DISCLAIMER – THIS IS ADVICE ON SOMETHING REALLY SIMPLE
This spring and summer was incredibly busy for me – knee surgery, daughter’s wedding, elderly parents’ health issues… You get the picture. By August I couldn’t move! I had nothing left in my gas tank to give.
This wasn’t the same experience I’ve had of being overworked and completely burnt out. This was different. There were no specific issues bringing me down other than an accumulation of life events and other people’s needs of me.
The obvious thing for me to do was take a break. And I did. I re-calibrated by enjoying walking, spending lazy evenings with my husband and basking in the warm sun. Of course I didn’t disengage completely. I still worked with my clients and did the household chores. But I gave myself permission to slow right down and put myself first – no guilt, no shame.
It’s autumn now and I’m back in the saddle full speed ahead with my business, social life and energy to burn.
So why is it we have such a hard time giving ourselves a break?
I know, you’ve heard it before – especially if you have family obligations. How you have to take two hours to pamper yourself or meditate just so you can be alone. Great ideas, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m curious about why, when we’re in the middle of “our time”, does guilt rear its ugly head? That little voice in our head asks, “who am I to sit here lounging when there’s so much to do?”
If who’ve read or listened to Brene Brown you know what I’m talking about! And if you haven’t, I highly recommend it. She has the research to back up this intersection of guilt, shame and putting yourself first.
And here’s a reminder to you: you’re living your life for the long game – the marathon. You need down time to refuel your physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional selves.
Trust me when I say it’ll be worth it. A little magic happens when we remove ourselves from the daily grind, noise, or whatever else you call it. It forces us to slow the pace and look inward, which in turn enables us to become open. Openness is the key to aligning to your authentic self and seeing opportunities, possibilities, hearing what others are really saying and experiencing the beauty of the everyday.
Sound a little flaky? It’s not! Sure there’re times when the speed and intensity of your life increases. But living with constant haste should not be your normal. Giving yourself a break more than occasionally is actually how you’re meant to live. I’m not talking about mental health days. This is about building “you time” into your daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly schedules. Your life and those closest to you depend on it.
I went looking for an inspirational quote about guilt to end this blog. I couldn’t find one because guilt is really only useful when you’ve done something detrimental to yourself or others. It isn’t related to doing something right or good for you like taking a much-needed break.
So go ahead and give yourself permission to put yourself first and take a break. It’s that simple. Chances are, others will thank you for it!