The Best Thing I've Ever Done For Myself in 2 Years

It’s been 2.5 years since I hit the RESET button and personally I think I waited too long, but I had no choice.  

Life happens, you have a child and before you know it, time is taken up with the endless to-do list, caring for a little person and the idea of time-out for yourself for the things you love takes a back seat in life.  

Since my daughter was 6 months I had been dying to get away on my own for a weekend or a week (ok, actually I’d been dreaming of a month on my own!).  

The first 6 months of motherhood for me was tough, as it is for many other new mothers out there.  The thing is at 3 months my daughter had an accident and it set me back in getting into the flow of life by another 2 - 3 months, emotionally and mentally.  

I’m a go-getter, a doer and I was used to being independent and being able to do whatever I wanted to.  But the universe had other plans and was trying to teach me a lesson.

A lesson in patience and slowing down.  
A lesson of letting go of being “in control” and wanting to do the work I love.

A lesson of taking all my energy and focusing it on this little human being that I had created, instead of myself.

Most importantly these months it reminded me to go with the flow and just be.  Something I was pretty good at after my father passed away, when nothing else in the world mattered and I just flowed through the moment of change and grief in order to emerge with a new perspective in life and work.  

So I tried to do the same.  I allowed myself to just be and to take each day as it came, but I still had this burning desire inside of me to be the Grace I was before I had my daughter.  

To wake up each morning, have time to myself for my morning routine, to have the hours to do what I loved most. To have time to travel to reset and recalibrate with my bigger vision and intentions in life.  To have creative space and white space.  To immerse myself in a week away, reading, writing, being and strategising my lifework or just damn doing anything I felt like that would nourish my soul.

This was essential to me.  Throughout my pregnancy and after having my daughter I was determined to not lose my identity in the same way that I had seen so many other mothers I had worked with over the years lose theirs.  This time away would allow me to get back in touch with myself and my needs, my desires, my vision. 

Problem is I struggled to get that time away with myself, so instead I immersed myself in podcasts, online courses and anything that could continue to stimulate my brain and creativity or further develop me as an individual.  I used the times during our morning or afternoon walks, when she would sleep, to reconnect with the things that allow me to grow as a person in mind and spirit (body not so much! but that's another article!)  

In reflection, over the past 10 years where I've come to major pivotal moments in my life (4 to be exact) the two biggest things for me to do was to:

1. Immerse myself in books, writing, mind-mapping my thoughts and vision, learning in any shape or form for my mind and spirit in particular. 

2. Remove myself from the current environment I was in and getaway to solitude for anywhere up to a month if I was lucky.  This time provided me the opportunity to reconnect with myself and what I wanted to do, be, have.  To continue learning, visioning and listening to my soul.  

Although I wasn’t able to control the situation, I was able to control my emotions, my sanity and make the best out of the time I had away from work.  Let's be real though, my sanity wasn't always intact! Blame it on the hormones.

But I was still dreaming…

Dreaming of that time away for myself, to be selfishly alone.

Fast forward here I am 16 months into motherhood and I’ve just come back from a much needed 4 day getaway all ALONE!

And holy moly….it’s the bloody best thing ever that’s happened to me in the past 2.5 years.  

I hit the RESET button and re-calibrated every single bit of me!  In my past life this was something I did at least every 6 months, sometimes quarterly and oh man have I missed it.

Whether your a new mother, a new father, parents of multiple kids, single, divorced or in a relationship, a too busy working professional or entrepreneur….

LISTEN UP….

You should never be too busy or too consumed in life to make time to get away on your own and have that moment of solitude to do whatever it is you need to rejuvenate yourself and your mind (and your body).

It is only when you remove yourself from your current environment can you really review, reassess and deeply reconnect with who you are, what you’ve achieved and where you want to go or who you want to become.  Only when you do this will you have moments of clarity and breakthroughs. This has been something I’ve believed in for the past 10 years and even became one of the foundations for building our retreats at The Change School.  

This weekend reminded me of a bunch of things that I wanted to share with you all.  

  1. Selfish isn’t a dirty word.  In order to give back to the world, to your family, to your relationships, to your community you need to make yourself a priority.  Your happiness, your energy and your own mental wellbeing depends on you taking time out for yourself.

