I travelled up to the Gold Coast for the long weekend, and you know what? I truly underestimated how much I needed the time away breathing in the salty air and being near the ocean.

During my visit, not only did I eat my weight in smashed avo, but I also discovered how important it is to stop and just relax.

I have forever been a summer baby and have loved the sun and surf ever since I took my first trip up to Queensland as a kid. However, living in Canberra means that I don’t get to see, touch or smell the ocean as much as I would like to. So, whenever I do get the chance to, I lap it up!

The ocean has such powerful energy, that I just cannot explain. Actually, so does the sunrise, and when both of them are combined, you’ve got a wonderful combination.

My best friend Emma (who I visited whilst up there) spends the majority of her early mornings sitting atop Burleigh Hill, overlooking Burleigh Heads beach, down towards Surfers Paradise, and says that it’s the one thing she does each morning, that ensures that she starts the day off right. So, whilst I was visiting, we went and did just that! Seeing the sunrise, whilst hearing the waves, and seeing the surfers crash over them, is actually a spectacular sight!

As we sat there I felt this massive sense of calm and ease, and just knew that doing that was just what I needed.

Too much time is spent these days focusing on productivity, and on squeezing out as much production as we can, out of every last minute of the day.

People work longer hours, constantly checking their phones and emails, and not stopping to just lift their heads up and look out towards the world.

Until recently I most definitely was one of these people, and it took sitting on a hill, overlooking the ocean and watching the sunrise to realise this over the weekend.

I find myself constantly telling people that I know personally, as well as here on the blog, how important it is to take time for yourself to stop and relax.

Was I taking my own advice though? Of course not!

It’s only March and I already feel as though we’ve hit the middle of the year, with just how busy it is. It’s almost like everyone has now woken up to the New Year, and opportunity after opportunity is coming my way. In no way am I ungrateful for this, in fact, I’m so very excited. But I’m also needing to make sure that I’m wary of how much I’m taking on, and how I’m using my time.

It’s so easy to get caught up in life, and the daily tasks you may have, and it’s even easier to get caught up in a rut and lose those special moments for yourself, or for spending with other people.

I’m very much a YES person. Sometime’s it’s great, because it means that I get to do some incredible things, and step out of my comfort zone. But other times it backfires, and I find myself being overworked and undervalued.

I’ve now discovered that it’s okay to be a yes person, as long as you’re saying yes to the right things. It’s important to stop, think and evaluate what you’re saying yes to – and truly decide on whether it’s worth your time and energy.

This is all part of making time for yourself, and not wasting it on other things or other people.

I’ve found that people are constantly focused on getting more done. But, have we ever thought to flip that and get less done, but enjoy life more?

Whilst working long hours and squeezing out as much as you can in a day might be the way to go for some people, it means you’re missing out on the good parts of life!

Up until recently my life schedule was hectic, and all because I had made it hectic. I thought it was how I needed to be, because I like being busy.

I would get up at the crack of dawn and workout, race to work, work through my lunch break or cram in a meeting, work all afternoon, and then instead of heading home in the evening to relax and give myself some time out, would try and cram in other events, meetings or activities.

Now I love what I do, but I certainly didn’t like the person I was becoming because of this. This being filling up any spare time I had, thinking that if I did, the more successful I would become.

My god how wrong I was!

Cramming in my days meant that I was missing out on the good stuff, the stuff that make me enjoy life.

I was missing out on quality time with my partner, with my parents, with my friends, with myself, and even with the dog! I would squeeze in appointment after appointment, to the point where I was turning up late to things because I was over working myself (and I’m always usually early!).

I was missing out on glorious sleep in’s, relaxing at home and cooking delicious meals, going for walks, and doing things I love like meditation and practicing mindfulness.

Because I was missing out on doing these things, I was becoming a cranky stress head. It also meant that my OCD starting appearing again, because I was stressing myself out.

Heading up to the Gold Coast for the weekend gave me more than what I thought it would.

It showed me how much I need to slow down and stop. Rest and relax. Allow myself to have fun and laugh with friends. Be present in the moment and not on my phone, and most importantly; just be myself again.

So, if you’re like I was and feeling overwhelmed, or you’ve just realised that I’ve summarised how YOU’RE feeling or acting at the moment too; then here are some steps that will help you discover your true self again.

  • Take 5 minutes to go outside for a walk. Breathe the fresh air.
  • Give yourself more time to do things. More time means less rush.
  • After work, get outside, take in nature, run around if you can.
  • Play. Play like a child.
  • Give yourself a day off. Sleep. Watch TV.
  • At work, take your lunch break and actually head outside and get some fresh air.
  • Take evenings off. No working in the evenings.
  • Breathe.

I’ve come back to Canberra now with a fresh mind and soul. I know what I need to do in order to slow my life down, and really be present, and I also know what activities I need to do to get myself back to who I want to be.

Remember, if you treat yourself with love and kindness, and make YOU the priority, then you’ll be able to give others the love they deserve too.