Over the last month, I’ve forced myself to take a step back in life. There has been so much going on all summer long that I just felt completely exhausted, even after our week long vacation. On top of that, there are so many changes coming with the season and life that I didn’t feel like I could actually enjoy them. I realized that I really just needed some quality “me time” and I couldn’t put a limit on when that started and stopped. Taking a step back from life doesn’t mean I’m introverted or anti-social, but it’s a reflective period for me to reinvigorate my passions and take time to explore me before I can truly give my best to everyone else.
WHAT I DID
Taking a step back from life is hard – granted, there are certain aspects to make life go around that I couldn’t let go, like work and bills, but overall, I took a few weeks to not make plans, not work more than I have to and not stress myself out with crammed deadlines for anything. My husband works weekends, so those ended up being the perfect time for me to relax around the house and do a few projects I wanted to do but never could fit into my schedule.
I spent mornings getting out of bed when I felt like it, going to the gym and doing what my body was telling me to do, or even catching up on some new movies I haven’t had the chance to watch and baking some new treats. I also enjoyed doing a little “fall cleaning” and getting rid of some of our clutter throughout the house (especially my closet!), and cleaning out our spare bedrooms to be a more organized person. It felt so great to really declutter and relax in a space that felt comfortable again. It was also nice to spend time with my husband for once without being consumed by my phone or running around with others making plans.
Another big project I have been dying to do for over 6 months is our master bedroom redesign. This is the last big room in our house that I haven’t touched since we bought it, but ironically it’s the room I spend the most time in during the few hours a day that I’m home. I kept putting it off because of many factors, but especially because I didn’t have time to make the decisions I really needed to make to get the project started. Check out a quick sneak peak before I share a full walk through soon!
HOW I DID IT
The hardest part of this was completely clearing my schedule. I had so many things I felt like I needed to do on my days off, but I really needed to focus on making me a priority. I stopped stressing over my hair and makeup on the weekends, often going to the gym completely untouched besides washing my face and brushing my teeth. I took some time away from obsessing over social media and spent more time destressing and relaxing, like taking longer showers, enjoying naps when I felt tired in the afternoons, and just picking up that dinner when I didn’t feel like cooking.
I will admit – this was REALLY HARD. It was hard to step away from life and do what I want to do. I feel programmed to “go, go, go” and get as much done as fast as possible, but taking a step back really opened my eyes to what truly matters in life. Yeah, there are dishes in the dishwasher that have needed to be unloaded for a few days, but I spent time really enjoying our lives and designing our new master bedroom.
I did have some guilt because I wasn’t giving time to you all and writing/posting as much as I promised I consistently would, but I think we all agree that we need a break sometimes from the chaos. This time away truly helped to me think bigger and better for the future with so many new and exciting projects coming up to share with you all!
WHY I DID IT
I have hit a season of life that I just feel like I need to cut things out. I’m just one person and I can only do so much, and I’ve spent the last few years pushing myself to the limits to help or please others. My doctors have told me my whole life that there have been long term effects on my body due to high stress levels, and I’m finally ready to put my body and mind first in life. I don’t think I could have done this without my supportive husband. When I’m stressed, I don’t make his “job” of loving me any easier and I have known that for a while but have done nothing about it.
I have finally hit a point when I put my husband and I first above all, instead of worrying so much about what others think, feel or say. In hindsight, I realize the biggest issue we’ve had the last few years, especially while planning our wedding, was that I was trying so hard to please everybody and engage the negative people in our life, and that caused so much stress on me. With our new season of life, I’ve realized that I need to do the opposite to disengage and remove all of the stress and negativity from life that isn’t bringing anything positive to my growth. We need to think about our family in terms of immediate family and close friends, and worry second about extended family and disconnected friends because in the end, we rely on each other most to get through daily life.
Contrary to what I thought would happen, I feel completely refreshed! I didn’t think this would be effective and would ultimately stress me out more because I would be so worried about getting things done, but I’ve truly loved putting myself first. I have eaten food that I previously told myself no in a responsible manner and filled my tank with activities that I actually enjoy.
The biggest benefit to this whole “experiment” was mental health. I have been on the verge of many breakdowns the last few years, and I’m ready for a time in my life to slow down, enjoy the people around me and take in the beauty life has to offer.
My mind feels more inspired to do creative projects and I have truly learned what is important in my life now. I have seen that filling my tank makes me a more emotionally and physically available person for those I love rather than wasting my time on people who just cause more stress. I have began to cancel plans that I really dreaded doing and scheduling get-togethers with those I love or invest in fun activities we’ve been putting off for so long.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Start small – take a weekend, cancel your plans, remove everything from your schedule, and do what makes you happy. The more often you do this or the longer you can do this, the easier it will become to fill your personal cup of happiness and energy to grow and learn. I honestly thought I was being my best self before by being selfless and appeasing everyone, but I realized that things were falling through the cracks, and people who mean everything to me were facing the brunt of my backlash. It’s important you actually take time for the things you love and really appreciate living more, especially when time gets crazy with kids, marriage, work, gym, and so much more going on.