“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including YOU!” – Anne Lamott
I’ve never felt this great at the beginning of a year before! The first 3 months of 2018 have been some of the most invigorating, exciting, and fulfilling times I’ve had in a while. Normally, I start out energized and begin working on my goals for the year, but by March, the drive dwindles and I no longer have the motivation to keep the fire burning. This year has been different. I was determined to come for everything I wanted. Therefore, I set professional goals in both my full-time and part-time career jobs. I fully committed to my newest passion project and business—my blog (and all that comes with it). And last but not least, I made the most challenging and rewarding commitment to achieve my long-time personal fitness goals. I can say that I have fearlessly and faithfully taken all of these goals by storm! However, while all of this is great and wonderful—I AM EXHAUSTED! I promised myself that in everything I would choose me and that included not pushing myself beyond my limits. So, I needed a break from everything and a break is exactly what I took.
The Art of Doing Nothing
Two weeks ago, I was off work for spring break and spent 5 days in Kauai, Hawaii while attending a professional conference. Normally when I visit a new place, I am super ambitious, full of energy, and have a set itinerary of things to do while there. And of course, I take thousands of photos and videos to document my experience. I do this because I love creating memories and sharing them with others. But, this time I wanted to enjoy everything in peace. I wanted to be fully present to learn new information and network with colleagues. I wanted to disconnect from social media. I wanted to spend quality time with God and Ashley. I wanted to read, take private walks on the beach, listen to new music, and spend time with a loved one. I even left my phone in the hotel room or put on airplane mode during the day to completely dial into where I was. And to seal the deal, it rained the first two days while I was there, so I was forced to relax and “do nothing” within the confines of my hotel room. It’s funny how “doing nothing” can “do everything” for your mental health. After all, “doing nothing” is a form of self-care. Which, to my surprise it actually felt amazing! And that was the purpose of this trip—nothing more and nothing less.
Sorry, not sorry!
At first I felt guilty. The “Type A” part of me kept whispering “you don’t deserve a break—it’s just March!” But the new me knew differently. I NEEDED a break. At times, I can be very hard on myself and my own worst critic. The new me gifted myself grace, let go of imaginary expectations that others had of me, and chose to tune in with myself over the criticism of “Type A”. I left my worries, cares and responsibilities where they stood and resolved that I would deal with it all when I returned and not a moment before. I learned a lot during my trip that I probably wouldn’t have if I didn’t unplug and tune into myself. I met some amazing new people from other parts of the world and had thought-provoking conversations. And last but not least, I had time to begin writing in my travel journal. Surprisingly, as much as I travel I had never done this before!
Life is a Marathon, not a Sprint
I say all of that to say that sometimes you need to take breaks and evaluate yourself, your needs, and your health in order to propel you in to the next chapter of your life. Every next level will require a different you. It is okay to unplug and dial-in to yourself. It is okay to take a break when you need it, so that you can recharge. I felt myself and my spirit bursting at the seams from fatigue. I was trying to do it all and be everything for everyone else except Ashley. I learned to never get lost in other people’s expectations of me and to be careful not to have unrealistic expectations of myself. I learned that it is okay to have goals and dreams and to be ambitious. What’s not okay is when I don’t have balance, when I am stretching myself too thin and when I don’t listen to my mind, body and spirit when it is pleading for rest. I am so happy that I allowed myself a space of grace. To bask in the present moment, to celebrate right now and all that I achieved thus far. I truly believe that if I hadn’t intervened and took a breath, that I would have become completely drained and I wouldn’t be able to achieve my goals in the end. Last but not least, I learned that self-improvement is a journey, not a destination. That life is a marathon, not a sprint!