Are you desperate for time off work but feel you’re just too busy for a holiday break? Or you’ve booked leave to pretend you are doing the right thing by yourself and loved ones. Hey, you know secretly you’ll still work anyway and have to sacrifice you-time or family-time!
Alternatively, maybe your workplace has a poor or unbalanced culture. So you’re entitled to take leave but they manage things so badly that no-one ever has time to take it in reality! Some people even have weeks and weeks of untaken leave banked up – maybe you’re one of them. So ask yourself truthfully – when do you ever give your brain, body and nervous system time to really decompress, recover, rejuvenate? I mean really. Not just a day or two here and there, or four days in a row, but several weeks?
Struggling To Take Leave
As you read this, you’re probably thinking things like, “But Lareen, there’s so much to do. They need me. I just can’t take (more) time off. I need to keep proving myself.” I know people who’ve thought like this for years. Eventually they’re disappointed that the things they hoped would happen from not taking leave just don’t eventuate. Instead, they end up exhausted or never happy. And maybe everyone around them is paying for that!
I tweeted recently that we need to re-imagine how we see rest and start really valuing it. “Being Busy” is seen by most people as a good thing. And by contrast, taking a break is seen as “doing nothing” or “being lazy”. But rest is a physiological necessity to give your nervous system time to bounce back. If you are a driven person, or a Do-It-All Woman, your mind will find it hard to stop working. Ponder this: if you don’t take charge, your body will eventually do it for you. You’ll crash with extreme fatigue, get seriously ill, or suffer Burnout Syndrome.
How Long Off Work Is Enough?
I recently took 2 weeks holiday with my hubby near South Australia’s beautiful southern beaches. We’ve started doing that twice a year now that the children are old enough to do their own thing. We still also have other shorter breaks and weekends in between. And I consider myself to be in a good space these days, loving working in my own business. But life still happens, we still need time-out together, and time to restore ourselves individually. This holiday we intentionally planned to “do nothing” the whole time. No sightseeing, not even feeling obliged to walk on the beach. Just plain resting – if that’s what we felt like. This holiday came after a year with many family ups and downs and losses. Not to mention background tension from COVID all the while.
“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward”
And boy did I need this time off, more than I realised! I don’t mind admitting that as we settled in on the first day, I actually felt like “doing completely nothing”. For me this means resting with my feet up, eating lightly, drinking lemon water, and reading an inspirational book by Wayne Dyer. For about 5 days. Oh and of course, lots of tapping to shift any stuck energy and open up to more rejuvenation! In that space I came to realise how emotionally exhausted I was from this year. After 5 days I started to have the energy to go for a short beach walk, a short bike ride. It really took that long to slow down my mind and release. Ten days later I felt good. After 14 days, really good! So rather than thinking I needed more sleep, I actually just needed lots of quiet time and stillness.
6 Weeks On The Couch
I’m not the only one. One client some years ago came to me, as many do, with chronic work-stress. After two sessions reducing her fears and body tension, she realised she really needed to leave the job she’d been in for years. She wasn’t enjoying it at all and was permanently exhausted. Her family were at the end of their tether with her stress. But she hadn’t been able to see it.
After a few more sessions with me, she offloaded all her fears about leaving this job and the fears of starting something new. She soon landed her dream job elsewhere! She organised 6 weeks off before starting but was so depleted she actually spent the first 4 whole weeks just lying on the couch. Her stress toll simply hadn’t been obvious to her until now. And in that time her waistline surprisingly shrank down. Her body was able to offload all her cortisol backlog. (Cortisol is the stress-hormone that famously keeps that extra flab on women’s waists!).
Similarly, a good friend recently retired from a job that had been extremely stressful for decades – work which she nevertheless really loved. It took her about 6 weeks lying very low before she started to feel good again! So, how much of what you’re feeling right now is because you rarely or never take leave? Or maybe you take leave but choc-a-bloc it with activities or sightseeing, so you go back to work more exhausted!? One year we went to New Zealand for 2 weeks campervanning – the kids were about age 7, 9 and 11 – and we did both islands! When we got back I was totally worn out. A good friend said, “I was surprised you were going on a sightseeing holiday. I thought what you actually needed was a good rest!”
What’s Your Holiday Mind-set?
Now, you should know that for me, taking leave is never a problem. I’ve always done it. I come from the UK where everyone I knew always booked holiday well ahead. Most people were desperate for at least 2 weeks every summer to get some European sun, in case the English summer never came! My dad was a workaholic and only ever took 1 week a year for a family beach holiday. When he retired, sad to say the organisation never thanked him for all the family time he never spent with us. By contrast, my in-laws always seemed to be going away. They’d take 2 weeks here, a long weekend there, every bank holiday… And my husband and I continued that. Even when I was converting from full-time salaried work to being self-employed in this business, I promised myself I wouldn’t be one of those “can’t ever take time off” women in small-business. Because if I burn out, I’m no good to my clients or the business or my family!
Emotional Blocks To What You Really Need
It might help to understand that a big reason women struggle to take leave is emotional blocks. You might not be aware of them. Say to yourself right now “I’d love to take leave, but….” and catch or write down all the “buts”. There will likely be some fears or doubts in there:
If I take leave…
I’m scared I won’t seem committed (or “as committed as others”)
I doubt I’ll get that promotion
I’m worried they won’t renew my contract
I’m embarrassed I’ll stand out because no-one else takes leave
I can’t trust others to keep things going without me
I’m scared of being home more often
If I’m not working I’ll feel [lazy, undervalued, unimportant, overlooked, worthless, useless…].
Changing How You Feel
All of these thoughts are based on how you feel, rather than the actual situation. With Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT Tapping), I’ve helped many women reprogram these types of thinking or “limiting beliefs” without needing any willpower! We simply uncover and focus on the emotions that are getting in your way, and the tapping calms your body and mind to release their power over you. It’s an amazing feeling when your thoughts and behaviours just change like this!
“I was on the edge of burnout continuously… I’ve tried lots of different things but this is the one that’s actually really worked for me… This is the way to do it – with Lareen!”
(Bindi – Senior University Lecturer & Researcher)
So if you’re facing another holiday season where you just won’t get the time-out that you need or deserve, get on a Clarity Call with me and let’s talk about how I can help you change that real soon! Or if you’re in South Australia, you can kick-start yourself in a fabulous new direction for 2022. Join me in our Dream Collage Women’s Day Retreat at Mitcham SA on 19 February to open up to your real dreams for your life. Alternatively, do try one of two new offerings starting in early 2022:
The Burnout Recovery Program
The Change My Life Direction Program
These will give you a private 1:1 session with me once a week over 10-weeks (or for faster change, then twice a week for 5 weeks) focused specifically on changing your situation. You’ll also get tailored resources, meditation audios, email/text support between sessions, and a progress summary at the end. There will be no “homework” to do and no preparation! You’ll just turn up and be fully guided! And they’ll both have an initial come’n’try session option before you commit to the whole program. Click here to register your interest soon! I look forward to helping you release your stresses and turn things around!
Dr Lareen Newman PhD helps busy and high-achieving Professional and Academic Women who are struggling with work-stress, life-stress or burnout to find more clarity and open up to emotional freedom. This enables them to start feeling more joy, peace and love!
Lareen can work with you online in private sessions wherever you are in the world via Zoom, or locally at her cosy and calming private studio in Adelaide, Australia. Lareen left the high-pressure university world to live her passion of seeing more women every week transformed through reducing and clearing their negative emotions and subconscious blocks so they are more free to share their gifts with the world!
Image credits: Rachel Claire on Pexels.com – Domingo Alvarez on Unsplash.com