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Essential Journal

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A Cut Above

How do you chill out with a no-days-off lifestyle? According to Ian Harrold, the key to relaxation isn’t in the day off, but in the art of the mini break


Wellness is a funny one, isn’t it? For some, it boils down to a decent work/life balance. For others, it’s a question of keeping the concept of ‘work’ to an absolute minimum. Wellness can be an evening with friends, or a much-needed moment of solitude. For the more cynical amongst us, the term ‘wellness’ joins words like ‘mindfulness’ and ‘fitness’ in the long list of commodified fads from which people can make a quick buck.

But it’s a term worth dwelling on, all the same. Wellness for me comes in the structural safety of a working week. Over the years, I’ve grown pretty accustomed to working a seven day week. I’m often met with looks of disbelief when I tell people that, as it seems like such an impossible tempo to some.

I’m sure you’ve all stood at a train station at some point or another and seen a high-speed train rush by. From the perspective of the person on the platform, that train is a furious and frantic flurry of colour, noise and speed. But for those on the train? Well, things don’t feel so furious. They feel perfectly normal and comfortable. I live my life on that train. And I’m not alone, either. There are those on the (metaphorical) train with me. That’s not to say that I don’t get to relax, just that I relax in a very different way.
To truly disconnect, I need a time and a place in which to truly switch off and do absolutely nothing. And would you believe it, a good old fashioned shave is just the ticket.

It might sound odd at first, but being sat in a stranger’s chair with a razor against your neck is one of the most relaxing experiences out there. Think about it: You’re not only sat down, you’re reclined. There’s no temptation to look at your phone, and talking is almost impossible. And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s the promise of cold beer or a warm cup of tea too.

Sure, it’s not a weekend away or a hot yoga session, but trust me: When a week is well and truly kicking your arse, 20 minutes in the barber chair can feel like a real win. Don’t believe me? Just swing by on any given day and see just how many guys fall asleep in the chair. IH