I was exhausted.
Life had handed me some challenging hurdles with parenting and teenagers last winter. I kept on holding the space and taking care of everyone, but truthfully, I really had little left for myself.
It’s not that I wasn’t doing what I could with self-care each day – evening baths, shutting myself in my room with a good book, of course spending time chatting girlfriends – but I knew what I was going through was intense, and I was needed – my 100% was needed.
It happens this way sometimes in life. Often, parenting, working, school, living, and taking care of everything that needs to happen for our lives to run somewhat smoothly can be very overwhelming. At times, the demands get even more all-consuming and full.
I knew my time (Sue time) was coming. I could see it on the horizon, and it helped get me through.
My time came.
I looked over my packing list multiple times this particular morning. I checked that I had my passport probably seven or eight times, made sure I had a couple important things in my carry on bag – journal, headphones, novel, essential oil, snacks, and of course my tooth brush (I like to brush on long flights).
I got all of my travel goodies to the front porch just in time for my ride to the airport.
Each year I take a group of women to somewhere exotic for a pilgrimage of deep relaxation, personal inquiry, space, rejuvenation, connection and time to unwind.
If you are like most of these women, you might understand their overwhelm in the business of the day-to-day.
Tired, stressed, burnt out.
This seems to be one of the big reasons women decide to come along on our annual retreat. With all we hold in our lives, it is so therapeutic to take a break, reset, assess, and give ourselves some time just for us.
We make excuses, avoid change, get stuck in our outdated habits, and resist putting ourselves first, but is that really how you want to live?
This week I am going to share with you some very specific health benefits that happen when we give ourselves a break. They are important to know about, part of an important conversation for women, and something most of us could work on, as we are often the last ones on our own priority list.
5 Science Based Reasons Why You Should Take a Break
- Lower your body mass index
Yes, it’s true. The stress hormone, cortisol, does no good for your waistline. High cortisol levels lead to higher insulin levels. Both of these sneaky hormones store body fat when they are out of balance.
When you give yourself time to slow down, rest, and release your stress and overwhelm, you biochemically tell your body to release excess weight around your mid-section.
Not only is this pleasing to most women, but it also creates a healthier body composition for the long term.
- Sleep more deeply
For most of us who are holding a lot in our days, it is a challenge to “let it all go” at night.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 48% of Americans report a sleep disorder (most commonly, insomnia) and women are 1.3 times more likely to report a sleep disorder than men. The biggest contributors to sleep issues are stress, anxiety, depression or poor sleep habits.
When we take a break, we retrain our sleep cycles and studies show these new habits most often continue even after we return home.
- Gain perspective
Underneath a lot of our suffering is our outdated old habits, the way we sabotage our happiness, and the age-old way that women forget to take care of themselves.
Your inner voice that tells you to listen, to slow down, to nap, to take some downtime – most often get overridden with turbo gear, muscling through, and our fast paced world. Something has to change.
I spent years silencing that voice. Then one day, that voice said, "I can't do this anymore."
The pain of staying the same became greater than the pain of change and I dove into spending time on giving myself a break and creating downtime. It was time to break out of old patterns and into a life where I felt free, connected and could become my own priority.
- Balance your hormones.
According to the Chopra Institute, doing fifteen minutes of deep belly breathing twice daily has been shown in several clinical trials to increase balance of the female hormones, as well as improve a woman’s sense of well-being.
Learning a mind-quieting technique such as meditation or yoga, will help decrease stress hormones and allow the body to function more efficiently.
Imagine how much time you have to breathe deeply, meditate, and rejuvenate on vacation or retreat.
- Improve your longevity
"It is important to engage in multiple leisure activities, both as a way to enjoy life more, but also to potentially have a benefit on increasing long-term health and decreasing long-term stress" University of Pittsburgh's Mind-Body Center.
Your long-term health will thank you.
Understanding that stress, fatigue, and burnout are responsible for most degenerative disease, often helps us to take our prescription for peacefulness a little more seriously.
We are just one month away. Come join us and give yourself a break to reset, rejuvenate, and relax while experiencing the MAGIC of BALI.