Somehow, the year has flown by and the holidays are right around the corner. This can be an insanely busy season for many people, which makes this period of calm before the storm, the perfect time to reflect on the importance of making some time for yourself.
Earlier this year, I knew that I was in serious need of a getaway. I’d had a pretty rough end to 2016 and the winter was not helping matters at all. I’m usually obsessed with trip planning. I love working out all of the details, from what neighbourhood to stay in and what sights to see, to figuring out the local transportation system. But this time, I just didn’t have it in me to do my usual sort of planning. So my friend and I decided to make it super easy and we booked a one-week stay at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica.
The number one goal of this trip for both my friend and I was relaxation. We intended to get some major sun and beach time in, but we also had items on our to-do list such as excursions off of the resort, partaking in the activities and entertainment that the hotel had to offer and doing some reading and writing.
On our first day, we enthusiastically scoured the schedule of planned activities for the week and noted the things we wanted to do. We also debated about which of the interesting excursions to go on. However, each morning we’d find ourselves not waking up early enough to go to the planned run or tennis lesson. Then the afternoon would roll around and we just couldn’t quite tear ourselves away from our poolside lounge chairs to join in anything either. At nights, we’d enjoy a delicious dinner and take a leisurely stroll around the property, but then we’d walk past the action in the bar and eagerly head to our room to do some reading before lights out at an early hour. And somehow, we never quite got around to booking that excursion off of the resort.
I have to say that we felt a lot of guilt about all of this. How could we travel to Jamaica, not leave the resort and not even fully partake in what the resort had to offer? I hated being “that kind” of traveler. You know, the kind of person who goes to a country but doesn’t actually see it.
The source of my guilt was that familiar struggle — the battle between what I should do, versus what I wanted to do.
I knew that we should have explored and participated, and to an extent, I wanted to. But it was the strangest thing, we could not physically get our bodies in gear! It seemed that our bodies knew that what they really needed and wanted was to slow down and rest. The weeks leading up to our departure for Jamaica were filled with busy days at work, social plans and frenzied trip preparations. The whole reason we planned the trip in the first place was because we needed to unplug and unwind, yet here we were feeling very guilty about fulfilling the intended purpose of our trip.
Many of us are so conditioned to be doing things and we’re unused to, and even uncomfortable with just being — being still, being present, being where we are at that exact moment in time.
The concept of resting when we need to seems like a no-brainer but I have come to realize that many of us have major guilt about taking care of ourselves, resting and doing nothing. It doesn’t come as naturally as one would think and it’s actually become a lot harder for me over the years.
I’ve recently learned the importance of being in tune with my body and really listening to it and giving it what it needs. In the past, I haven’t always picked up on the signs that my body was sending me or I’d flat out ignore its messages. Let’s just say that nothing good came of me missing these warning signals!
So many of us are exhausted by taking care of things in our lives and other people. I know you’ve all heard it before, but it’s so important that it bears repeating...the most important person you can take care of is you! If things aren’t right with you, you won’t have the energy to effectively take care of all the important things and people in your life.
I know it’s hard, but please, every now and then, give yourself permission to pause.
How many of you have difficulty with slowing down or doing nothing? For those of you who are good at this, what suggestions do you have for those of us who find it challenging? I’d love to hear from you!
Alisha Morgan is a personal development coach who believes that if we don’t like the way we currently see ourselves and our lives, we have the power to change if that’s what we really want and if we’re willing to work at it. She works with single women who are tired of waiting to be happy when they meet “The One” and who want to start being happy now! Connect with Alisha on her website or on Facebook or Instagram.
Image courtesy of sasint.