When you look at your schedule for the week do you ever just get the urge to wipe it clean?
I remember a particular few weeks when I certainly felt like that. I was a little under the weather and had a combination of events I was expected to attend, jobs I was expected to complete, projects that required daily effort and daily life to contend with too. I knew by the end of it I’d be knackered, worn out and a shell of my former self and knowing that stopped me looking forward to my week. That day I happened to be read a sentence that said: “Clear your diary for 2 weeks, keep your body calm and be asleep by 10.30pm every night and be up by 7am you’ll feel like you’ve had a holiday when the two weeks are up”. This was music to my ears and I so desperately wanted that relaxed holiday feeling that I committed to it straight away.
- I cleared my diary of everything non-essential
- Went to bed at 9pm every evening (to be asleep for 10.30)
- Read a book for about an hour
The changes I had to make were:
- organising the last appointment of the day to be a bit earlier
- getting ready for bed earlier
- eating dinner earlier
- avoiding the tv
- tell my other half that unless he was home before 8pm I wouldn’t see him
- choosing a fiction book to help me relax
- decided to watch my tv programmes at 7am on Saturday and Sunday morning because otherwise I’d have struggled not to enjoy the morning snooze.
What I didn’t know at the beginning of my 2 week experiment was how well it would work. It was a complete leap of faith beyond being laced with the good kind of common sense you tell kids. Part of the reason it works so well is because being in bed by 10.30 and up at 7am helps regulates our hormones. On top of that, making my primary concern to keep my body relaxed and calm meant that I was constantly activating my relaxation response which is also known as our parasympathetic nervous system and our biological defence against stress. I’m pretty sure at that time in my life I was running almost 100% on my stress response and my body was simply tired, the relaxation response was exactly what it needed.
The good news is it didn’t take 2 weeks for me to feel better, it only took a few days, at which point I renamed the experiment ‘My 2 Week Home Retreat’. At that point I had to renew my commitment to the experiment because I felt so great. I did the whole 2 weeks and even kept it up for a couple of months. I did reintroduce my evening commitments but only a few nights a week. I’ve done the two week home retreat a few times and I’m sure I’ll do it again.
Do you ever want to clear your schedule?