“Some areas in my life were actually going great but there was still this heaviness about returning back to my day-to-day life.”

Heather Penny, Ph.D.

When’s the last time you took days – not just hours – for your SELF –
to do whatever you wanted? 

Many of you have heard me talk about MeRetreats – a term I use to describe several days away just for yourSELF.  When we are giving constantly to people we love and care about—kids, spouses, aging parents, clients, students, etc.—it’s important to take time out for just you.  And what this looks like on an annual basis is different for everyone.  But it is several days—maybe even weeks away to do whatever makes you feel refreshed.  That’s right don’t skimp on you!  I can’t tell you how many clients are struck with this new concept with, “Am I allowed?  I never thought to do this!  All by myself?  Really?” 
Yep, really.  Go do it.  Plan something once a year.
Last year, I went to Napa for 3 days and had room service, walked by the river, ate delicious food, and art journaled in a vineyard.  It was divine.  Several years ago, I spent several days at a monastery with monks in the high desert for a more contemplative experience.  This year, I spent time in Maui and brought some inspiring books as I walked along the shores each day.  Blissful. 
And here’s what happens:
1. I hear what my heart is trying to tell me that usually gets drowned out by the busy demands of life.

2. I get the space to check what I am believing and if it is helpful or harmful.

3. I make new choices and commitments for how I want to live upon my return. 

So, I just got back from my MeRetreat and here’s what I found out.    
Some areas in my life were actually going great – which made the weariness I was feeling even more confusing.  Running down the list, I assessed each area of my life.  I loved my family with husband and two teens, the overall quality of life we had established, my clients were great, I was enjoying new friendships….but….there was still this heaviness about returning back to my day-to-day life.  Was it just the normal readjustment that comes with returning from vacation or was it more? 
Ahh…yeah…it was more. 
Somewhere along the way, a False Belief had crept in:  I have to take care of everyone else first before I take care of myself.  When had this started?  Probably with the growing needs of two teenagers, partnering with my husband’s successful business, hosting fun events at our home, and staying ahead of my own growing company.  All good things.  I guess that’s why I hadn’t noticed it. 
It was all stuff I loved. 
When things are going well, sometimes this is when the False Beliefs creep in and stay longer without much notice.  I had stopped paying attention to the caring of my heart.  And it was costing me.  I could feel the weariness telling me life wasn’t working as great as I thought.    
So, instead of asking, “How do I keep up with what everyone wants from me?” I asked a better question, “What am I enjoying about my time off that I could take into my day-to-day life?”  This question shifted away from the harsh task-driving one—that pushed me to brink—to a kinder one.  And it reminded me that I am responsible for taking care of myself—or not—body, mind, heart, and spirit.
Choosing to befriend my heart I knew what I was wanting—More Time.  More time throughout my day-to-day rhythm to read, write, workout, enjoy my family, paint, run, etc.  Things I had let go of one by one to keep up with the demands and responsibilities I loved.  Except it was just too much of a good thing.  My heart was weary.     
I was squeezing myself in earlier and earlier until I had stopped enjoying my mornings.  Getting up at 5:00 am and working straight through the day with minimal breaks was wearing on my spirit.  No matter how much I loved my days filled with projects, work, friends, and family events, I had to slow down because my heart was rebelling at the thought of returning to my life.  It was time to put myself first and it was going to need to reflect on my calendar.  Now, I have some mornings (my favorite time of the day) to be just for me. 
You see how time away to rest, play and just BE cares for your spirit and gives you the space to ask the questions you need to be asking? 
This is where 3C Living helps us get the life we crave:

CLARITY – What am I believing that is harmful?

I have to take care of everyone else first before I take care of myself.

CONFIDENCE – What is the True Belief I need to anchor myself in?

It’s my job to take care of me—Mind, Body, Heart, & Spirit –- and doing this allows me to offer my best to the world.  

COURAGE – How do I act on this to align my life with what I choose to believe? 

Schedule time on my calendar and open up several mornings to do things just for me. 
If you are having a hard time answering these questions, it’s probably a sign that you need longer time off.  It’s ok.  I’ve been there.  Be kind to yourself and take the pauses to hear the answers you need.  And once you’ve gotten your Clarity and Confidence, engage your Courage to keep the commitment you make to yourself.  You deserve it. 

My heart is with you and for you,