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Taking time off and focusing on yourself

Andrea Smith has held a variety of roles in senior HR, including for companies such as fashion giant Depop, multi national beauty company Coty and hair styling manufacturer ghd. But recently, instead of rushing forward in an ever-increasingly fabulous and interesting career, Smith made the bold self-care move to take time off between jobs to check in with herself and ask, “Andrea, how are you?”

When she realised that, each week when Friday rolled around, she found herself thinking, "Whew, I made it through another week" - that's when she knew it was the right call to take time off to smell the roses.

Realising a drastic reset was in order, Andrea decided to dedicate time to simply enjoying life. So now, her days are filled with travelling around Europe, enjoying the outdoors and filling her days with things she’s always wanted to do. Andrea talks to myGrapevine about how she’s managed to stick with the new habits she’s created during her refreshing time off.


Morning - 5am

Eyes ping open, and I take a moment to write up what I achieved the day before with a cup of green tea.


New habit:

I write my reflections from the previous day in a gratitude diary – which puts a spring in my step and provides me with focus on what I want to achieve on this day.



Turn the heating on and get ready for my day listening to the radio.


New habit:

My daily routine still involves an early rise, but I’ve switched to green tea over black coffee, as my first drink of the day, and I listen to the radio instead of watching TV breakfast ‘breaking news'.



Head for the kitchen, feed the cat and prep my lunch and dinner.


Check emails, any birthdays or anniversaries that require a present and decide what I can get that serves a purpose.


New habit:

My home screen time has reduced from 11 to four hours a day, which now includes an hour or so of self-development and reading.



Walk to local cafe for either a bacon sandwich or a smoothie, depending on how healthy I fancy being for the day.



Have a chat with mum or my sister on the phone.


New habit:

My personal life has never been so organised, my family and friends have never had so much access to me.



Morning walk, unless the weather isn’t great.


Time for a bit of reading – and this probably leads to a nap!



Visit the gym, complete a class and have a natter with other patrons.


New habit:

My new habits involve scheduling three 45-minute workout classes a week in advance so I can plan my appointments around attending these classes, not the other way around.


Lunch - 1:30pm

Time for lunch and a bit of daytime TV. I’m also currently knitting tea towels and scarves as family Christmas presents.


New habit:

As HR people who run around taking care of everything and everyone except themselves, I recommend thinking about a change of habit in self-care or setting personal goals away from your day job – things that simply put a smile on your face or create lived experiences for just pure fun and enjoyment.


Afternoon - 3pm

A bit of baking or batch cooking for the freezer.


New habit:

I have gained a physical sense of achievement each day in doing something manual and basic like cleaning or batch cooking that allows me to be active and sleep peacefully at night and feel better for it. When I looked into the mirror recently, I noticed a relaxed face staring back at me that wasn’t the me in the past.


Evening - 7pm

Watch The One Show in my PJs.



Bedtime for reading or diving into a box set until I fall asleep.


New habit:

One of my guilty pleasures with the change of season is to climb into bed before 8pm to eat pizza and watch TV – not just my recordings or catch-up TV.


End of the day

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