It has been busy in my world the last month or so. Yesterday (Halloween) was just about the most perfect weather you could order in Southeastern PA. So, I decided to chuck it all, take a vacation day and clear my calendar. There is nothing better than a hike in the woods and a chance to marvel at the fall migration of hawks at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary to soothe the soul. Top it off with some Halloween play time at the neighbor’s haunted display and it makes for a perfect autumn day. So, why am I telling you all this?
Well, sometimes you just have to take an unscheduled break in the middle of the busyness to simply regroup and enjoy the moment. Do I hear you saying, “…but I can’t….I’m too busy…the work I do is too important….my boss needs me…I’d feel guilty doing something so selfish…”? If so, you sound like most of the planet, at least in the stressed out, overdone metropolitan areas in the Northeast which is about all I have personal experience with. Let me ask you this… if you dropped dead tomorrow, what then? Would you feel guilty about dying and leaving work projects undone? Probably not, that’s what I thought.
Why then do we as women seem to be so hung up on not taking a break? Is it the straight world “superwoman” mentality? Is it because we are achievement oriented women who can only feel like we matter if we’re generating nonstop stellar results? Have we simply forgotten how to disconnect and have fun? Perhaps it is all of these and more…
While I can’t convince you that you’re worth it and deserve a play day now and then (only you can do that), what I can do is share with you a little of what gifts this last minute fun day provided me.
Uninterrupted time with my partner
We are usually so busy (especially with me working a day job and building my business) that quality time gets relegated to the weekends. Well, there are 5 days during the week and 2 (2 1/2 if you consider Friday night) on the weekend. You do the math and see who is getting shortchanged here.
Extended time in nature
I love being out in nature. If you’ve read my other posts and newsletters (Keys to Happiness: A Canadian Rockies Recap, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Wildlife) you know I thrive with my outdoor adventures and that the lessons to be found there are limitless.
A mirror into how I treat myself
Parts of the trail were extremely rocky and I found my knees and ankles hurting and I kept tripping over things. I was frustrated, annoyed, and pissed off at myself and my body. At one point I launched into a mental pity party and started to have a mini meltdown throwing my Hawk Mountain Sanctuary to soothe the soul. hiking poles on the ground. Interesting thing is — nature doesn’t really give a crap. It just IS. The only real change that could happen would be for me to shift my thinking and messages I gave myself (which I eventually did).
Disconnecting and Re-connecting
There is nothing like being in the woods, watching the hawks and the wildlife to let me disconnect entirely. No email, blogs, cell phones, telephones, or meetings. Just me and the moment. While I did see someone hiking and talking on the cell phone (excuse me, but why bother?!?!?), for me the trail is a sacred space and a place to just BE.
A good tired
Unlike my mental treadmill that goes on every day, this day resulted in a good tired. A day spent physically exerting myself, breathing fresh air, soaking up the sun, and having deep conversations and connections with my partner Kim. The end of the day comes with a “good tired” and a deep, replenishing sleep.
Granted, today it is back to the regular routine and plenty of work. However, I truly believe these mini vacations are crucial if you are planning on being your creative best and wildly successful. I always come back from them energized, inspired, and able to be much more productive than I would otherwise. No one has ever been inspired by someone on the brink of collapse or someone who lives like a martyr; what makes you think you should live that way?
When did you last take a mini-vacation free of guilt and life’s daily routine? If it has been more than a few weeks, I challenge you to plan one in the next few weeks. You won’t regret it.