We’ve never been more flooded with stimulus, information, stresses, and breaking news than today. Add in the pressures of entrepreneurship —the pressure, the intensity and the lonely nights wondering why you’re working at 11 PM once again—and we’ve got an express ticket to the land of breakdown.
As someone who lives and thrives in intensity—I’ve learned the value of shutting the laptop down and having a day for myself. In this post, I’ll share the value of taking a half-day or full day for yourself—stop working and simply say yes to all the things you’ve been putting off because of your work.
The benefits are endless, including coming back to your work refreshed, excited and with a new perspective.
You Want Me to…What?
“You’re gonna go on a date by yourself.”
I was coaching a client the other day who was feeling stuck, and I noticed a common pattern:
All his stress and anxiety was coming from taking care of others and putting himself 3rd, 4th or 17th. This had made him run down scattered, exhausted, and lacking the creative energy for us to move forward on his ideas. So I told him to go on a date by himself. No agenda, no plan. Simply go with the flow and see what happens.
At first, he resisted. He came up with the usual excuses of work, time, stress, bills and the logical stuff. What was missing was the other side of that: imagination, presence, curiosity, wonder, and spirit. But he’s in my program and is invested for thousands, so I pushed him, and he made it happen.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” — Anne Lamott
Creating Your Own Day
My client ended up going to a movie, to the park, having an amazing meal and listening to old albums he hadn’t spun in a decade, all by himself. He had the time of his life. By the time we re-connected 48-hours later, he told me he felt like a 100-pound weight vest was no longer on his back. The next session we had, we were able to easily solve a problem he’d been experiencing in business with a creative solution he got shortly after experiencing his day.
In creating your day, I want you to make a list of things you’ve been putting off, without inhibitions. Maybe you’ve been wanting to see a movie, take a hike, play an instrument—keep thinking about what you want to do, and add each item to your list.
Disconnect to Reconnect
The entire idea behind this day is for you to experience it alone. The idea is to spend time with the one person you often put last. With that said, presence is a crucial part of the experience, or as I like to say:
Disconnect to reconnect.
By unplugging, playing, and exploring the activities you actually love, you’re going to connect with a part of yourself that’s likely been missing. The last thing you want to do on this day is to check the work phone or sales stats every few minutes—not today, you’ve got nearly every other day for that. Create strict boundaries and tell people you’re simply unavailable and will be back in 24-hours.
Why We Need to Interrupt Reality
The best “you” days I’ve ever created for myself and clients work for one reason above all:
They create an interrupt in our realities. Since our brains are designed to recognize patterns and create automatic behaviors around them, this shift creates a refreshing experience to allow for new ways of thinking, being and doing. This will create new neurological real estate for your creativity, allowing you to dig deeper into your purpose or even improve your connection with others.
Some of the best days involve exploring new places so you can forget your daily routine and experience and embrace the new.
In a world of non-stop hustle, there’s probably not a lot of places telling you to take a day for yourself and seemingly do nothing productive. Yet, within this practice, there is potential for exponential creativity, learning, fun and fulfillment once you do get back to your daily routine.
Personally, I take these days once a month , with bigger “me” days happening on a quarterly basis or whenever I feel I am getting stagnant and need a boost.
From here, I urge you to open your mind and start crafting your day. Watch what happens when you embrace presence, fun, play and some much-needed time off.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.