I talk a lot about going absolutely balls-to-the-wall here, but I don't talk a lot about slowing down. Truthfully, I rarely have time to truly slow down. Doing everything that I do requires most of my time to keep it all together, avoid mistakes, and solve the problems when I eventually do make a mistake. Between my day job, The Apocalypse Order, and my familial obligations, there's not much left to just take time off unless I'm stealing it from one of my efforts. Of course, that doesn't mean that I never take time for myself.
At least once a week, I try to take an hour or so just for myself. During that hour, I turn off my computer, I mute my phone, I send my kid to see her grandmother or a friend, and I set aside any other responsibilities I may have. That might mean that groceries wait a day or two, or that a design is put off until later, but I make sure that I take that time for myself. This time allows me to find my center, reset myself for the coming week, and relax for a little while. I do the same thing almost every time. I crack open a beer or pour myself a whiskey sour, turn on some music, and I clean up my bathroom space.
Here, I organize my various hygiene products, make sure my jewelry is put away, and wipe down the counter. I make sure my razors are clean and check to see if the blades need to be changed or sharpened, as I use a safety razor and a straight razor. Finally, I take my time and I shave the old school way, complete with the ritual. I take out the bowl of shaving soap and the brush, brush my mohawk out of the way, and slowly and methodically shave the sides of my head. Once my head is done, I apply hot towels to my face, lather up with the shaving soap, and shave my face with a straight razor. Once the shaving is complete, I take the only hot shower I'll take most weeks and soak it all in, finishing up with a face wash once I'm out of the shower, aftershave, and beard oil.
I occasionally miss the ritual, as I'll change my schedule to meet the demands of life and sometimes I simply can't get away from my child for a few hours, or I need to catch up on orders, or I otherwise get stuck doing some kind of work. If I can, I'll complete it once I've put out the fires, or I'll shorten it to fit in elsewhere. If I'm really lucky, Saturday is also a "rest day", so I don’t have a killer workout to get in, and if I've planned correctly, dinner will include a steak and other drink or two to unwind.
Why It's Important
When you work a schedule like mine, you can quickly find yourself overwhelmed. This is true for many modern Americans who unintentionally overwhelm themselves with work, social and familial commitments, and a side hustle. For example, my schedule includes a full-time day-job in an office, writing content for this blog, working out an average of an hour four or more days a week, designing the apparel and products you see on this site, and being a boyfriend, a father, a supportive co-parent, and whatever other positions I have to fill each week. With a schedule like that, I don't actually get a "day off". These are choices I made myself, and I knew my schedule would be brutal. I accepted that responsibility and I wouldn't change it because of the passion I have for my projects, my life, and my family. While it is absolutely worth it, the schedule certainly takes its toll.
By taking time away from all of that, by intentionally removing myself from the bustle of everything and putting everything on hold, I can take the time I need for myself to quiet my mind and make me feel good about myself. Most of the rest of my week is spent stressing over office projects, pushing to get a design finished or write content, promoting The Order on Facebook, or sweating my heart out during my workouts. It's nice to take the time to properly shave my face, enjoy a hot shower (the rest of my showers are cold), and care for my hair and my skin. When I'm done, I smell the way I like, I'm dressed like myself, and my hair and beard are trimmed just the way I like them. In that moment, I feel more like myself than I will again all week.
Keeping Up Appearances
During the rest of the week, I'll take a little bit of time here and there where I can to keep my head on straight. If I have a particularly difficult week, my friends have a regular dinner event at a local watering hole I'll hit up. After a tough day, I might take a nap instead of working on any of my designs, or have a beer while I work. During workouts, it's metal time and I'll crank up the hardcore while I vent some aggression on the iron, sand, or bag.
I'm lucky enough at my day job to have a schedule that allows me to take my time in the morning if I like. I can sleep in for an extra hour if I need to (though it usually means I'll be on my own clock later that night), or I can take my time to get my shit together. This luxury and a little planning mean that I can take my time in the morning. I pre-cook a protein-packed breakfast to last me the week with eggs and bacon. Every morning, I wake up, start the coffee, take my vitamins and supplements, and I take my time enjoying that food while I either listen to an audiobook or watch some new videos on my YouTube subscriptions.
These little rituals allow me to keep my head on straight as I progress through my week. The small moments I take for myself throughout the week are a bit like topping up your cell phone battery throughout the day. The big shaving ritual on Saturday allows me to truly take time out for myself and focus on myself for just a little while, resetting me for the week.
No matter how busy you might be, or how many commitments you may have, it's important to take a little time for yourself, and just yourself. Find the activities that make you feel better about yourself and take the time to do the big ones at least each week and the smaller ones as you need and as you can. These practices, these rituals, will help you stay on your A game all week.