A Week off for You: Not Selfish but Necessary for Resiliency, Creativity, and Productivity
You know that feeling you get when you feel you’re juggling so many balls that you’re worried today might just be the day that they’ll all come crashing down? Or that someone important to you – your kids, your partner, the person who signs your paycheque – will figure it out that your efforts to keep it all going is actually seriously detracting from them? If you can’t relate, that’s awesome. You have rocked balance! I think I speak for the rest of us when I ask, what is your secret? If you can relate, however, let me tell you what I decided to do that morning when I felt so gripped with dread that I knew had to do something different.
I normally jump out of bed, but one day in late fall 2013, I felt like there were lead blocks encasing my feet, leaving me unable to move let alone jump. A flood of “to dos” came rushing through my head that felt like an insurmountable mental weight pressing down on me. Apathetically I felt like it was better to stay in bed then face it. Sorry for sounding overly dramatic, and for those of you with psychology backgrounds, no it was not depression (I’ve experienced that too post birth of my children). Self diagnosis: I was in a complete and utter state of overwhelm.
I did manage to get out of bed, but with the explicit promise to myself that I would book a week off when the kids were in school so that I could spend time on me. I could picture it like I was watching a home movie. No racing out of bed exhausted. Yoga classes during the day. Reflection time. Reading books (for fun!) Some more reflection time… I booked that week off for a few months from that day (heaven forbid I reschedule any meetings in my calendar!) And I counted down the days like a child waits for Santa.
Prescription: A Week Off
That week for me was one of the best things I have ever done. I felt recharged, like I had slept 100 days. I had more clarity about what I most needed and wanted. This was facilitated in part from a series of reflection exercises (yes, I did have to schedule them all – I wasn’t going to sacrifice my inclination to plan in my efforts to get relaxed!) The most powerful one was creating a Vision Board, and activity I had wanted to do for a long time. It was such an insightful experience, and yet I also felt a little sad about what I learned about myself. I needed to get outside into nature more, begin to travel, bake homemade meals, and spend more quality time with my kids. The setting was a house in the country, and I lived in a subdivision. There were word themes around living into my next chapter of my life. In other words, big changes from what my life looked like. I was scared that what my heart (or what come call “the Universal Mind”) was telling me was that life needed to look quite different what it did in that moment. Despite this, I felt a warmth when I allowed myself to picture myself there. A seed of energy growing within me, like a new life forming; that life was my best life in my ideal future.
Treatment: Remain Curious and Open
Despite how intimidating it was, I let that energy grow. And sure enough, much to my amazement to this day, less than a year after I created the Vision Board, every one of those themes came true. I didn’t force it. Life just came together.
I can’t overemphasize how important that Vision Board was for me at that time in my life. How one afternoon of reflection pulled all the things I had been wrestling with together and allowed me to see it as a whole. I think it allowed me to intuitively stay connected with all the important elements that would allow me to live into my best life. All made possible because I took some time for myself to just sit back and reflect.
Do you take time out to reflect? Have you created your ideal future through an exercise like a Vision Board? If not, I encourage you to do so. On this site, I have instructions on how to do this and other reflections like it. I don’t think you’ll regret a single moment of it!
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