This past weekend I ran away from home.
After months of pushing really hard in my business and personal life, I was hitting a massive wall.
It was hard to admit at first, after all - I just home from a week in Punta Cana with my family, and the weekend before that trip I was at an art retreat.
But as most parents know, a vacation with three children is not "relaxing."
I put a lot of pressure on that trip to help me unwind and relax. I should have known better, I've been on trips like that before. While the kids are now old enough to not require me to be ON the entire time, we still had to coordinate a lot of people to do a lot of things, and they're still kids with a lot of energy and a lot of feelings.
I was so tired on that trip that between activities I didn't even have the energy to read a book, and I came home even more tired than when I left.
As an introvert, transitioning to homeschooling my son has meant that I don't have much alone time - and I had been alone for most of the week for the previous six years so this has been a big shift and change for me.
I felt tired ALL the time. I didn't feel like I was thinking clearly any more. I was not working well as a mom or as a business owner.
I was nearing burnout - but it was really hard to admit that when I felt like so many things were going so right. Can you burnout doing things you love? Have you heard people say, “do what you love and it never feels like work.” It’s not true. You can love what you do and still get really tired and burn out from it if you’re not careful.
So, I left Friday afternoon and headed up to the family cottage (which I'm grateful to have access to when needed, but happily would have rented one or an Airbnb for the weekend) and just stopped.
What self-care looks like for me
I took a three-hour nap that went right through dinner time.
I read a book.
I watched Netflix.
I slept whenever I felt tired.
I had meals whenever I felt like it - 11 am, 3 pm, 9 pm.
I ate what I felt like eating whenever I felt like it.
I stared out the window at the trees and the water.
I didn't intend to work but I didn't intend to NOT work.
The more I sank into nothing, the more my brain woke up. New ideas popped into my head. I felt excited about things I haven't felt excited about in a while. I had the bandwidth to contemplate next steps instead of feeling required to do it.
What does self-care look like for you?
We don't all need the same things to take care of ourselves, but we all need to make sure that we stop and think about what works and what doesn't, and we need to make sure we’re not getting too caught up in how we think we SHOULD be feeling and operating.
I work better and smarter when I have more time by myself doing nothing. It's not being lazy or self-indulgent, it's being productive and poised to take on the world.
Moving forward I will guard time for myself even more. I blocked off time in my calendar years ago for quiet and down time but over the last couple of years I filled ALL of that time with parenting stuff and/or appointments for myself to work on my health. Important, but not actually the down and quiet rest time I need. So I'm re-jigging my schedule again, this time to accommodate for parenting time, health time, and ME time.
If I want to be productive and effective in my work, this is mandatory; even though it feels counterintuitive to work less to make more money. We've been taught that the only way to make more money and achieve more success is to work HARDER. As someone who has never worked effectively on a traditional timeline, I need to keep reminding myself that doesn’t work for me.
When's the last time you did something to help yourself this way?