My best friend and I used to take annual girls getaway weekends. We went to New York, LA, DC, Chicago, New Orleans and more. We have so many great memories from those excursions. Over the years, one thing we talked about doing was a spa retreat weekend. We researched locations and put aside money and were finally able to make that dream a reality. We spent 4 days at a location in Arizona that provided us space and time to relax, reflect, set intentions, and focus on self-restoration. It was everything we needed it to be and more. We left feeling changed and convinced everyone needs to have some type of experience like that.
However, prior to our departure, like with any trip preparation, there were things to do. True to form, I had lists; what to pack, errands to run, loose ends to tie up at work. I had just come off my busy back to school travel season and was playing catch up on emails and work assignments. People had been so patient and gracious with me while I was unavailable at my desk/computer that I felt the need to make up for lost time.
The day before we left, I was on a roll. I was moving through all the last-minute things I wanted to get done so I could be clear minded while I was away. Did you notice how many times I said “I” in that last sentence? It was a great feeling for me BUT it was not so great for everyone else with whom I work. I was shoveling things off my list and dumping them on others. In fact, one of my colleagues said, “Man I cannot keep up with all your emails today.” It was like a game of hot potato. How quickly can I pass this on to another person, get it off my desk? I realized that my need to feel free was negatively impacting others. It reminded me of the quote I’ve seen in offices over the years “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part”. In my defense, it wasn’t necessarily a lack of planning on my part, it many ways it was just circumstantial. I had been on the road so much that I hadn’t had the time to get to those items. However, I maybe could have done a better job of planning and/or at least a better job at communicating what my plan entailed. (i.e., dumping on everyone else, HA?!) I’m confident had I said to these coworkers “I’m going on vacation for a couple of days and trying to take care of things before I go, here are the ways I need help.” They would have been more than happy to accommodate. If the shoe were on the other foot, I would have done the same for them.
Part of my self-care plan isn’t to make others suffer in their well-being. My desire is for ALL of us to have balance and peace. My selfish actions didn’t allow for that for those around me that day. I felt relieved but at others’ expense, which ultimately doesn’t make me feel good. I apologized to the few I had impacted and am determined to do better next time. “When you know better you do better”.
I know I am not the only one who’s had that experience. Maybe you are the dumper too like me? I’m confident you have been the dumpee. I know I have felt that before myself and been resentful. Can we be more mindful about how our actions impact other people? Please don’t hear me saying that the alternative is to carry all of the load yourself, I’ve talked about that in previous blogs. We do need each other to help divide and conquer. But there is a way to ensure that division feels fair and not overly burdensome.
Let’s make a commitment to be more intentional, thoughtful, and mindful in our actions, knowing they can have a trickle down (or in my case, firehose) effect. Consider other people’s circumstances, talk through expectations, or needs. Let others share what they can and can’t do. Work together to problem solve and find solutions to whatever the issue is at hand. Your problem doesn’t have to become someone else’s.
I would be remiss if I didn’t share a few take aways from my time at the desert retreat.
- You don’t need a spa retreat weekend to feel rejuvenated & prioritize your self-care (it is nice if you can swing it but not necessary)
- There is power in being still. It may feel challenging to stop, but it’s worth it.
- Setting intentions works. Say it out loud, share it with others, write it down. Hold on to it.
- Putting positive energy into the world (your space) comes back to you.
- Nature and good nutrition are healing.