Vol. 34 - What An 'Off Week' Looks Like
what to do when one is avoiding work
When I was at school, we had ‘A’ and ‘B’ weeks, or at the time, what I liked to refer to as ‘On’ and ‘Off’ weeks. Our timetables would change depending on which week it was, with the idea being that on ‘Off’ weeks, we would finish school earlier in order to use our spare time for extracurriculars such as sports, volunteering, or studying. Of course, at that age, I was not using my spare time for any of the above, instead choosing to hang out with friends and get up to no good. Ironically, as a now self-employed adult, I’ve actually found some use in having ‘A’ and ‘B’ weeks (this has only been a recent addition to my life as I’ve lightly grazed on burnout a few times in this past year). My ‘A’ weeks are dedicated to as much work as possible. Whether it’s the things, I can do from home, such as my planning, writing, filming, editing, and completing brand deals or running around London for meetings, PR events, and other work obligations (networking is a big part of my job and the one I struggle with the most). In an ‘A’ week, I try and say yes to as much as possible and put work first. However, a ‘B’ week is for the things that serve me. It’s not necessarily all enjoyable, and there is a lot of life admin involved amongst the things that actually bring me joy, but even the annoying stuff is still important as, ultimately, it’s still serving me. I also try and prioritise my social battery — whether that’s seeing friends and going for dinners or knowing when to say no to spend some time recharging. Of course, nothing in life is ever as black and white as an ‘On’ and ‘Off’ week, and there is always going to be some overlap, BUT ultimately, the intention is there, and that’s enough for me. So, for this week’s issue, I’m going to give you an unfiltered look into what my version of an ‘Off’ week looks like.
I’m going to be honest with you: Monday was slow. I woke up early with an unexplained strain in my groin/hip area (get your mind out of the gutter) and saw it lightly drizzling outside. Past Tamsin had booked a morning session with the personal trainer, probably knowing that future Tamsin would need a push to leave the house and get moving. She was right but also fuck her. I always try to walk to and from the PT because it’s a pleasant 20 minutes of decompressing and getting lost in music, and despite the drizzle and the groin strain, I still really enjoyed it.
I have been seeing a personal trainer 1-2 times a week since last year in an effort to get stronger and become more in tune with my body. As someone who trained very competitively in more than one sport growing up, I now realise how much I took my body for granted. I also now understand how, during that period, I learned to disconnect from my body (which sounds counterproductive for someone training at a highly competitive level, but hear me out). As an acrobatic gymnast, my body had always functioned as a machine. It was there to be pushed, bent, starved, and manipulated in whatever way it possibly could to get to the end result. As well as it needing to be functional, it also needed to be as light as possible whilst still being aesthetically pleasing (a big thing with acrobatic gymnastics was the presentation, and it was something you were marked on alongside the technical). At the time, I completely dissociated from my body in order to make sure I could make it do the things it needed to do, and when I gave up all competitive sports, I had the same mindset but on the other end of the spectrum. I hated exercise and instead indulged in eating, drinking, and smoking, assuming my body would continue to serve me as it always had, which only continued to feed the unhealthy habits I’d picked up from years of training. Anyway, long story short, I’ve been seeing my PT for nearly a year now, and it’s the longest I’ve stuck to any consistent exercise since my days of competitive sport. I also combine this with reformer pilates, and I’ve noticed how beneficial it’s been to my mental and physical health. I still don’t particularly like working out, but I’ve also realised how much the social aspect has meant to me. Being self-employed can be pretty lonely, so even knowing I have a few hours each week where I’m going to a place to train with people I enjoy the company of has made a difference. It also helps me switch off from work and personal life for an hour so that I can just focus on what I’m doing at that very moment.
Afterwards, I walked off my session with a detour down Bond Street to do some window shopping. I still needed to find a dress for our engagement party, but being sweaty and red isn’t really the best condition to be in for trying clothes on. Instead, I went to Selfridges to pick up something small for a friend I was seeing for a birthday lunch later that day. Gift in hand, I trotted on home and made myself an omelette before having a call with a prospective accountant. I’m currently in the process of finding someone who can do it full time for me as for the last year, an old colleague/friend has been very kindly handling it for me. Being able to find a decent accountant is one of the many things that needs to be added to the school curriculum. Anyway, after a quick shower and a bit of blusher to look more alive, I took Rhubarb to Notting Hill for lunch at Buvette. The one in Paris is a favourite for Henry and me (and Rhubarb), so it is baffling that this was the first time I was trying their London branch. I love how cosy Buvette feels, and we were all one roaring open fire away from having a very long snooze with our napkins as blankets.
It started to lightly rain outside, which added perfectly to the atmosphere, and we shared a bottle of red wine whilst nattering away. I had the Brandade (mashed potato with cod and confit leeks), and the table shared some cheese and charcuterie alongside a tomato salad. Rhubarb sampled a little bit of everything. Afterwards, Rhubarb and I walked it off down the Portobello road towards Westbourne Grove before the rain scuppered our plans, and I succumbed to a black cab. By the time we got home, it was nearing 5pm, and we spent the rest of the evening drying off in front of the TV whilst watching The Bear.
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