Give Yourself Permission.

It’s Monday. I’m not working. My work email has an auto-reply on it saying I’m not checking it. Text or call if you need me before Tuesday…and really, it better be an emergency.

Why? I know I need to take care of myself.

I had a long spring at work. I had to pretty much put my personal life on hold for a month. Some people can do that without problem. I can’t. It’s not how I roll. It’s not how I find balance and enjoyment in life. But, at the time it needed to be done because it was one of those times my employer needed me most.

Now, I have to be extra intentional about giving myself permission and space to re-charge. If not, I’m not the husband, father, employee, leader, or friend I want to be.

Today I took my daughter to school. I went to a coffee shop and wrote. Then I took a yoga class. Late in the morning I had a glorious swim outside in the sun along with my lovely bride. I’m sitting in a different coffee shop now, writing this post. The garage door that forms a wall here is up and open, embracing the current, glorious weather in the Pacific Northwest.

And I’m not fucking working. The email count I can see on my phone is growing. That feels glorious.

I had a lovely weekend with my wife doing a mud run and taking a short overnight trip for a fun wedding, but it didn’t address the need I have for time that wasn’t dictated by other people’s schedules. I’ve taken time off at other points since that chaotic stretch at work, but I could feel this day off coming when I realized in recent weeks I was getting precious little time to myself, day-in and day-out.

I used to be terrible at dealing with that. Things would spiral. I would be unhappy. And I sure as hell wasn’t able to show up the right way at home, work, or elsewhere.

I just have to own that now and do what needs to be done moving forward.

My day’s activities may sound odd, but it’s what works for me. My wife and were both seriously excited to swim outside in the sun, let alone together. It’s something we both appreciate and value. The water calms us as individuals, in addition to feeding our desire for fitness.

What’s your pool? What do you need to find time to do for your own health, well-being, and sanity?

Find a way to jump in that pool…and let your significant other jump in theirs! Who cares what other people think about it. I didn’t give myself permission to do that for way too long. And it’s one reason much of life almost fell apart a couple years ago. Trust me, you don’t want that.

So, happy jumping! It can make all the difference.

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