Take time to rest & recharge
Happy, Happy Independence Day/Week peeps! I hope this red, white and blue holiday has you taking some time to rest and recharge.
Sometimes, nothing is more important to you being “in your equation” and being healthy, happy and productive, than a little down time. A “time out” from the routine and the pressures of day-to-day life.
I had to learn this the hard way. And later in life than some. But, better to be a late bloomer than not bloom at all! Yes, I’ve finally learned the importance of taking time for yourself. Time to “find your center” as my friend, Jimbo, would say.
For many of us, it feels uncomfortable, awkward and even selfish when we first attempt to live from the center of our equation, putting ourselves and our needs at the top of the list. This includes taking regular breaks from the pressures and stresses of our day-to-day lives to rest and recharge. I told my closest friends that I was worried I would turn into a self-centered b i _ _ _! when I first started this practice.
But the truth is that when you are at your best, you are better for yourself and others. When you take time to care for and nurture yourself, you will experience first-hand how everything around you is better/easier. You’ll notice that when you are rested, relaxed and recharged, you have more to give. You come from a place of strength instead of depletion. And inevitably – from here – you are a better parent, spouse, boss, co-worker, friend… You are more creative, fun, strategic, intuitive, charged, productive, healthy and happy…
Trust me. I have tested the theory and know it works! I have experienced first-hand how I show up in the world when I am exhausted and giving at the expense of myself and everything is difficult. Contrasted with the last few years of life where I take care of myself and nurture myself first. Then as I am able, I give to others. And it is a remarkable difference.
So, when was the last time you took “time out” to rest and recharge?
This blog topic surfaced for me this past week when I finally admitted to myself (and my work team) that I was emotionally and physically exhausted from a very big, busy and passionate life these past six months with no “time out” to rest and recharge. For the first time in nearly a year, I am overdue. And I feel it.
It’s no secret that I do most everything with passion. I go 100% all in – both working and playing hard. I love this about me! Though some would argue that I don’t have work and life balance. The truth is that I love everything I do and I have lots of “Lori in the equation” time built into my life now by design. Since I don’t do anything small or half hearted, it means that I must build in downtime. And, at least twice per year I need a larger scheduled break to do…well, nothing! I have come to value and celebrate this time to recharge the batteries!
In the equation = a mandatory “time out”
After working 12-18 hours in an office chair, seven days per week, trying to meet the demands of the life I had created – which included everyone but me, I flipped my life upside down and put myself in the center of the equation. When I did, I decided that, for me, striving for that thing called work and life balance was not the goal. I live with passion and that means working hard, focusing on Lori in the equation hard, playing hard and resting hard when the time comes.
So, for me, being in the equation of my own life means taking at least two self-regulated, mandatory time outs per year. These are breaks from life per usual to do nothing but rest and recharge. To quiet the mind and just “be.” My theory is that for each person, the “time out” will look very different. Sometimes, for me it is vacation, but I prefer not. Vacations are awesome and fun but sometimes get very scheduled, centered around other people, and just jam packed. Most of the time this is great. But a personal retreat is a “time out” for 4-5 days with a different purpose.
The rules are simple. No work and no set schedule or commitments, leaving plenty of time for spontaneity and living in the moment, and plenty of quiet time/rest. I usually travel to one of my happiest places (any ocean or big body of water, with mountains a bonus). I take long walks on the beach, hike and/or climb mountains, nap, lounge, play in the ocean, spend time alone reflecting and finding my center, reading for pleasure, writing for pleasure, catching up on Ted Talks, exploring the food, the locals, and the culture of wherever I am. And these days, I usually try to add in a “first” or two… something I haven’t done before that is on my bucket list. Okay. I’m in. lert’s go!!! (It’s pretty fun to imagine and make a list of all you will do in your “time out.” I dare you to try it and share your ideal spot and your ideal day(s) right here!)
This year, my first scheduled “time out” was early June when I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for a work conference and had planned to tack on four days to explore, rest and recharge on the coast — Savannah, Hilton Head and Charleston, South Carolina. I have never been to the south and was excited. Due to work and personal life circumstances though, the R&R part of my trip got cancelled. And, about July 1st, I realized I am WAY overdue for the break. I can see it in my life and feel it in my body.
Know yourself, learn to recognize the signs
It’s important to become aware of what happens when you don’t take care to rest and recharge. For everyone it is different.
My symptoms: I am more physically and emotionally tired. My energy level is a bit lower (and not carb induced!). I am a bit more more moody. Not as productive. And, it is getting increasingly difficult to say “no” and I have to work harder to keep the focus on me in the center of my equation. All clear signs that I am overdue for a break.
The beauty is that I know myself and am 100% committed to living a happy and healthy life, no matter the consequences. So I am scheduling that break for late July in one of my happy places.
In the meantime, I have to listen to my body and scale back. Loosening my “to do” list just a bit. Taking mini-breaks to enjoy summer, and catching up on sleep – all help me get through until my “time out” in about a month.
Give yourself permission – it is self care
Many of you, like me, grew up with the message that it is not okay to put yourself first. To take breaks when there is stuff to do on the list and people in your life have needs/demands. Anyone?
Yes, many of us grew up believing that to be worthy, successful or even valued we had to work harder and faster. Not smart and safe, or happy and healthy. Just harder and faster. The measure of success in our society and our familial systems is often – do more, be better. We learned that we are never enough and we were constantly striving to do more and be better. We feel we have to be all things to the people who need us – our kids, parents, siblings, boss, co-workers or clients, and our friends… We believe it’s selfish to take a time out, focus on ourselves and recharge.
NOT! I used to believe this. Until it almost killed me. It was then that I was able to reverse my patterns and mindset and prove to myself and others these are nothing more than myths. In fact, in my view, it is only when we value ourselves, live our own life in the equation, and give to ourselves as well as others that we are truly present and able to give to others. In part this means taking care to rest and recharge our batteries.
I promise you. I have tested the theory. When you are in the center of your equation – and you are rested and recharged – you are better at all things. You will feel better…and be happier. Try it, I bet you’ll like it and see a real difference in your own life.
When can you rest and recharge?
The very same week that I determined I was overdue for my “time out” and had to do something about it, three different people close to me described how emotionally and physically exhausted they were from various life transitions. All, are experiencing high intensity emotional stress due to either the loss of loved ones or happier transitions like moving, new jobs, daughters’ graduations and impending life changes, etcetera. All big and emotional stuff that changes the course of life as we know it. This can be unsettling and exhausting – especially as it stretches into months.
When these things happen, sometimes we can’t schedule a big break or time out due to life circumstance. So, my advice, is to find little ways to rest and recharge until you can get a larger break scheduled. Like I did this past week/weekend over July 4th. I am still a good month away from my scheduled break, thus I need mini breaks to take care of myself in the mean time.
Today, the home and work to do list is very long. But rather than be a total slave to my computer, I will walk to my beloved lake and clear my mind, have dinner on the patio with a friend, and call my Mom from outside in the sun.
What’s your plan to rest and recharge? Mini or a bigger “time out”? How do you practice self care and ensure that you are not only in your equation but there is enough of you to go around and you are living from your happy, healthy place?