Last weekend, I had a mini trip – a break from the routine of daily life. This trip reminded me the importance of taking a break, doing something different, and also taking time to relax. I feel like relaxing usually is always leftover on my to-do list for my days off, until I’m exhausted past the point of choosing something that is really relaxing and not just “easy” to take my mind off things. Unless I intentionally carve that time out and do something relaxing, such as taking a bath, doing yoga (to wind down), or reading, I’m finding that I’m not relaxing as much these days.
So, I picked up and drove somewhere not too far away (with another person) to spend the rest of the day, overnight, and that following day somewhere else without the stress of a long drive. It was rainy, and that reminded me about two opposite ideas: 1) don’t let the rain stop you from getting out there and doing things, and 2) stop what you’re doing and be still. After a half day of adventuring in the rain, it was the perfect way to not go back out after dinner and try to pack in more things. We sat inside by a fire, drank tea and wine, listened to the rain, and talked. We could have pulled up a show on our phone to watch or flipped on the tv in our rooms, but instead we stopped, sat, and were still while engaged. It was a very fulfilling way to spend a night and left us renewed for the next day.
I woke up early to try to catch the sunrise the following morning, and it was another reminder. To watch the sunrise, you must stop and be still. You must engage your senses to watch, listen, smell the early morning dew, and there is a stillness in the awakening around you. Maybe there’s a train in the distance or some birds beginning to chirp, but otherwise, it’s quiet. It was a cloudy morning, so there was not the typical sunrise you expect to see, but it was still beautiful in what the morning had to offer. Fifteen minutes to myself to observe the world around me. Quiet. Slow movement. Honeysuckle in the air. Coolness in the humidity. A fog that will rise until it fades – an image gone by the time they all wake up.
While I have been walking around with the idea of stillness and relaxation in my head this week, I haven’t decided how best to create this in my weekly routines. It’s on my to-do list, and my deadline is Monday. I hope to find a better way to bring some stillness into my life, and for this stillness to give me the energy to move forward with the rest of my day.
How have you found or carved it out for yourself? And what have you gained from these intentional time-outs?