At the top of March, for the first time ever, I took a scheduled staycation.
If you've been hustling hard toward your 2015 goals like I have, March has probably felt a little easier than February and January, but the pressure is still on. The first quarter flies by so quickly, doesn't it?
I'm going to tell you this because I wish someone had forced me to have a seat and do this last year:
You need to find a day and a half to two days and schedule a staycation.
Last year I walked around in a fog for almost six months before I realized I was suffering from burnout. Yes, it can happen to you. You can be seemingly functional, manage to continue to get most things done, and not even realize you are completely exhausted. If that's how you're living your life, just trudging through everything and scraping by--I promise you, it's not working. Taking time off at certain periods throughout the year to prevent exhaustion is so necessary. (Just so you know, you start approaching BOSS level when you actually begin scheduling the time in advance.)
The first quarter is usually an optimal time for burnout to start creeping its way in.
Some people plan out vacations way ahead of time, and those people tend to have full time jobs with benefits, and are generally not overworked and underpaid. For the entrepreneur and the 9 to 5-er with a side hustle, we're so busy getting things done and moving on to the next thing, it's pretty common for us to pass out from the overwhelm by the time we finally look up from our mile-long to do list. So much to do, so little time. Everything is urgent. Plenty of entrepreneurs are caught up in "being really busy" and believe that they can't take a break. I've been there. I get it.
What I know for sure is that if you don't stop and allow your mind and body to chill the f*ck out, you'll pay for it later in time, lack of productivity, a decrease in overall health, and a decrease in creativity. Not taking a break just makes everything harder.
1. A Staycation is perfect for the budget and time conscious.
You don't need a lot of money. You don't need a lot of time. You just need to get out of your usual environment and unplug. A staycation can be in your city or even a neighboring city. I've taken staycations in Midtown and Vine City, both places are 5 miles or less from my home in Atlanta. This could mean taking a drive up to the mountains, hanging out at friend's lake house or guest bedroom, or checking out an Airbnb in a different part of the city.
2. A staycation is not the same as a weekend.
On weekends you may still check your email, finish the proposal you didn't get to during the week, and also finally get to Target and take care of those weeds in the garden. No. The staycation is not for your personal errands and checking things off your list. The staycation is for you to find the slightly more peaceful and together version of yourself. "But Evi, if I get all those errands done/finally clean out my basement/get all the contacts in my CRM, I will feel more relaxed", you might say. My answer to that is simply, if you relax you'll feel more relaxed.
3. A staycation is for being with your thoughts and doing things that inspire.
This is the time for journaling, meditating, working out, dancing, making stuff--whatever it is that you want to do but tend to push off because you're too busy trying to be "productive" . A staycation is also a great time to reflect on the things that you want to accomplish, what has worked well so far, and even the things that you hope to do and be in the future. It's a great time for catching up on books you haven't had the time to read, and even binge watching shows and movies on Netflix. It's a great time for having conversations with new people you might meet (like your AirBnb host, or someone at the coffee shop), and it's also a good time to have a little space from your significant other. Not that we don't adore our partners, I just think it's important to take a little break from the normal routines of life. My husband and I went on a dinner date during my last staycation, but talked once before then in the 2 days I was gone. There are different rules when you have children, but I'd suggest that you have your partner or whoever is watching them make sure you're not getting called and texted about "who hit who" or where Billy's favorite toy is located while you're on your staycation.
4. A staycation helps you be more productive (just in case it wasn't obvious by now).
When you allow yourself to take a break and do things that feed your soul and creativity, you come back fresh, clear, filled with energy and ideas to take on all of the work that will be there no matter what. Being overworked, exhausted, and half as good as you'd like to be is not a good look, and it's also nowhere near what you're working so hard for in the first place.
So go ahead and take that little break. You owe it to yourself and your business, and I'm sure everyone around you will be glad you did too.
When will you take one and what will you do on your staycation?