5 unusual ways I relax after a heavy work sprint
I very much enjoyed writing today’s post. It’s a step in a different direction from my regular blog posts, which normally focus on Squarespace, SEO, web design & development, and other tech tips. But sometimes change is good, even if it’s only temporary!
I recently published a blog post all about my tips for dealing with insomnia and in it, I shared how insomnia and difficulties sleeping play out in my business and life as a solopreneur. I never expected that post would pick up so much momentum online! It was particularly popular over on Pinterest and a quick look at my website’s Analytics tab shows that it was one of my top posts of the last month.
Clearly this post resonated with many of you, my readers and fellow online business owners. I received so many emails and private DMs about insomnia and lots of you asked for more “wellness” blog posts.
I have exactly zero interest in becoming a lifestyle blogger (no disrespect, just not my jam) but I’m happy to share my own experiences & thoughts on a handful of topics related to wellness, particularly how it plays into work/life of online business owners. I’m not an expert in this field but I am keen to talk about what’s worked for me and maybe it’ll resonate with you too!
In this post, I’m talking about the unusual ways I relax and unwind after a heavy work sprint. I know that not everyone works this way but it’s a tactic that helps me stay in flow and produce good work. It has also saved me from burnout so far, which is something I hugely appreciate.
I hope that after you read this post, you have a better insight into my approach to work sprints and what I do to unwind and relax after a particularly intense period.
Watch the video below to see me chat away if that’s more your style :)
Let’s jump right in!
^ Sadly, it does not always include a cat and cup of coffee :)
First of all, what is a work sprint?
Work sprints mean different things to different people but essentially they are short, focused bursts or periods of work followed by time off to recharge.
According to Harvard Business Review, ‘sprints are the secret to getting more done’ and I agree with this assessment.
In an ideal world, I run my business entirely through sprints.
I would infinitely rather work very hard for 4 days and then take a 3 day weekend, as opposed to a M-F, 5/2 schedule. Similarly, I’m happy to grind for a few weeks and then take a week off completely, not touching my phone or laptop once.
These work sprints usually require me to go into hermit mode for a few days in order to throw myself into work and truly hit the flow. I often end up sitting at my desk totally engrossed in work until all of a sudden I realize my leg has fallen asleep because I haven’t gotten up in hours. Whoops. At least I have something to show for it though, besides a hefty coffee tab! I batch content (blog posts and videos), plow through a particular project, get ahead on client work, whatever.
One thing I want to say about work sprints is that I don’t do them because I love working. In fact, I prioritize work sprints because I adore NOT working. #truth
I love my business, my clients and the online audience I serve, but it’s not my whole life. I hugely value my “off” time and my rest days, so I’m willing to put in longer, concentrated work hours in exchange for more time away from my business.
This heavy work sprint setup serves for me, but it might not work for you. And that’s okay!
The last major work sprint I did was back in late January/February when I launched my online course, Top Squarespace SEO. I was already juggling my regular design client work, consulting sessions, my weekly newsletter and content creation for my blog & Youtube channel - PLUS I launched a course! It was wild and you can read a recap of that process here. Anyways, after the launch was over, I took a few well deserved days off and WOW did it feel good!
I’ve done a few smaller sprints since then, mostly so that I could enjoy long weekends off, but the principal remains the same.
I’ve followed this schedule on and off for a few years now and I’ve come up with several tried and true ways to chill the F out after a particularly heavy work sprint, and I’m going to share those with you now.
The biggest thing is that after a work sprint, you probably need to decompress both physically and mentally, so try your best to find tactics that hit both aspects of wellness.
1. I still wake up early
6 am hits and I am up and out of bed - rise and shine!! 🌞
I am a total early bird and I frigging love mornings. Sleeping in doesn’t make me feel relaxed at all, instead it sometimes gives me weird anxiety like I’ve “wasted” precious hours in the day. I’m very in tune to daylight hours and would rather die than sleep in until 10 am. I have no problem taking a mid day nap, though - riddle me that one.
After a heavy work sprint, I continue to wake up early but I do indulge in slow mornings. This means that I don’t follow a strict morning routine and instead I start my day doing what feels good. Most of the time this means I begin with some sort of exercise (surf, walk, group fitness class, etc.) but I also love taking myself out to my favourite coffee shop (I’m often the first person there #keener) or just vegging out with a podcast.
2. I binge Netflix
Many people watch Netflix to procrastinate and distract themselves from work but that’s not how I roll.
