I just returned home from a yoga retreat in Kauai called Barefoot Business Breakthrough. I have a million-and-one things to share with you, but for today I will start with perhaps the most important insight: Create space for YOU. Just YOU. Free yourself from the responsibilities of taking care of anyone or anything else, even if just for a moment. Make time to nourish your mind, your body, and your soul.
Sounds like a whole lot of "me, me, me", right? This concept may seem selfish, or even downright impossible with your current life schedule. However, creating this space is the very thing that will help you to be a better partner, a better parent, and a better friend. Why? Because this space allows you to check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Are you fulfilled? Are you happy on your current path, or do you need a shift? Space allows you time to do the things that nourish you. This may be as simple as an uninterrupted conversation or as extravagant as a trip to another culture.
Take a moment to think about one of the first instructions you hear from the flight attendants before take-off: "In the event of loss of cabin pressure, put your mask on first before assisting others". This statement rings true far beyond the confines of an airplane, and can be taken a step further to ensure you prepare not only an able body but also a sharp mind and a healthy soul. When you show up as your highest self (with your oxygen mask securely fastened), you are serving your partner, kids, and friends abundantly more than when you are slogging through the day-to-day grind, where there doesn't seem to be ample air for anyone to catch a breath.
Let me shed some light on the path leading up to my Kauai trip, in the hope of demonstrating the prep that might be required in order to create space on a grander scale. This adventure was a huge step for me. Five full days on my own, away from my family, felt like a giant leap from the 20-minute "mommy time" bath I insist on most nights. I had never been away from my girls for more than one night, so I was already feeling a lot of anxiety. . . and then you tack on the monetary aspects of the trip. In addition, I was asking my husband, who has a pretty demanding career, to take on the added responsibility of the girls' schedule and overall well-being.
I spent months preparing and asking for help. For some reason many of us, myself included, have a very hard time reaching out to others when we need a hand, but I strongly encourage you to try it. You'd be amazed at how willing people are to help if only you ask. There were many times throughout the planning process that I thought about backing out. I was feeling guilty about all I was asking of my family and friends. I was able to stay focused thanks to two thoughts that helped anchor me when the waves of anxiety and doubt would swell up. First, the trip was centered around building my new business. (That being said, let me assure you that a trip entirely for pleasure is perfectly acceptable if that is what you need in order to create space.) Second, I wasn't asking for anything, from anyone, that I wouldn't give of myself in return.
I knew in my heart that I needed to take the time to immerse myself in a group of entrepreneurial, powerful women involved in the wellness and yoga industry. Having had the opportunity to get to know Debbie and Kellie, who run this retreat, I knew they would deliver just what I was looking for and they did--and then some. This entire experience was further proof to me that you can soar higher when you surround yourself with the right people. I had my family and friends back home who helped to make my dream a reality, providing me with the opportunity to meet new friends at the retreat. These new friends filled my bucket with reassurance, tools, and inspiration to continue on my journey.
Enough about me. It's time to ask yourself some important questions: What do I need? What do I want to learn? Where do I want to grow?
Ideas to Create Space, From 1 Minute to 1 Day:
- 1 minute: Shut your eyes, take a deep breath, and scan your body. Take note of how you feel. Don't try to fix the feelings, just note them and accept them. You don't need to be fixed.
- 5 minutes: Read one page of an inspirational book. (See sidebar for book suggestions.)
- 10 minutes: Journal. Write about anything: dreams, emotions, the day, what you love, what angers you. It doesn't matter what or how you write, it's the act of getting it out that's important.
- 10-15 minutes: Sit in silence. (See sidebar for tool suggestions.)
- 20 minutes: Take an epsom salt bath, or shower with a shower burst/bomb. (See sidebar for product suggestions.)
- 30 minutes: Get into nature. Go for a walk, bike, run, or hike. Stop to enjoy the scenery and breathe in the fresh air.
- 30 minutes: Eat lunch by yourself. Listen to your thoughts as if you were listening to your best friend--in love and without judgment.
- 60 minutes: Join a group. This might be a book club, running group, knitting circle, etc. Whatever your interests are, seek out others who share your hobbies and join them. . . or, if no such group exists, create your own.
- 90 minutes: Go for a drive. Play your favorite playlist or listen to your favorite podcasts. Just drive, no destination required.
- 90 minutes: Take a class. Learning something new will trigger new perspectives and open up new possibilities.
- 1 Day: Explore a new town by yourself or go to a spa and let yourself be pampered.
Develop a practice. Make it a routine. Create your space.
Please take a moment to share with the community how you nourish your mind, body, and soul in the comments below.
Peace + Play