Give Me a Break (Please!)

Today I am doing something I never would have done 10 years ago.

You see, 10 years ago I was in the throes of high school graduation, sending children off to college, working full time in a very demanding job, volunteering for every worthwhile cause that came my way and trying my best to be everything to everybody around me.

Whew! 10 years ago I needed a break, but had no clue how to even find ten minutes to take one.


Moms Need a Little Bliss Now and Then

Does this sound familiar to you? If so, there is hope. Yes, even if you’re the most stressed out mom out there.

News Flash: Moms need a break from their everyday routine in order to recharge and reenergize their lives.

Whether that break is a night out, one hour a week at the gym or a week-long trip with girlfriends, moms need it. Moms need at least a tiny slice of Nirvana.

Nirvana is defined as “an ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability or joy.” Now you ask: Where is it and can I get it on Amazon?

You see, today I leave for a place that is as close to Nirvana as it can get. Today five girlfriends and I go to Miraval Spa in Arizona to pamper ourselves, have riotously inappropriate conversation, and simply chill out for a week.

The six of us are busy women. We either work professionally in high stress jobs or we are professional moms and wives. I don’t know many women who are not busy trying to meet the demands of our lives.

But for this one week every two years, we stop. We throw caution to the wind and give ourselves permission to relax.


All Work and No Play? Fuh-get-about-it!

Ten years ago that would have been unheard of for me. I thought my world might stop turning if I did. I thought the wheels of my life might go flying off. I thought my family might fall apart without me. Or worse, I thought my family would realize they didn’t even need me.

Guess what? None of that happened.

I know now that I was in danger of self-destructing 10 years ago. Does that sound like where you are? Take my word for it, burning your candle (or in my case 6 candles) at both ends won’t work. Eventually, you will burn out. Maybe you’re already close.

For centuries, men have found ways to deal with the stresses of their lives. Golf, hunting, fishing, sports of all kind. Whole industries have developed because men have understood the importance of balancing relaxation and work.

Now it is time for women to do the same. In the past 40 years, women have entered the workforce by the tens of millions. The demands of moms who choose to not work outside the home have also increased.


Taking a Break is Serious Business

It’s time for you to enter the play arena.

Here’s three very important things I learned over the past 10 years:

First, give yourself permission to take a break. You have earned it. Trust me. As a mom you are so wired to meet everyone else’s demands that so often you forget that you have needs. Your body needs time to relax and breathe. You need time to not have to do one single thing you do not want to do. You need time to recharge your Energizer battery.  Consider it a gift you give yourself. It’s not selfish. It is self-survival.

If you’re too busy, then actually schedule it on your calendar and make it your most important appointment.

Second, these breaks are actually good for your family. These breaks allow your family to realize all that you do for them. They make your family step up to the plate and learn to do things for themselves. They actually allow your children to learn the self-sufficiency they will need when they get to college and live on their own. So while these breaks are good medicine for you, they are also good medicine for your husband and your children.

Finally, taking a break will make you a better mom. When you get stressed out and overwhelmed with the demands of your life, you also get snappish and angry, especially if you are the only one in your boat rowing. Taking that break, even if just for one night or one afternoon, gives you time to relax your mind and your muscles.

Finding an activity that releases the stress your body is under will do as much for your mental health as it will your physical health. You will have more patience and more love to give your family when you return. Your family will notice the difference and appreciate you even more.


Tips to Find the Time

As I take off for Miraval tomorrow, I’ll share with you a few tips on how I finally found the time to take a sabbatical from my life:

  • Plan your break. Find a place you have always wanted to go. Find something you have always wanted to do. The length of time doesn’t matter. This is something that is all about you and what brings you joy. Maybe it’s an art class one day a week. Maybe it’s a monthly massage. Maybe it is simply sitting in your back yard for an hour and reading a book. Whatever lurks in the back of your mind that you want to do “one day,” plan it NOW. Give advance notice to your family and then come hell or high water, give yourself permission to do it.
  • Remember there is value is seeing a different set of walls. Change the scenery around you. It’s therapeutic to physically put yourself in a different setting. See your life from a different vantage point to improve your perspective. Get to a place outside your home or office and get a fresh look on your world.
  • Do something where someone else is waiting on you. This is very important. Most moms are constantly doing for others. This break is about giving yourself the gift of letting someone else do for you. Experience the feeling of being served, for once.
  • Don’t accomplish anything productive. This is hard but realize that your break is not another “task” you have to do. It’s not the time to write your novel or catch up on things you have failed to do. It is a time for allowing “down time” to become a part of your life. If your break is simply one hour every day, make sure that hour is about being still. Let all the noise around you disappear. This will recharge your batteries more than anything else you do.

Next week, I won’t honor that last suggestion because I will report from Miraval about my break. (I know, I know…) My hope for you is that between now and then you find the time to discover your own Nirvana and make it a part of your life.

Be Intentional!



 Janet Byington I’m Janet Byington, a former school administrator who helps parents build confidence, motivation, and mental toughness in their soon-to-be college students. Work with me.

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