Work, work, work. Many of us are ambitious and focused individuals in high-performing roles. That means we do a lot of work. We also manage our home life, and while we love our spouse and kids (most of the time😊), that too, sometimes feels like work. Maintaining a social circle and physical activities often turns into more work. Now some of you may contend that if you enjoy something then it shouldn’t be classified as work, but I beg to differ. There is one thing in common between the things you love to do and have to do; they both require effort i.e. work. Making time for the family requires effort and intent.  Work is not a bad word and shouldn’t have a negative connotation. I love to work. I would probably go crazy if you told me to stop working. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t need a timeout.

Our brains get tired. Everything we do every single day requires work. Our brain is thinking, having to make decisions, it’s being taxed. It’s interesting that when people exercise, they schedule recovery days. They know they have to let their body rest. But why is it that we never give our brain a rest day. Some of my best ideas have come after I’ve taken time out for myself.

Sometimes it’s as simple as some retail therapy alone or maybe just listening to my thoughts on the drive to the gym in the morning. On other days, I literally need to take myself out of my office, grab my puppies and go for a walk. These are short mental moments to help clear my mind to reflect. In fact, the other day one of my friends asked me how I make my mental lists. She knows that I’m a planner and she can tell that I have a lot going on in my mind. I told her about my timeouts, and how I close my eyes and I visualize what I want to do. I make my mental list. It’s the same concept for my timeout, I have to take a moment to reflect on what is causing me angst, and sometimes, I just need to sleep it out.

Taking a trip for myself, completely out of my environment also helps. Last year, two friends and I planned our first Girls Trip. It was amazing. We were the three musketeers, and yes, I did do the planning (it’s in my blood people, no judging). We went to Paris, the city of love, and had a marvelous time visiting museums, the Eiffel Tower, and shopping spots. It wasn’t the sites and shopping that made it great, although shopping does help 😊. There were some key reasons why I think we were able to enjoy ourselves:

  1. My friends appreciated my role as the planner and let me plan. When traveling, there should only be one captain steering the ship. It’s when there are multiple people altering plans that friction occurs.
  2. We have similar characteristics and values. If we needed to be downstairs at 9:00 AM, then we were all downstairs at 9:00 AM. Being punctual is important to me.
  3. We were on the same page when it came to the budget. We equally split everything, from travel and accommodations to the tip for the doorman.
  4. There weren’t too many of us – sometimes it’s like herding cats.
  5. I didn’t have to take care of anybody but myself! I can’t tell you how refreshing and freeing that was.
  6. But most importantly, and why I share this with you, is that we each had our own room, which gave us a moment to have our mental timeouts.

Even during Build IT LIVE, I like to have my own room. I love my husband, and I definitely need a leg massage at the end of those long days (25,000 steps each day – whew), but I think we both appreciate the need for us to have our own mental space, especially during high stress situations. It’s one of the things we’ve learned over these years; working together and staying married is not easy, but when we start to prioritize our mental space, it helps. I don’t think enough people give it the value that it deserves, and definitely don’t make taking care of their mental health a priority.

Last year’s girl’s trip really helped me get back into the right mind space. I was with some of my dearest friends, laughing, not worrying about the world, simply enjoying ourselves, all the while providing enough mental space to relish my “me moments.” I’m getting ready for year two and this has definitely become an annual trip that I gift to myself and to my mind, because we all deserve to take a time out for ourselves—we’ve earned it.