  2. Short stints of solitude in your daily routine are great but you need longer stints of solitude, away from your everyday environment so that you can get a bigger picture of the life you want, reflect on your current situation and past experiences in order to move forward with more clarity and confidence.

  3. White space and time to just do nothing allows you to take in your surroundings with a new lense and start seeing all the colours in life instead of just black and white.  It also harnesses and nurtures our imagination and our creativity, breaks the pattern of everyday life thinking.

  4. Letting your mind wander and having time to do nothing for an extended period of time actually allows you to do more.

  5. When you can start putting a vision together of what you want for yourself and in your life, it’s amazing how much of it you actually accomplish, even if it might seem like you’re not moving as quickly as you would like.

  6. Time away allows you to do all the things that might actually be weighing down other parts of your life or work from moving forward.   The big hairy goals stuff, the creative stuff, the strategy stuff, the stuff we know is important but put last on our list because we think we don’t have the time to do it when all these small tasks keep coming to us.  We end up being reactive vs proactive, prioritising the wrong things and then wonder why we’re not moving the bigger pieces of our picture.

  7. Moments of solitude allow us to listen to our intuition more and be more aware of it.

  8. Focus happens when the distractions around us are limited - as humans we are more likely to absorb the energy and the habits of our environment. Similar to my point above, this just re-affirms the reason behind removing ourselves from our everyday environment.  

  9. Doing things alone is awesome and I’ve missed it!  You really learn to appreciate your own company, moving at your own pace and doing whatever it is your heart desires.

  10. Gratitude = abundance.  By reflecting on things this weekend a big thing that’s been resurfacing in my life the past 6 months is GRATITUDE.  The more we are grateful the more abundant our life is and becomes. It’s something I’ve believed in as well for a long time but it’s easy to forget about and I have new energy around this in my life.  

  11. Release everything.  I worked on releasing a lot of things I was holding on to this weekend. I recently became reacquainted with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and I’m totally hooked again. EFT is a simple healing tool that really lays the foundations for releasing and expanding your emotional freedom.  For the past two weeks I’ve been doing EFT at different times of the day and this weekend I made it a must do every morning as part of my routine. If you don’t release your emotional energy it makes it really difficult for us to move forward with lightness and openness to what might come our way.  

  12. Mindset is everything.  

  13. Don’t block your calendar to maximum capacity, the more you fill up your calendar the less room you leave for creativity to emerge.  Reminder - Parkinsons Law

  14. Be unapologetically yourself.  This weekend really reminded me that I need to go back to being me, to embracing me.  Being unapologetically YOU doesn’t mean you don’t think of others or care for other, instead it’s about valuing yourself and your self-worth, being 100% RAW and REAL.  Loving yourself is essential in order to love others and it’s something that so many people forget about.

  15. Trust the universe and remain in flow.  A big one for me as there’d been so much stress over the past 16 months on so many levels and I forgot to allow myself to just trust the process, remain in flow and be ok with where things are.  

If you’re looking at how to get the most of time out for yourself I’ve put together a few suggestions below:

  1. Schedule it in the calendar.  If you don’t plan in advance to make time out it will never happen.

  2. Leave your current city, town, country if you can.  Go somewhere near nature, or the beach, or a place you know will be a sanctuary for you.

  3. Set an intention for the weekend.  I like to have a word or two - or a quote for the time I go away. 

  4. Structure your getaway as best as you can.  Before you get to where you’ve planned to go, try and put a rough structure of your days but be fluid and adaptable as you might feel differently when you get there.

  5. Be prepared to ask yourself some big questions, the things that we don’t always make time to do when we’re caught up in the busyness of life.  I always ask myself what do I want to do, be, have and am I still aligned with my deeper self and desires, values etc.

  6. Forget about the time and be present.  You have nowhere to be so don’t watch the clock.

  7. Pay attention to your true-self.

  8. Absorb your surroundings and take in every little thing around you.

“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are  afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.”

-Deepak Chopra

Thank you to my best friends, Solitude and the Beach! May we see each other soon again.

Now I’m ready to get back to my life and work and my little cling-on, aka daughter

P.S. I didn’t cut off technology this weekend but I did limit my use of the internet to connect with others, although at times in the past I had specific weekends away where I would completely remove myself from technology.  This weekend away was really time for me in whatever way I wanted to use it and not have a little one attached to me every waking hour.