Ever feel like you want to stop the world and get off for a minute? There’s a lot written about wellbeing, but often the answer is simple. Sometimes we get so caught up in the expectations of ourselves and others that we forget to just BE.
You’ll know it’s time to pause and reflect when you feel that you’re constantly chasing your tail and your patience with others is wearing especially thin. Carrying on when you’re out of sorts is like trying to work when you’re exhausted. The best thing to do is to stop, rest, recuperate and then go for it, with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
I took time out this weekend just for me. In silence, in peace and in solitude. I really listened – to my self-talk, my patterns and most importantly, my needs.
“How can I, when there’s so much to do?” I hear you ask.
Taking time out can be whatever you can manage at the time. It could be as little as sitting under a tree and journaling for an hour or doing what I did, which was cancelling all plans and finding somewhere to go on my own for the weekend armed with pens, paper, books, good food and my walking shoes. It’s amazing how generous people are if you’re willing to ask for what you need.
How was it? Wonderful and uncomfortable at the same time.
WARNING – if you’re up for the challenge of taking time to just ‘BE’, you might need a sense of humour. It’s amazing the mind games we play with ourselves and the far-fetched reasoning we use to justify our behaviours to ourselves because we’re so attached to being ‘right’.
When we step outside of the busy-ness of everyday life, we allow ourselves the privilege of simply observing how we operate. That’s the best, cheapest, most effective way of increasing your self-awareness – if you can be honest with yourself, warts and all.
What will I do with all that time?
Based on some sage advice from a good friend of mine, I chose not to overcomplicate the process of reflection. I gave myself the challenge of answering 3 questions over the weekend:
- What do I want?
- What do I need?
- What will I do?
And then I let my days unfold. I listened to my intuition about the next best thing I could do to nurture myself – walk, eat, sleep, swim, read, write, plan, bathe.
In between those activities, I would jot down notes, sometimes just words, in answer to the first 2 questions and at the end of the weekend I look for themes. Those themes told me what was most important and to answer question 3, I came up with 5 clear actions.
“Isn’t it a bit indulgent?”, you might ask.
Yes, it could be viewed as indulgent, but as André Gide said, “Loving yourself isn’t vanity. It’s sanity.”
Without quality reflection time, we run the risk of continuing to do what we know isn’t right for us, doing things the way we’ve always done them instead of taking stock and figuring out what’s serving us and what’s not.
It’s that lack of alignment with what we’re truly capable of that can cause irritation, anxiety, tiredness and a lack of inspiration that others witness, and that we start to believe ourselves if we’re not careful.
Think of it like cleaning out the fridge.
Cleaning out the fridge isn’t much fun, but it’s necessary for our health and that of our families. It feels amazing once it’s done and allows you to see things more clearly and feel more in control. Taking time out for yourself gives you and the people around you the same benefits, but is usually much more enjoyable!
How will you create the alone time you need to reflect?
Here are a few ideas…
💜 Book an adventure on your own – do you prefer beaches, woodlands, mountains, lakes?…
💜 Turn off the TV and your phone, journal instead – let your thoughts flow freely
💜 Walk somewhere new – don’t set a path, use your intuition and see where you end up!
💜 Go outside at 4am and look up at the stars, watch the clouds move, feel the breeze, enjoy the stillness
When you pause, notice what comes up and take positive action.
Ask yourself now, what might you learn?