How much space have you created for yourself this summer? How does your diary work? Are you prioritising work, rest or play?
I found myself becoming stressed and anxious last week as I contemplated the sheer number of commitments in my diary this summer. I have a strong work ethic and as a self- employed person a sense of financial responsibility can morph into the belief that I need all the work I can get. Working around my son as I do, in one way, this is certainly true. However, from another angle, can I do all the work I can get?
The answer is ‘possibly’ but begs the question ‘should I?’ The answer to that is most certainly no. Last week my body all but ground to a halt. It happens periodically and I am reminded that I am not indestructible. I am not Wonder Woman. I need a break.
It was the act of going through my diary looking to create a window for that break that brought me to a state of anxiety. I’ve been going about this all the wrong way. This why planning ahead is so important.
In the midst of a busy work and family life it can be difficult to give ourselves permission to look ahead. We need to carve out that time before anything else is planned. Restorative time is a must. Without it life can so easily be filled to the brim with responsibilities and even hobbies that play no role in restoring us. They nurture us in different ways, but we expend energy on them.
Space to Be
Take a moment and contemplate the coming week or month. How does it make you feel? Is your summer all planned out? Are your holidays booked in? Have you given yourself space to prepare or rest on a weekly basis so that when holiday arrives you are not completely exhausted?
We would never run an engine until the fuel tank is empty. It’s incredibly bad for it, and over time it will destroy it. Why do we give less consideration to our bodies?
How about six month down the line? How frequently do you need to take a longer rest? How much rest do you need in a day? How much rest do you take?
Leaving Space Empty
When we create space we have trained ourselves immediately to ‘do’ something with it. So how about we plan space ahead and just DON’T fill it? No excuses to anyone, no justifications. Nobody else (except within hours of employment) gets to dictate what you do with your time.
You are the best judge of how your time should be used. If somebody gets frustrated with you for taking time off consider whether it is your responsibility or theirs. If it is not yours, they are probably frustrated because they haven’t created space for themselves. Perhaps that’s why they resent you doing it.
Space doesn’t have to cost a load of money. Stay with sympathetic friends, or stay home and turn off the wifi, take walks in the woods. Everything will be there when you get back.
There are two short spaces in my summer schedule that are clearable. Some days may not work for my son; some may not work for my partner. As I write, I’m beginning to think perhaps I need them both. What’s to stop me? I would be a little poorer in cash, but much, much richer in heart.
If you’re ready to plan some serious retreat time for you once summer has said goodbye, I’m running a Nourish & Restore retreat in December in sunny Mexico! Click here to see details.