For me, Netflix is a “reward” for my hard work, something I can indulge in guilt-free. Watching back to back episodes on Netflix is not an everyday thing, it’s something I reserve for after my work sprints.
3. I do a guided meditation
A few years ago, I discovered that my favourite yoga studio offered a Friday afternoon restorative yoga class and no joke, this class was often the light at the end of the tunnel for me. I would finish the class feeling insanely relaxed, both physically and emotionally. Honest to god, it felt like I had been sedated and I loved it. Better than any drug.
The problem, however, was that I would sometimes forget to reserve my spot in advance or else I’d get held up in the pouring winter rain and miss the class (#VancouverProblems). I still tried to make it to that class whenever I could but my instructor suggested I try out at-home guided meditations for those days that I couldn’t participate in person.
I had no clue that guided meditations were a thing on Youtube but once I found out about them, it was like I had the golden ticket to relaxation.
This might seem a little weird the first time you try it out but I swear by guided meditations, especially after a heavy work sprint.
My process looks like this:
pick my desired guided meditation from Youtube
light a candle (where it can burn safely for an hour, duh)
lay down somewhere comfortable (bed, sofa, yoga mat on the ground, whatever)
grab a blanket or put on socks if it’s cold
close the curtains or wear an eye mask to block out the light
put a pillow horizontally under my knees or else lengthwise along my spine - helps to release tension in the chest & lower back
then hit play and RELAX
From experience, I can tell you that Australians have the Youtube guided meditation niche on lockdown so I recommend checking out two of my personal favourites, Jason Stephenson and Lauren Ostrowski Fenton. Start with them, pick whichever guided meditation vibe you’re interested in (relaxation, affirmations, abundance, peace, communication, spoken word vs sound bath etc.) and try out different styles until you find something you adore.
4. I sweat it out somewhere hot
There’s probably a technical term for this (heat therapy, perhaps?) but basically I mean that I spend time in saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, or even hot yoga classes.
Sometimes I go to facilities that have hot/cold plunges but really it’s the heat that I crave!
There are so many benefits from “heat therapy” but personally I appreciate clearer skin, limber muscles, relaxed neck and shoulders, fewer aches & pains after a workout, and personally it helps reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and/or depression. Yay!
I fill up my waterbottle and stay in until I start to melt, it’s seriously the best :)
A few of my favourite places (besides the sauna at the gym haha):
Body Blitz Spa - Toronto, Canada
Scandinave Spa -Whistler, Canada
Amo Spa - Canggu, Bali
Yunomori Spa - Bangkok, Thailand
Side note: my best friend growing up had a sauna in her house and when I have my very own sauna/steam room in my home, that’s when I’ll know I’ve made it in life. Seriously, that’s one of my #goals benchmarks.
5. I spend time in nature
Ok this one isn’t all that unusual but whatever. To me, nothing is more relaxing than spending time in nature. I LOVE shutting down my laptop and turning my phone to airplane mode and heading out for a few hours/days. Whether it’s going for a walk along the water or in a park, a hiking trip, camping weekend, sailing trip, couple hours out on the waves to surf, I love it all!
We get so many benefits from spending time in nature and personally I notice that it goes a long way to help me unwind after a heavy work sprint. Barefoot and happy is my ideal.
BONUS: I indulge my inner basic bittie
Paint my nails
Do a hair cream bath
Call my family and friends
Read a thriller
Listen to a podcast or music
Buy a new plant or bouquet of flowers for my home
Take myself out to dinner and/or a movie
Nothing particularly unusual on that list but thought I’d include those self-care tips in case you found it interesting :)
I’m a huge fan of the motto “work hard, play hard”. I love my job and feel energized by the work I do, but at the same time I think it’s valuable to admit that work isn’t my whole life. I hugely enjoy my time away from work and do my best to really tune out and relax when I’m “off”.
Let me know what you think about the video that goes along with this post - I know it’s a little different from my usual tech tutorial videos but maybe you liked it? Was my rambling too much haha!
Now it’s your turn to tell me, do you work in sprints? Would you rather work in a more moderate schedule? What do you do to unwind or decrompress after work? How do you relax after a big project wraps up? Anything on this list that you do too, or are your strategies totally different? I’d genuinely love to know so leave me a note in the comments down below!
Don’t forget to check out the first post in this “wellness” mini series : Tips for dealing with insomnia
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