It’s your lucky day – I’m giving you time off

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of the term ‘easy chair’ to describe a comfortable place to sit seems to have been in 1707.

Although it’s a form of words we may use without stopping to think too much, maybe you’d agree that it’s slightly odd?

Of course it harks back to the use of the word ‘easy’ to mean ‘comfortable’ – rather than the definition that might spring to mind more immediately: ‘not difficult’.

After all, we suggest that someone should ‘take it easy’ when we think they need to rest, and ‘easy listening’ music describes tunes which are relaxing.

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You may guess that I mention this not to focus on furniture, but to encourage you to think about the importance of taking a break now and then.

Chance would be a fine thing, I hear you say.

Oh to have the time/money/freedom to be able to go away for a few days – weeks, even.

The thing is, though, there are ways of giving yourself a little time off that are less ambitious, and more immediate.

Changing your pace or getting a change of scene can do wonders for your emotional well-being.

So here are five ideas to get you going, all designed to be achievable today (there’s no present like the time):

1. Create a ‘half-time’ in the middle of completing a task: five minutes when you’ll sit somewhere different, thinking nice thoughts.

2. If you’re travelling somewhere, listen to a favourite piece of music. Read an escapist book (an audiobook, perhaps, if you’re driving). Or just clear your mind and slow down your breathing.

3. Go for a fifteen minute walk that starts and finishes from where you already are. But head off somewhere you wouldn’t normally visit.

4. Lie down and take a power nap. John F. Kennedy did it, as did Winston Churchill, so you’ll be in good company.

5. A bath before bedtime can work wonders. It’ll relax you, feels self-indulging, and should also help you get a better night’s sleep.

Maybe you think you’ve too much on your plate to be able to slow down, even for a few minutes, but if you’re frazzled, you won’t be operating at anything like full speed.

So slow down.

The world can wait.

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