle – these are my ideas so far:
- Get up at a reasonably healthy time in the morning
- Exercise first thing – probably lots of jogging. I did do a “jog every day” week back in what was known as MagicWeek’08 (at least I think it was ’08!) but a couple of early morning swims, somewhere, would be cool. Without the need to be anywhere at any particular time I can go to nice parks and enjoy the wander home afterwards.
- Keep food to protein, fruits and veggies for as many consecutive days as possible. The challenge here is breakfast, I know I can manage lunch and dinner but I do love my breakfast carbs! I can see a lot of omelettey eggy things happening (I do love a good pea omelette and scrambled eggs with mushrooms so even if I just alternate those that would probably be OK). If I work out first it makes breakfast later which means less need to fill up before lunch. I will need to keep the fridge well stocked with nice fruits, salads and veggies so I have something to hand whenever I feel like snacking. I just really want to experiment with this kind of eating mix for an extended period to see how my body reacts to it, and hopefully find an optimum balance to lose some weight that’ll push me to my goal and encourage me to make some more permanent changes. If it doesn’t work I can always switch back in week two!
- If I do those three things, then I’m not going to be prescriptive in any way about the rest of my time. Those are going to be my only rules, and if I don’t do anything else productive the entire week, but stick to those things, I will consider that enough. Hopefully I will feel energised and like doing lots of other things! But I’m going to take advantage of being able to rest and sleep as much as I like and not have any stresses, to see how healthy my lifestyle can be when I try. The exercise (especially if it involves a trip to the pool) can take quite a chunk of time up and in the past it’s been a little stressful trying to balance that with the optimum level of music hours, cleaning, studying, writing etc. that I want to do. For this one week I will set these three things as a baseline and allow myself complete freedom beyond that.
That’s where I’ve gotten to so far. I am also going to need to get used to chilling out in my own company and relaxing without getting depressed – maybe starting with some kind of meditation? As I haven’t been doing so brilliantly with that recently. Especially with changes in diet it might be the case that emotional stuff comes up and I’ll want to deal with that appropriately. And I want to have plenty of time to think about my plans going forward and see what my priorities really are once I’ve cleared all the must-do things aside. I want to be able to chill-out, guilt-free, without spiralling into paranoia and binging to fill the void! So basically just have a normal break like a normal person!
I’m excited though! It’s the first time I’ve had two weeks off since 2011 and I probably won’t do it again for a couple of years, so anything could happen.