Chartered Occupational Psychologist, Consultant, Speaker and Writer

Take a moment. Press pause on everything. Breathe…

Just breathe


You’re busy.

Really busy.

You rushed around to get everything ready for Christmas. You got all the presents sorted – even the unexpected last minute ones – and made sure everyone got what they wanted. You ensured everyone had a good time, and even reminded yourself to have a good time when your annoying family member was at their most irritating.

You enjoyed it. But you’re tired.

December flew by in a rush, and you’re not entirely sure where it went.

It was a blur. Mostly a good blur, but a blur.

And now it’s nearly January, and you’re planning for the New Year. In the throes of making sure that 2015 is an even better year than 2014. You’re busy again. And getting ready to be busier.



Because there’s something else you need to be doing this week


Making the Most of the Time of Year

I couldn’t honestly write in a blog post that I’m not a fan of being busy. That I don’t love being productive, or finding new ways to do more in less time.

But I also know the value of stopping.

I’ve learned it the hard way. I’ve tried to learn it the easy way – lots of times – but this year I’ve spent Christmas with ‘strep’ throat (that’s bacterial tonsillitis to us Brits) – after a crazy few weeks of hard travelling, and I’ve been forced to stop.

I’ve had a super quiet Christmas, where you’d have been hard pressed to distinguish Christmas day from any other day (apart from a little ‘Facetime’ with family), and I’ve read several novels, watched a little guilty pleasure TV, and done some ‘nesting’ in my new house.

There’s something to be said (a lot, actually) for flow, that state where you’re entirely engaged in what you’re doing. When you’re completely absorbed in a task, your whole self lost to the activity. When you’re busy with one thing, a thing you love.

But that’s for another time.

At this point in the year, it’s the perfect time to press pause.

Because this is one of the quietest weeks of the year for most of us.

Even if you’re at work, unless you work in a retail store, this is likely to be a slow time.

The volume of ‘real’ email (average emails received by a corporate user per day in 2017: 121) slows to a trickle. Your social media streams empty as friends and relatives reconnect ‘IRL’ (In Real Life) and stop posting about it on Facebook because they’re too busy doing it.

Your FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) can be put on hold.

Because if you stop this week, you won’t be. Missing out.

In fact, it’s the other way round. You’ll be missing out if you don’t take a breather…

How to do it

There’s the full internet detox – where you turn off all the alerts, maybe even shut down the laptop or phone. Go off on retreat. Or go live in a cave for a few days and give all your tech to someone you trust so you don’t rush back and check your email one last time.

But I’m not advocating for that here (though I’m not against it).

Instead, over the next couple of days, in this hiatus before the New Year, a few times a day, just stop.

Stop what you’re doing.



Let your body relax.

Breathe again.

You’ll Always Be Busy

That’s modern life. The world we live in. The type of person you are.

But today, this week, and maybe even occasionally in 2015, remember:

It’s enough to be you. In the moment. Still.

You don’t have to ‘do’ anything. No complex meditation. No visualising your success in 2015. No juggling everything like a superhero.

You don’t have to be busy right now.

You just have to breathe…

with love for 2015, Ellen x


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jennifer Kennedy December 30, 2014, 8:20 pm

    I love this post, Ellen! I always feel that if I’m not running around being busy, then I’m falling even further behind.

    At one point, I was working so much that my sleep, health, and relationship with my boyfriend was suffering.

    So, this is a great reminder to relax, which I totally need to do more of! I love your simple and easy way to do just that. Off to take a few breathes right now…..

    Happy New Year!!
    Jennifer Kennedy recently posted…How to Go Into 2015 Ready to Kick BootyMy Profile

    • Ellen December 31, 2014, 3:07 am

      Thanks Jennifer – yes, definitely, start small! Just stop for a moment, and take a few breaths. It really does make a huge difference :-) Have a lovely 2015! x

  • Hanna December 30, 2014, 10:52 pm

    I am workaholic by nature, and having couple days of feels like a torture. Relaxing doesn’t come easy :) Especially when you launch a new business.

    • Ellen December 31, 2014, 3:08 am

      Thanks for commenting Hanna. Ironically, I think the more passionately you feel about your business, the harder you are likely to work – but everyone needs a break sometimes! Hope you take a few deep breaths today :-)

  • Tash January 4, 2015, 6:52 am

    I love the reminder to just breathe. I am making the most of the quietness of this time of year to create great things for my business, because I’m less stretched and I feel like I’ve got the time and space. But I did have an AMAZING two weeks with family before the New Year and I feel so refreshed.

    Loved your post!
    Tash recently posted…New Year, New HABITS…My Profile

    • Ellen January 4, 2015, 6:56 am

      Thanks so much Tash. As Hanna mentioned above, entrepreneurs can be the most passionate about their businesses – and can find it the hardest to take a break! But even when we’re working on something we love, a few breaths can make all the difference. Good luck with your business activities (and I’m doing the same, this quiet time is wonderful for creating) but don’t forget to breathe… ;-) x

  • Ruth January 4, 2015, 10:10 am

    Couldn’t agree more! The more I slow down, the more I enjoy life! And yup, I’m one of those who loves to busy myself too – but when I allow myself to slooooooow down, GOOD things happen. I’m happier. Definitely something I’ll be doing more of this year :)

  • Sam January 5, 2015, 5:46 pm

    It’s interesting how the universe/our body will step in to make you stop…definitely far better to learn this the easy way for sure :)
    Great post!

    • Ellen January 6, 2015, 3:56 am

      Yes, I continue to work on the easy way! But the hard way is definitely a faster teacher ;-) Thanks!

  • Cici January 6, 2015, 1:00 am

    Yes, just breathe! One thing that helps me separate myself from work or chores is to take a very deep breathe and then loudly exhale. There’s something about that physical sensation that feels like an end to the busyness. Thanks for the reminder to do it more often!

    • Ellen January 6, 2015, 3:58 am

      That’s a good idea, to use the breath as a ‘break’. I’m going to try that today! Thanks :-)