This week I’ve carved out Wednesday afternoon to spend a relaxed hour with my calendar— not penciling things in, but revisiting pending events and making intentional choices that support a more open, spacious, restorative summer schedule.
Does the thought of non-stop guests, endless social gatherings and too-full days make you want to grab a blanket and head to the nearest cave?
This year has been emotionally intense. In addition to the chaos we’ve all been experiencing on a macro-level, most of us have felt over-scheduled, overworked and unable to unplug. Many of us are navigating big career and life challenges—and we’ve had little time to integrate these changes. Frankly, we’re exhausted. We’re ready for rest. Not a relaxed evening on the deck, but a serious stretch of lazy days, long naps, walks by the river, deep nourishing slumber and joyful, easy, simple connections with friends and family that feed us emotionally and spiritually.
What we most need in the coming weeks is permission to rest, relax, unplug and do nothing (consider joining me Sept. 15-17 on Lake Logan in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC for Sing, Dance, Pray: Romancing the Beloved, a women’s self-renewal retreat).
However, with all the family expectations, activities and invitations that come with the summer season knocking on our door—what do we do? I challenge you to take the road less traveled and take a radical stand for what you most need this week (and beyond). Consider the following five ideas to help you reclaim rest:
- Schedule down time now. Block out periods on your calendar during this summer for “dedicated relaxation,” where your only job is to unplug from electronics and rest. Schedule half-days, full days, weekends or an entire week if you can swing it. Maybe you’ll feel like a nature hike when your period for renewal rolls around or maybe you’re better served by staying in your pajamas, turning off your phone, sipping on iced hibiscus tea and watching the fireflies. Make downtime a priority and schedule this now so you can honor your commitment to deep to-the-bones self-renewal.
- Just say no. Decide what’s most important to you and let everything else go. If it’s not an “absolute yes,” then it’s a no. Don’t want to miss Aunt Tracy’s special July 4th picnic but feel exhausted at the thought of attending your neighbor’s August block party? Just say no and let it go. You’ll be glad you did. The opportunity will come back around next year. Our quality of life is always enhanced when we let go of things— not when we add them. Check out my popular 9 Ways to Say No list from my pioneering self-care primer, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life.
- Ask for help. Give yourself permission to ask for and receive help, whether it’s cooking, socializing or hosting family. Do it different. Be willing to let go of tradition for the sake of enhanced emotional well-being. Step out of your comfort zone, reach out to friends, neighbors and coworkers and ask for their help so you can create more space for yourself and your family to just “be.” What are three things on your plate right now that you could delegate, outsource or ask for support around?
- Do less to experience more. Positive psychology researchers say we’re happiest when we keep things simple and have fewer choices. We create stress when we try and cram too much into our schedules and then try to control everything we’re juggling. My colleague, author Joan Borysenko says, “Your to-do list is immortal; it will live on long after you’re dead.” How can you simplify your summer plans? Homemade popsicles and an evening of great conversation with people who let you show up “warts and all,” is hard to beat. Do less, so you can experience more.
- Unplug and spend time in nature. My colleague/friend Richard Louv, author of the Nature Principle says, “Time spent in nature is the most cost-effective and powerful way to counteract the burnout and sort of depression that we feel when we sit in front of a computer all day.” I call nature the ultimate antidepressant and re-set button. If anyone in my family is exhausted or out of sorts, off to the greenbelt we go. Being in nature offers us nourishment and renewal on all levels— physical, emotional, spiritual and mental. It is a powerful, restorative and healing force. Tap it!
There is an innate push and pull that many of us feel during the summer season (socialization vs. relaxation). When we pause and tune-in to the natural cycles of nature— and our bodies— we hear the call to slow down, go inward and contemplate where we’ve been and where we want to go.
I challenge you: do it differently this week. What do you most need to replenish and restore? If the call to make rest and renewal a priority resonates, make this number one for yourself and for your family. Then, you can celebrate Labor Day with friends and family feeling refreshed and clear on how you want to use your energy this fall.
UPCOMING SELF-RENEWAL EVENTS/RESOURCES ~ JOIN ME!
- **TWO SPOTS LEFT!** September 15-17th ~ Sing, Dance, Pray: Romancing the Beloved at the Retreat Center at Lake Logan (photos above; 45 min. from Asheville, NC airport). Located on sacred land in the oldest mountain range in the world. Limited to 25. Registration closes 6/30 for this very intimate retreat for women leaders/creatives from across the US. Includes a training session on how to lead life-changing retreats! Want to learn more? Email us at info at reneetrudeau dot com and check out this personal video invite to the retreat. Learn more/register.
- Wild Souls Nature Adventures (based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC): authentic movement classes, community song circles, full moon hikes, meditation workshops, women’s circles & more. New offerings listed each week; have me design a custom experience for your team/friends. Join us Sunday, June 25th for Wild Souls Authentic Movement near Asheville, NC. Learn more.
- Download your self-guided retreat today ~ Ready to prioritize your self-care, relax your body and enjoy empowering mentoring from Renee 24/7 from the comfort of your home, car or office? Our highly popular self-paced online retreats are only $59. Download & enjoy today. Learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, Renee has been facilitating high-impact, interactive workshops for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits/conferences and organizations/teams worldwide for 25 years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 450 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups/retreats based on her pioneering self-care curriculum. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She and her husband live in Western North Carolina and Austin, Texas; her latest venture is Wild Souls Nature Adventures. More on Renee here.