“Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.” – Ralph Marston
I recently shared with you some thoughts on a Purposeful Pause. It’s a time of reflection when high-performing people step away from their careers for a period of time to reevaluate. We discussed what to do if you can’t take a big step back and how to build bite-sized pauses into your day.
Boy, did this evoke a response! It seems like y’all love the idea, but crave a little more guidance on how to make it work. So all month long, we’re exploring what a purposeful pause might look like for you – one step at a time.
And the first step is to REFRESH. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been working hard for your entire life and you don’t slow down for anything. Well, if you need permission to slow down for a bit, you have mine.
It might feel like an indulgence at first, or like cheating if you take a little time out of a workday. But try to let go of that instinct. Reaching the point of burnout can negatively impact your health, your capacity to produce work, and your patience with loved ones. By setting an intention to refresh, you can avoid burnout and be a better human all-around for it.
The key to refreshing is finding space (time away from other commitments, like work and caregiving) and grace for things that relax your mind and make your heart sing. This is a total reset, even if you’re doing it in just small windows of time each day.
The idea is to release tension and let go of preconceived notions of where you should be at this point in your life. We need to ‘clear the cobwebs’ so to speak, so that new thoughts, experiences, and dreams can enter your mind and spirit. Be sure to clear some small windows of time throughout the week – between meetings or other obligations – and make a list of all the refreshing things you want to do.
Ways to Refresh
How you go about your refresh depends on what appeals to you. If something sounds stressful, it probably won’t serve you – so don’t put it on your list. If it piques your interest, though, give it a try! With that, here are a few things I recommend to rock your refresh.
New Look New You: A makeover can be a powerful signal to yourself and the people around you that a change is gonna come. It might be a visit to the hairdresser and the makeup counter at Macy’s. Perhaps it’s a wardrobe reset – donate the old stand-bys you’ve been wearing for years and purchase new staple pieces that inspire you. It could even be a makeover of your space – a fresh coat of paint in the living room or new artwork on the wall in your office.
Try Something New: There must be something you’ve always wanted to learn. What is it? A new language, how to play mah jongg, or how to cook your favorite Indian dish (lamb korma, anyone?!)? In today’s post-pandemic world, there are so many options for lifelong learning. Take an online class or find a local in-person offering. Either way, you can bring exciting new skills – and maybe exciting new connections – into your life.
“Respect people who find time for you in their busy schedule, but love people who never look at their schedule when you need them.”
Build In Time For Others: One of the problems with our modern busy schedules is that they don’t leave a lot of time for catching up. You probably have a short list (or, if you’re me, a long list) of people who you enjoy talking to. A list of those who inspire you, and who you wish you could spend more time with. Take the time now – be intentional about who you have lunch with (you have to eat anyway). And consider who you meet for coffee in the morning – at a cafe or over Zoom. A good chat with a great person is pretty much the essence of life!
All the Other Good Stuff: Nothing in this paragraph is going to surprise you. Make sure you get outside and get exercise every day. Focus on a healthy sleep routine, drink an extra glass of water each morning, and double up on dark, leafy greens. Meditate and write in a journal, especially as inspiration strikes while you’re in this refresh stage of your purposeful pause. Practice gratitude and letting go of negative self-talk. And volunteer when you can – as a mentor, at a food bank, walking shelter dogs, or anything else that is meaningful to you.
There are so many things most of us wish we could do more of – if we only had the time. NOW is the time to make the time. None of these tactics need to take hours. They can all be achieved in small chunks, just minutes out of each day. And all those little minutes in which you slowly relax and start to transform into an even better version of yourself (since you’re pretty terrific already) will add up to big changes on your road to reawakening!