I love summer, especially ones like this one. We’ve been lucky – we’ve had amazing weather. The Costa del West Cork has been as good as any other Costa.

With such idyllic days spent at the beach, lunching al fresco or with cold beers by the firepit with friends during balmy evenings, I find it very difficult to get to – and focus on – work.

But pick up any newspaper and you will see headlines like “Cost of living crisis”, “Inflation rises”, “War”, “Input costs rising”. All of these can make one panic, worry and rush to the office/field/milking parlour – wherever your workplace is.

Working from home and for yourself has its own version of Mammy guilt, especially during the summer months. When I am working, I feel I should be doing something with the family and when I am with family and friends, I think of all the work on my desk and the to-do list.

So, what can be done about it?

I believe I can only control my actions, thoughts and decisions. I have no control over newspaper headlines (or related events), so I must continue to steer my own ship (or business). I can and must make the decisions that benefit me the most. You’ll be glad to hear that one of those decisions is taking time out.

Being married to a dairy farmer and running my own food business, I know that the careers we have both chosen are seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year. There’s no five-day hen or five-day cow.

However, what I have learned is the importance of being present: do whatever you are doing and stop thinking about being somewhere else. The benefits of being present at work is a topic for another day – today I want to talk about taking time off, taking holidays and stopping to take a breath.

First of all, you must make sure to schedule time off. It used to be seen as a badge of honour to be married to the job, thinking “the place won’t manage without me”. This is rubbish. Decide what day, which few days or which week (or two) you are not going to work and schedule it off.

During your time off, do something you enjoy or have never done before. Have a lie in, visit somewhere you have always wanted to go to, catch up with family and friends, spend time outside, go to the museum or a concert, read – the list is endless. The important thing is that you enjoy the activity and it is away from your normal world.

But why is this important?

Taking time out is vital for us to replenish our batteries. By getting off the hamster wheel of work, we can see things from a different perspective, see how they really are. It also allows space and time in our minds to let new ideas in and develop. It gives us time to think.

Less stress

Research also shows that people who take time off have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life and more motivation to achieve goals.

By taking time out and experiencing new places, activities and talking to different people, we can gain a new perspective and realise there is a whole world out there to be experienced, explored and enjoyed.

This in turn will help make us more energised, focused, aware and feeling positive.

So, schedule that time off, make plans (even if it is to do very little) be present and enjoy every moment of it. I guarantee the work will be there waiting for your return.

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