Hello there — I’m back! I was gone on vacation these past 2 weeks, and while I had intended to post on my trip, it just didn’t happen. I found myself relaxing deeper and deeper into just being. And since being is the stuff I preach on my blog, I thought I should give myself over completely to the experience.
This trip came at the end of an 8-week window between jobs — and what a blessing that was! I have not had that kind of time off since I started working in college, and while I have certainly taken vacations, I have never had the experience of not having my job’s “to do” list in my head.
And I learned something interesting about myself and that is that my mind likes to noodle things, even worry about them. If there is something that needs to be handled, or fixed, or even simply done, I keep thinking about it. I knew this about myself but I kind of assumed that it was a function of my go-getter personality.
But guess what? When I didn’t have something to worry about (i.e., my job), my mind calmed down and I just blissed out. Huh. Who knew? It was such a new sensation — and I loved it! I literally did not worry — I just went with the flow and enjoyed each day in a deep sense of peace and calm.
It’s not like I just laid around and slept — I read books, knitted, innertubed, fished, explored, and shopped…but I did not worry. And once my brain got into the rhythm of not worrying, I just hung out there for as long as possible.
Hence why I didn’t post — I just stayed in the bliss of being and didn’t get worked up about things I ought to do. It was awesome! And the cool thing is that now that I know what that feels like, I think I can hang on to it.
I started my new job this week (at Lynda.com) and I am very excited to be there. I felt rested and rejuvenated in ways I have not in a long time. But my new practice will be leaving the noodling/worrying behind as I drive home. I realized that before, I did not have emotional barriers set up between my professional and personal life and that allowed challenges at work to taint my time at home. My rest time.
Our rest is so important to our physical and emotional wellbeing. Not only is it vitally important that we take our vacations, but that we truly unplug from responsibility, thinking, and worrying. This is much more challenging with all the media devices we have at our fingertips. I couldn’t check my work email on my trip because I didn’t have a work email. But when I do again, I plan to literally severe the connection (did you know that you can turn “off” your email so that it doesn’t get sent to your device?) so that I can’t know what is going on during the precious time I have to be away. Consider implementing that policy for yourself as well.
In addition, I am working on ways to leave work at the office on evenings and weekends. I often pick up my devices and check my email because I am bored — and of course, once I do, I have something new to think/worry about. But I learned that boredom is the gateway to relaxation and reflection. If we constantly stop ourselves from experiencing what we think is boredom, we are actually shortchanging ourselves from experiencing rejuvenation.
It makes me wonder how much of our anxiety and depression stems from just not getting enough “down time”. I know that for myself and many others, there is definitely a connection. So consider taking a media break when you leave work. Just try it for a week and see what happens. Notice how often it tempts you and resist the urge. After a few days, you may have a whole new outlook on life and rest.