Sabbaticals: The Importance of Taking a Break
Have you ever wanted a break?
Thought about taking a sabbatical?
I took a month off! And I want to share my “a ha’s” from this experience.
So have you ever seen the meme, or heard the saying that entrepreneurs are the only people willing to work 80 hours a week in order to not work 40 hours a week?
For the past sixteen years, I’ve been an entrepreneur. I started Stroller Strides which is now FIT4MOM when Jacob was just 3 months old. And it has been an amazing experience! But it’s also been really intense! The thing about being an entrepreneur is that even when you aren’t working, don’t you know your brain is working?
Your business takes up every inch of brain space that you have, every hour in the day. Even times that I am physically with my kids, I have to admit, I don’t always feel with my kids. I am not present with them because I am stressing or worrying, or thinking about the business. And the funny thing is that I started this business, so I could be a mom first and foremost. But it grew so fast… Wow! I definitely can’t say that’s always been the case that I was a mom first and foremost! I think that my kids would definitely tell you that they see me as always working. So, even though I’d like to think like: no, I pick them up from school… There aren’t like exact hours, or an exact office that you have to go to, it’s like mom’s always taking calls or checking emails.
I wanted to be able to work and love my work, but then have this dedicated time off with my kids. So I decided to take a sabbatical, sort of speak. This is my experience when I took 3 weeks off.
"Take the time to recharge + reconnect. You don’t have to take a sabbatical to take a little pause. You ARE an Empowered Mama" -Lisa Druxman
Here are the top 4 “aha!” moments about this experience.
1. We Make Our Own Can't-s
I always said: "I can’t take off that much time!" My employees need me to be there. My business needs me to be there. But truth be told, I made up that can’t! I don’t have a boss who told me that I can’t do it. As an entrepreneur, the beauty of this business is that we can make up our own rules. So, looking back I could have decided to take a month off every summer, or I don’t know… however much time I wanted to take off! And the fact is that my business was running amazing while I was gone!
2. Free Time Doesn’t Equal Magical Time
I definitely had this vision of careless days at the beach and you know, deep time with my kids, and maybe some time for creativity and introspection. But that really didn’t happen. I was annoyed when my kids fought. The time I normally spend working, was kind of filled with errands and house cleaning. And the only way I got that magical time, was if I was purposeful about it. If I wanted to have creative time, I have to make space for it, which is exactly what I have to do in my regular working life. If I want quality family time, I need to be purposeful about it, which is exactly what I do in my regular life. Basically I realize that the time not working, didn’t magically turn into peace, love and motherhood. So, I don’t need to be envious or jealous of anyone who has time. It is really a choice for how we choose to use it.
3. Keep a Routine That Works for You
To the many of you that had teased me and know that I am like all about routine and all about ritual, well, I think you would be proud of me that during this sabbatical, I allowed myself to take a break from virtually all of my routines. I didn’t work out at 5:30am. I didn’t journal. I didn’t meditate. And know what? It really didn’t work for me!
It was nice to sleep in a little bit more. But I found myself, when I did sleep in more, skipping workouts or like just doing a quick one, not my regular routine. Interestingly enough, I found myself really tense and I was like: Why am I so tense when I am off from work? I realized that my endorphin high from exercise, or maybe my dopamine release from my relaxation and my meditation, it makes me more relaxed. And so, it's not even just about work. I thought that I took work away, then there wouldn’t be stress or tension. It is the things that I do that make me happier and more chilled out. So, I guess if I didn’t work, I didn’t need to wake up so early. But I would definitely need to find some sort of a ritual that worked for me.
4. Take The Time To Recharge + Reconnect
The reason why I wanted to take a sabbatical is we are so busy, so busy running through this life, that we don’t get time to daydream, to recharge and reconnect to what’s important to us. And when I did carve time out to journal, which I ended up needing to do, like I had to go: you know what; I needed more creative time, so this is when I am going to do it. I realized that the things that made me the happiest don’t cost any money. My happiest times have been playing family games with my kids, going on a hike, practicing yoga.
So remember this: You don’t have to take a sabbatical to take a little pause. Make sure that you are living in alignment with your values, check-in with yourself how you are feeling and remind yourself to be in the present moment.