Dinner needs to be cooked. Doctor’s appointments need to be made. Bills need to get paid. The child needs to get picked up from daycare by 5:30 p.m. That assignment needs to be filed by tomorrow afternoon. Your spouse needs your undivided attention. Your toenails are screaming for a pedicure. Your blog hasn’t been updated in a week. And the list goes on and on and on.
If your to-do list looks anything like mine, then you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed right about now, or at least tempted to just drop everything and head for the valleys seeking cover from the avalanche that has become your life.
I was chatting with a couple of friends in an email correspondence the other day, loathing about how busy life has become. But something struck me as, well, quite ironic. All the things that are overwhelming me at this moment, are also things that I’ve worked towards, and prayed for, and that I see as total blessings from up above.
Family. Work. Friendships. Extra-curricular activities. Indeed, these are areas of my life that have truly blossomed over the last 10 years. I’ve got nothing to complain about.
But to be honest, there always exists this temptation to complain. In fact — I’ve discovered a secret– the world often operates in a way to make us feel that what we have and what we’re doing in life is never enough, and it lures us into a lifestyle that seeks to pile on the mush only to distract us from what’s really important in life.
That’s why, every once in a while, we must step back, regroup, rejuvenate and refocus — something I plan to do in the coming weeks.
One of my friends shared how she recently did just that. She took a last-minute trip to Puerto Rico and got some much-needed “me-time.”
Now, maybe you don’t have the financial resources to pack up and head for the soft, sandy beaches of a beautiful island such as Puerto Rico, as my friend had the privilege to do. But there are other, more economical ways to sneak a getaway from the daily hustle and bustle.
- Visit a museum. I live in Washington, DC where there are dozens of spectacular free museums to visit during the week and on the weekends. I mention museums as a potential getaway spot because I see it as an opportunity to hide in the crowd and people-watch; act like a tourist for the day; or simply lose yourself in history. Finding a museum shouldn’t be difficult. Discovering one that interests you might be more taxing. If you’re in the DC area or planning on a visit, check out this About.com article for more information about museums and art galleries based on your personal interests.
- Take a drive. When I first moved to Los Angeles, and even when I relocated to Washington, DC a few years later, I would often just drive around the area — not necessarily to “get lost” as some people might suggest you do — but to explore my new surroundings. Exploring a new city is always fun. If you’re a longtime resident, however, then drive a couple of hours to the East, West, South or North to a place you’ve never been. Whether you do it on foot, by bike or in a car, make sure you get the most from your excursion by actively tuning out all the worries of the week. Better yet, let your new surroundings help you focus on new ideas and new attitudes about work and life.
- Turn off the electronic devices. Whew. That was really difficult to write. If you’re like me, then you’re probably obsessively attached to your laptop computer, your mobile smart phones, and the like. But let’s face it, if you’re on these things 24/7 even for half-noble reasons such as updating your Facebook status, or Linking In with another professional in your field, then you’re likely zapped of energy to do more meaningful activities. Tuning out, and powering down might just be your remedy to eradicate some of life’s stressors and work-related blues.
These are just a few ideas on planning a free mental detox getaway. I’m sure you’ve got some ideas of your own. If you do, be sure to share them in the comments section below!
About the Author
Emily Brown is the key contributor and creator of TheCareerPioneer.com, a blog that delivers articles and posts about job industry trends; plus motivational, retrospective stories about career exploration and discovering one’s passion. She is a journalist and serves on the board of the Alliance for Women in Media, National Capital Area Chapter.
Her work has appeared in Bloomberg News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and others. Emily lives and works in Washington, DC. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to drop her a line to say “hello,” seek advice, suggest an opportunity or story idea, or provide news of your own.
P.S. –For the first time on The Career Pioneer, I’m launching a FREE GIVEAWAY contest. One lucky winner will win a free copy of Valorie Burton’s book How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule, and Reconnect with What Matters Most. Details coming soon.