The Resolute Team
Each year, 19 IDEAS takes the sliver of time between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays to relax, unwind and step away from our desks.
We’ve found that with downtime comes greater inspirations and motivations that help us start a new year with a fresh face. So, we asked a handful of our crew members to tell us how their off-time during shut down helped them get back in the game to do just that.
While the post-holiday blues are a real thing, I’ve always enjoyed the sense of renewal that comes with January 1st. And the week between Christmas and New Year’s is the perfect time to savor the end of one year and think ahead (with optimism!) to the next. Travel, whether near or far, is my favorite way to recharge and return home with new perspectives. I escaped to Canada with my husband to ring in 2018 and decidedly unplugged for a few days in the winter wonderland that was Niagara-on-the-Lake. I took long, cold walks in snowy parks. I finished a book. I enjoyed leisurely meals. And I slept a lot. The slow pace and serene setting of my time away helped me calm down from the holiday rush and prepare for the fun and challenges that the New Year is sure to bring.
I’ve come to realize that no matter how much I love to travel, what I really need to rest and recharge is to do exactly that – rest. In a halted state, I love feeding my soul with cultural things I can enjoy from the comfort of my couch and pajamas. However, this year, we hosted Christmas Eve dinner with 17 friends and family members and then traveled to Montreal and Quebec City with friends for New Year’s. So, we didn’t have any downtime at all. In fact, our house is still not put back together from Christmas Eve dinner. Unfortunately, I’m not really feeling rested, even though I did have a lot of fun. To that end, I’m already planning on how I can “redo” shut down differently 11.5 months from now.
Shut down was as much about rediscovery as recharging. Revisiting the art of fort building with my 20-month-old daughter. Building a fire with matches and kindling. Finding ways to pack a day without a single deadline. By keeping an open mind, we brought the food, family and friends to us!
Over shut down I balance between hanging out with friends and family, while eating too much good food, and lounging around catching up on sleep, shows, and video games. Maybe I’ll guilt myself into going to the gym once or twice. That usually clears out the cobwebs. I’m still usually browsing creative feeds on Instagram, Dribble, Behance, and so on to keep the juices flowing and get new ideas.
I really can’t sit still. So time off – whether home or away – is usually filled with a good amount of things on the days’ to-do list. I’ll still get in some R&R, as long as I know I accomplished what I set out to do. During this shut down, I got to live like a kid again – vicariously, of course. Christmas was spent enjoying the wonder of the holidays with my two- and four-year-old and taking the time to get some good nights’ sleep. Fully rested? I’m just not so sure, but who can sleep when the BILLS MADE THE FRIGGIN PLAYOFFS ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
Shut down was about resting? What’s that again? During this time off, we spent time traveling with friends, so I combined my social and non-stationary states of free time in all the best ways. Even though it was frigid (between -15 and -5 the whole time), I had a blast in Montreal and Quebec City with friends over the break. Don’t think I’ll complain about the cold the rest of the winter in Buffalo after that.
I travel as much as possible through the year and try to spend as much meaningful time with friends and family as much as possible. Even so, around the holidays, sometimes it’s important to just enjoy where you are and who you’re with. I cooked a Julia and Julia inspired French dinner on the heels of my visit for my family on Christmas Eve: onion soup, boeuf bourguignon and Creme Brûlée (yes, I actually own a kitchen torch). Though delicious, in order to truly feel recharged and inspired, I need time to think, time to create freely, and enough sleep. So I spent my days painting over shut down to work on a really old piece and a start on two more.
It was important to me that I took this time to take the time. Time for friends. Time for family. Time for myself. Time for absolutely nothing. So, that’s exactly what I did. I spent mandatory – and optional – time with family, read inspiring books, fit in a few notable adventures, ate all the things, had a day of Netflix and chill with my cat, and had more full-belly laughs in a week than I can even remember for comparison value. Most importantly, I took the time to watch the Bills reach the playoffs, so I’d say 2018 is already off to the races.
Over the shutdown, I stayed more with the people that I love, and did a few things that made us happy. On seldom occasions, I would read and learn new technical strategies that would contribute to my skill set at work. As the snow keeps piling on, we tended to be in our home just to keep ourselves warm; so I continued things that I usually do throughout the year, but put more time in, like being the cook of the house, watching movies or TV shows on the projector, and attending music events with my wife. As far as the new year goes, I don’t look at each it as something new, but as a continuation with a lot of unknowns waiting to be discovered, and that is very exciting to me.
It’s safe to say that as a collective crew, we are feeling refreshed, recharged and already looking forward to the weeks and weekends ahead – to watch these Bills’ games, of course.
Note: An individual’s use of the Oxford Comma does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 19 IDEAS.