Wellness: On taking a break for YOU
Wellness: On taking a break for YOU
Almost 3 months ago, to the day, I quit my job. On the spot. There were a series of events that led up to that exhilarating (and terrifying moment), but looking back now, I don’t have a single regret on how I chose to leave. The day after I quit my job, I boarded a plane to Iceland. Three days after I got back from Iceland, I boarded a flight to my new company’s headquarters to start training for my new job. Three days after I returned from initial training, my husband came home from Iraq the night before my 26th birthday after 8 months away.
Since my birthday, I’ve spent almost all my time navigating my new job and spending preciously missed time with my husband. I’ve also managed to squeeze in a trip to Hawaii with my love, another week long work trip, and a long weekend home to Minnesota.
This is not all one giant excuse for neglecting the blog. Although if it helps, feel free to reread all the above 😉
No this is me saying periods of constant motion and excitement and highs can be incredibly wonderful, and also immensely draining. I haven’t finished one book or taken time to journal or done yoga or enjoyed a cup of tea until this past week, and I finally realized I need to slow. down.
This isn’t saying I haven’t had down time because trust me, I have. My husband and I have spent plenty of relaxing evenings and weekends catching up on episodes of Shameless, Stranger Things, Black-ish, Grey’s Anatomy, etc. I’ve met up with friends and old coworkers for happy hours and dinners, and planned weekends filled with good company. But I haven’t taken time for me, just me, to do the things that fill up my soul in so long.
My grandpa passed away last week. My mom had warned us kids about his health for weeks, but it still hit me hard when I got the call. His passing has left me with warm memories from my childhood, but it’s also has me thinking about life and death. It’s brought bouts of tears, has had me on my knees praying, and even taking moments to meditate.
It’s reminded me the importance of taking a break. Not just to catch up on Netflix or to clean my house or run errands. But to literally stop and smell the flowers, and allow myself to feel any emotions they bring. To sit down in a quiet room with a hot beverage and a blank piece of paper and allow words to flow. To remember that fitness is great, but movement to become more in tune with your body (yoga! hiking! running!) can do more wonders than a workout with intentions to solely lose weight. To let myself think about life and death, and cope healthily with the emotions and questions philosophizing brings.
I have a tendency to let high highs be followed by low lows. Living in Alaska caused a lot of this roller coaster of emotions, and thankfully I feel a lot more balanced as a person now, but I truly think neglecting the moments and activities meant for your soul can be detrimental to this process. It’s moments when I’m meditating or writing or setting my daily intentions that keep me balanced and in check. When I remind myself why I should be grateful each morning, I have a tendency to not have a post-vacation crash of feeling sad and overindulgent. When I take the time to write, whether for the blog or journaling, I come away a lot more at peace and accomplished then when I sit down.
Taking a break for yourself doesn’t necessarily have to be an activity. It could be to pray or meditate or even cry. But there is a lot of personal fulfillment to be found in a hobby done alone, and taking whatever break you need to from friends or significant others or kids to do it. Maybe for you it’s volunteering or singing or baking or napping or practicing makeup tutorials or fishing or what have you! Just find your soul-filling pursuits and get away from the crazy hustle and bustle of life to do them.
I am making a promise to myself this week to finish the book I started 3 weeks ago, to write this blog post and maybe one more, to enjoy two long runs, and to set daily/weekly intentions. Tip: The Five Minute Journal is my favorite app to help with becoming intentional and grateful each day. I challenge myself to be really specific and thoughtful when filling this out, and it still only takes 10 minutes or less from your day.
Filling my days with events and vacations and plans with friends is exciting and completely normal, but there is so much healing and growth found in slowing down. I would challenge anyone who reads this today to make yourself a cup of coffee (or cocoa or tea!) and light a candle you love the scent of and position yourself next to a window or nook in your home that makes you smile, and ask yourself what three things you’re thankful for today. Get detailed. Say it out loud. Let it fill you up.
Not to be terribly cliche, but life is so fleeting. And of course you should fill it with the people you love and surround yourself with good company often, but I firmly believe you should also take time for you. Take moments to reflect and to do things that bring you personal joy. And don’t do it for the Instagram. Do it for your mental and spiritual health. Find what fills your soul, and create time for it each week.
This topic was top of mind for me when I sat down to write this morning, and I think it’s because life will not be slowing down any time soon. Between the holidays, a Christmas vacation to Florida, work trips, and a couple of big moves coming for the Mr. and I in 2018 (stay tuned!) – I am going to need to take my own advice about taking a break for ME now more than ever.
Hope all of you can, too.