Every August my boys and I head out to Colorado to stay with my parents for a few weeks. It is a very special time of year for us. We have very little planned or scheduled, we go on hikes, we ride horses, and we eat amazing food, much of which comes straight from the garden. It is wonderful, rejuvenating, and lots and lots of fun!
But in the past two years, as my business has grown, I have had to do more and more work while I am in Colorado and have had to try to find a balance between working and vacationing. This time around I have found it really difficult to turn my work brain off, especially with so many exciting things happening this Fall (like the 10-Day Cooking Challenge and this family-friendly workshop). And yesterday, after a morning of working, I found that I was grumpy, stressed, and having trouble engaging with my boys. My mom, being the insightful woman she is, noticed and suggested that she and my dad take the boys so I could work more and maybe go for a walk. I guiltily took them up on the offer, and off they went.
When they left I thought to myself: “Ok. I’ll just work while they are gone, that will get me into a better mood.” And then something small, but powerful happened that reset my day. I set down to work. I was busy getting things checked off my list when a blog post showed up on my feed about the importance of self-care. Just seeing the title (confession: I didn’t even read the post) was enough of a wake-up call. At that moment I knew: more than getting work done I needed to practice some self-care.
So I quickly finished up what I was working on and took off for a short hike. As soon as I was outside and moving, I knew I had made the right choice. My mood immediately lifted and I started to see beauty in the world again. I saw a very elderly couple walking along the path. He had a breathing tube in his nose and was clearly very frail. She was holding his arm and on her hips was a bag holding his oxygen tank. It was a beautiful testimonial to love and commitment. I kept climbing and came to this view.
And then this one.
And then, as I came back down I ran into this guy munching away.
He was calm, I was calm. And I got as close to him as I have ever been to a deer. We made eye contact. It was such a quiet and peaceful moment.
The hike was only an hour, but when I got home I felt rejuvenated, relaxed, and inspired. The energy that I had gained in that short time gave me the momentum to get a ton of work done, play with my boys, and make a delicious dinner for my whole family.
All of this was a great reminder for me of the importance of self-care. When we are busy, when we are juggling a lot, when we are trying to balance it all, the first thing to go is often our own care. I don’t know about you, but for me, when I let that self-care slip I have noticed that the quality of my focus, energy, and work decreases. In short, I get burnt out. And yet when I am juggling so much, I forget that. I tell myself that I don’t have the time. I tell myself that it isn’t worth it. But it is!
Taking time for ourselves is essential, even when it means letting something else slip for a little bit. Taking that time allows us to be more present, to have the energy, to have the motivation. So for me, this experience has taught me a lesson, that undoubtedly I will need to be reminded of again, it has taught me that my time for me is important. I have learned that I need to protect time for me, not only for my sanity, but also so that I can be present and engaged in all other aspects of my life.