Permission to Pause

I'm usually obsessed with trip planning. I love working out all of the details, from what neighbourhood to stay in, what sights to see, to figuring out the local transportation system. Given my turbulent year in 2016, I knew that I was in need of a getaway, but I just didn't have it in me to do my usual sort of planning. So my friend and I decided to make it super easy and we booked a one-week stay at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica. We got back a week ago and it was AMAZING!

Every trip I've ever taken has resulted in some form of personal growth or learning for me. The week in Jamaica was no exception.

The goal of this trip for both my friend and I was relaxation. We intended to get some major sun and beach time in, but we also had items on our to-do list such as excursions off of the resort, partaking in the activities and entertainment that the hotel had to offer and doing some reading and writing.

On our first day, we enthusiastically scoured the schedule of planned activities for the week and noted the things we wanted to do. We also debated about which of the interesting excursions to go on. However, each morning we'd find ourselves not waking up early enough to go to the planned run or tennis lesson. Then the afternoon would roll around and we just couldn't quite tear ourselves away from our poolside lounge chairs to join in anything either. At nights, we'd enjoy a delicious dinner and take a leisurely stroll around the property, but then we'd walk past the action in the bar and eagerly head to our room to do some reading before lights out at an early hour. And somehow, we never quite got around to booking that excursion off of the resort.

I have to say that we felt a lot of guilt about all of this. How could we travel to Jamaica, not leave the resort and not even fully partake in what the resort had to offer? I hated being "that kind" of traveler who goes to a country but doesn't actually see it. The source of my guilt was the struggle that I've written about before...that battle between what we should do, versus what we want to do. We knew that we should have explored and participated, and to an extent, we wanted to. But it was so weird, neither of us could physically get our bodies in gear! Our bodies knew that what they really needed and wanted was to slow down and rest. The weeks leading up to our departure for Jamaica were filled with busy days at work, social plans and frenzied trip preparations. The whole reason we planned the trip in the first place was because we needed to unplug and unwind, yet here we were feeling very guilty about fulfilling the intended purpose of our trip.

Many of us are so conditioned to be doing things and we're unused to, and even uncomfortable with just being -- being still, being present, being where we are at that exact moment in time. The concept of resting when we need to seems like a no-brainer but I have realized that many of us have major guilt about taking care of ourselves, resting and doing nothing. It doesn't come as naturally as one would think.

I've learned the importance of being in tune with my body and really listening to it and giving it what it needs. In the past, I haven't always picked up on the signs that my body was sending me and let's just say that the results of that weren't great! So many of us are exhausted by taking care of things in our lives and other people. I know you've all heard it before, but it's so important that it bears repeating...the most important person you can take care of is you! If you're not right, you won't have the energy to effectively take care of all the important things and people in your life. I know it's hard, but please, every now and then, give yourself permission to pause.

As always, I'd love to hear from you. How many of you have difficulty with slowing down or doing nothing? For those of you who are good at this, what suggestions do you have for those of us who find it challenging?