Little Break, Big Reward

Sharon & SarahLast week my best friend from college visited. Even though I was in charge of showing her the beauties of Oregon for a few days I still felt like I was on vacation. Amazing what a couple of unscheduled, unhurried days did for my rhythm, my psyche.

 If you’re like me you sometimes crave LARGE chunks of time to unwind and restore. Yet I’m always surprised by the huge impact that can come from small moments.  

I just finished a coaching session with a woman who’s been working long, long hours. On top of a grueling schedule she’s been dealing with some stressful personal issues that demand her attention. Stuff that can be physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. Stuff that means she feels emotional pain over loss. Stuff to which she must attend.  

 Today was a brief respite from the intensity. While she was looking forward to a less scheduled day, she also felt the pressure (her own assigned pressure) to take some action, actually make that to push, forward on some of her awaiting projects.

“Down Days”

Actually she’d taken the last two days as “down days.” But as day three threw back the curtains she realized she really needed a couple of weeks of  “down days.”

She felt tired. A bit depressed. Weary really.

And yet her mind said, “If I take the day off from work, my pile will grow higher. My work flow will continue to suffer.”

Her belief was that to get relief, to renew deeply, she needed a significant chunk of time. And right now she doesn’t feel like she can take that time. She felt doomed to push forward, deeper into a place called “weary.”

Brief Respite

I invited her to do an exercise. She was sitting outside her home on a lawn chair in her rural yard.  Her trusty dog at her feet, she was enjoying the summer weather as we chatted via phone. The exercise took maybe two minutes. She was surprised that she felt a little better. Afterwards she said, “Oh, I guess I could allow small times of renewal rather than wait for the more expansive times off.”

I’m all for extended retreats. A weekend in the mountains, a week at a destination spa, a month in an isolated area…

But there are times where those types of getaways feel impossible.  You might have things that require your attention…family, work, home, animals, community.

Yet most of us can carve out small chunks.

Don’t underestimate the power of renewal that can come from these small chunks of time. Not only can they work to fill you back up when you’re depleted, I encourage my clients to integrate these types of renewal into their regular scheduling. That way they’re way less likely to get “ugly burned out.”

If the idea of a wee chunk of time focused on resting, filling up, or getting some significant traction on a project is appealing, then check out the upcoming virtual retreat.

Participants at the last event used the time for what they needed: rest, nurture time, play, and focused productivity. How would you use four hours of unscheduled time?