Are you tired of winter? Have time, will travel? Or maybe taking a break just to slow down and quietly gaze around you is what’s needed… Last week, I wrote about how I felt like I was running out time. This post is exactly the opposite. It almost never fails, around this time of year, I long for the sun and warm spring days. It is warming up here. That’s to say we aren’t regularly seeing temps below -10; they’re even starting to peek over freezing a few consecutive days in a row. Somehow, in all my last vacations, I end up traveling to someplace slightly colder than where I live. I vowed 2018 would be different. For the first time, I planned ahead and gave myself exactly what I would likely need right about now: Barbados!
Catching Up On Sleep
In the past year, I’ve become protective of my sleep. With my career, it hasn’t been unusual to regularly wake up in the middle of the night for weeks, stressed about some aspect of a project. Sometimes with my heart racing. I still haven’t figured out if this is simply because I’m aggressively learning new skills, or if it’s just the profession. I enjoy what I do, but I’m not saving lives. So logically, to me anyway, I’ve become really intentional on how I spend my time, limit the number of commitments I make and have no shame in staying in to rest if I need it. I think this is what my Mom meant by self care.
ANYHOW, that first 24hrs in Barbados was largely spent taking a break from life and catching up on sleep. I slept almost 12hrs, ate breakfast, took a walk, then couldn’t keep my eyes open by early afternoon, so I slept until dinner. And then went to bed early. It was AMAZING! I’ve taken time to enjoy myself while on vacation, but I’ve never moved that slow. Usually it takes me a week before I come down from everyday stress, and this time I was there WITHIN 24HRS. I think I may be on to something…
Monkey See Monkey Do
I saw wild monkeys! Both just outside the house we rented and at a nature preserve, Welchman’s Gully. Nature and animals have always been a passion of mine, and my go to place to take a break, de-stress and reconnect. You can do a self guided tour on a 2km pathway here through a gully that closely resembles what the island would have been like way back when. It was fascinating walking through, seeing what it would have been like and exploring plants and trees I’ve never seen before. And I got back in time to see the monkeys emerge from their hide out and feast on bananas the park had set out. There were also so many baby monkeys. D’awwww!
As I watched the monkeys, with all their personalities emerging, it dawned on me they were doing everything I needed more of: hanging out in nature, playing around and languidly socializing with friends and family. So I made it a point to do like the monkeys: I walked along the beach, sat on the beach, swam, had morning coffee on the beach and sat back and appreciated scenery and other nature areas. Again, it occurred to me I might be on to something…
Novelty Of New
For about a decade, I would move every year. I would always start out loving my new digs, and think ‘this time I might actually stay for a few years’. But it never failed, about 9 months in, I’d get itchy feet and go apartment hunting. Part of what I love about traveling is the complete and utter change of scenery. It instantly transports me to a different mental space and stimulates my need for exploration and novelty.
Let’s see what we see
I heard this expression over and over. If you’re not sure what it means, basically: let’s see what happens. I’ve decided to appropriate it! It feels so much more right for me. Feels more like what I do, let’s go out exploring and see what we see. And boy did I take that to heart. There were no set plans for the day. I’d decide what to do on that day. I explored unique environmental formations, Harrison’s Caves, went snorkelling for the first time and saw turtles and fish, took a crazy ride on local enterprising bus system, and many more things. Just to see what we see.
Not only was I intellectually stimulated while playfully exploring, it focused all my attention on now and helped keep my thoughts away from work and gave me a mental break. I think I might be on to something…
Limin’ With Friends And Family
We picked Barbados because my partner has a good long time friend there. She visits every year in the summer and I’ve grown fond of her and her partner. So we figured, why not be neighbours for a week?! We also invited my in-laws to join us. The more the merrier, and what better way to spend time with newfound family than getting a break from late winter?!
Limin is the term beigens use to say chillin. Spending quality time with friends and family is right up there as a top priority for us. So much of the week was spent exploring the island together, sharing new experiences and simply limin over good food, by the ocean and at the beach.
This whole limin thing, relaxing without the pressure of being productive hasn’t happened in that quantity for awhile. We’re either busy seeing both sides of the family, friends and fitting in a few adventures we want to do. Even with all of that, I still had time to relax, writing two articles while watching the sunrise.
I Think I Might Be On To Something
The trip to Barbados was everything I needed. It was fun, relaxing with lots of exploration. Taking a break is essential. But it’s not just the act, it’s how you do it.
- Allow time for some extra sleep
- Making time for a leisurely hang out with nature and watching animals
- A good balance of exploring something new, free time to do nothing and not set up too many expectations for timing of it all.
- Spending quality time with friends and family. Creating space to bond over new experiences as well as low key hangouts that add no pressure to ‘do’ anything.
And when I distill it all down, maybe the feeling of running out of time is partially to do with not infusing enough the points above in regular mini intervals. A trip is fun and great to get a total pause. But a lot of this could be done in mini increments, even half an hour on any given day. I probably should make it a point to get it more often.
What about you? Do you need to take a break?