By Jennifer Blair
When is the last time you really got away? Where have you been lately that has allowed you to mentally leave your work behind, enjoy time off, relax, create a new memory and really do what you want? With summer in full swing and life’s pace a bit slower, I am thinking about downtime, vacations, and escaping, and what it means to fully take a break. What purpose does time off from the mundane serve and do you really know how to get away?
There is no doubt that taking breaks can nurture the body, mind and soul. Our society supports time off in many different forms such as coffee breaks, weekend getaways, the traditional 2-3 weeks of vacation time and sabbaticals. People have become especially good at getting out of the daily and weekly grind by engaging in activities that fill-up their tanks. Meditating, working out, reading books, being outside, daydreaming, seeing movies, socializing, lunching and dinnering, being alone, having technology-free or spa days, taking bubble baths, going on short getaways but even these respites can become part of the busyness.
So, I wonder if these smaller activities are enough to truly be sustainable? Are you taking the longer breaks that provide joy, fun, adventure and learning? When it comes to long-term health and happiness, are you balancing the leisure interests, hobbies and grounding tools with the full on present peak experiences and adventures that produce greater fulfillment? Are you stopping long enough to reflect on life’s comings and goings, or simply adding a vacation to the already too long “to do” list? Here are some good enough reasons to halt.
With the Busyness of Life, Why Stop and Take a Break?
To getaway from the mundane and routine
To create self awareness by noticing who you have become
To find new inspiration and creativity
To be fully present
To see beauty in your surroundings and situation
To remember why you made the choices that you did
To avoid burnout
To check-in and see if yesterday’s goals still fit tomorrow’s dreams
To connect with the people you treasure
To tap into your intuition
To generate a new vision and action plan
To have fun
To learn something new
To rejuvenate, relax and breathe a little easier
To get clear about life transitions and determine the next best steps
To re-prioritize and change direction, if needed
To create a more colorful archive of your life
To come back to yourself
From spiritual practices to carnal pleasures, I have learned that the everyday habits and positive endeavors support us in creating balance, connection, productivity and grounding. The short retreats, whether they are healthy diversions or dreamy experiences, give us a sense of freedom, re-charging and fun. And, the bigger adventures assist us in reaching our pinnacle. Decide what you want to do daily, weekly, monthly and annually. Replace “someday” with today, and start planning an aspiring adventure of a lifetime. Here is a coaching exercise to get you started.
Coaching Process to a Create Your Next Life Experience:
1. Make a list of things you need a break from.
2. Brainstorm a list of the experiences you would like to have.
2. Decide how much time (an hour, a day, a week or longer), money (Zero, $100, $1000 or more) and energy you need for each one?
3. Choose your 1st, 2nd and 3rd priorities; and then generate an action item for each of those.
4. Next, craft a stretch goal… what is your new big escape, getaway activity, dream vacation or immersion that you long for?
5. Now, take the next step in making your vision a reality.
Life Coach Jennifer Blair is founder of Excavive Coaching & Consulting in Louisville, KY. Her work focuses on empowering individuals to pursue their passions, increase their self confidence and build their authentic lives through personal and professional life coaching, creative and entrepreneurial consulting, inspirational speaking, writing, and occasionally, teaching salsa dancing. She is the author of The True You: Tools to Excavate, Explore and Evolve. Her website is excavive.com and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502.893.9589.