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My Life is a Wellness Sabbatical

Do you feel well?

Wellness and wholeness are two staples of health that 2020 has brought to light for so many.

The many life-changing events of this year have pushed a ‘hard reset’ button on the go-go-go cycle that we were all caught up in, and forced a reckoning of our priorities. It’s highlighted the importance of self-care, soul-care, and has redefined the work-home balance.

Trending in 2020 is the Wellness Sabbatical, and with many people being forced into this trend unintentionally, it definitely looks like it will be the true wave of the future.   The term was originally coined as the solution to the ever pressing need to strike a balance between the pursuit of wellness and the need to work.  The wellness sabbatical is type of reset, but an intentional one — where employees or “digital nomad” freelancers book “time off” to a retreat and continue to work while they have a wellness experience. They learn to balance productive hours with spa treatments, nutritious foods, and calming environments to refresh their minds and bodies. Doesn’t that sound nice?

The term “sabbatical” finds its roots in the Bible describing a day of rest – the Sabbath.  In years past it was often teachers, academics, and clergy who took the year or several months off to spend time researching, writing, or traveling.  However more recently, we are finding more companies who are committed to the wellness of their employees; encouraging time away from the traditional work environment in order for them to recharge and pursue personal passions.  Corporations are understanding the importance of wellness for their employees and are able to quantify the impact of overall wellbeing on productivity and the bottom line.

A Switzerland-based serviced office provider, IWG, found that 70 percent of professionals already work remotely at least one day a week and 53 percent work remotely for at least half of the week. [i]  With the current world’s forecast it would be safe to assume that the number of individuals working from home continue to increase beyond these numbers.  As corporations are facing moving their workforces home, the chances of booking that wellness sabbatical on your company’s dime are slim … but that doesn’t mean you don’t need one.

We all need Wellness Sabbaticals in 2020, even if we are stuck at home.

More people are working from home — meaning you both live and work in the same space — so even if this new trend of three weeks at a lush mineral spa full of meditation and breath work and good Wi-Fi isn’t in your plans, the retreat can take place in your home!

There is an opportunity to adjust our homes to a Wellness Sabbatical environment and place rest and boundaries into our daily routines. If you never skip breakfast or your morning cup of tea, you know what it means to build in good practices to your schedule… rest is next to add to your list.

Whether it be in nature or farming, we know that when the land rests it will turn over and produce more. Our society has been getting rest along with the earth these past few months. What has this period of rest in society created for our environment? No smog in LA, less pollution everywhere, and a reset for many ecosystems… Truly, a breath of fresh air. I see dogs finding homes, parents being present with their children and businesses focusing on what really matters… their customers.

It’s very easy to see this season in our life as a negative because we didn’t exactly choose this rest period … but how can we turn it into something that we can optimize, and benefit from? What have we learned that is positive, how can we sustain it? How can we continue to create MORE restful moments?

We need rest and boundaries in this “new normal.”

Borders and boundaries are indicators for your “start” and “stop.” Our new normal and new working atmosphere has made our borders and boundaries more permeable than they every have been.  Our family life and our work life have blended together in the same place.  With a step in one direction you are loading clothes into the washer and a step in the other direction you are uploading a business presentation.  There isn’t a more important time to solidify your borders and boundaries to ensure productivity and wellbeing is maintained in every sphere.  Let the people in your surroundings know when you are working or resting — these tasks are equally important, though it may feel strange at first to treat them as such.

The needs of others can feel more urgent than they should, and you will need to establish boundaries and borders with the people you live and work with, around both work and rest times. Maintaining your own wellness and productivity requires you to be disciplined with your boundaries — and when you’re at home, you have to be even more strategic about cut off times — but the rewards are more than worth it.  The outcome? You feel more balanced and in tune with all facets of your day.

How to create a wellness sabbatical in your daily life:

Home can be a place where everything flows in, somewhat chaotically — this means you must carve out space just for you.

Create a home retreat, a space for yourself to rest and be refreshed. It can be a corner of the house or garden or an entire room. Designate the space as My Restful Area, a sacred space that you can find respite and feel free of distractions.

What might it look like? Comfy pillows and candles. Essential oils, ambiance and the atmosphere really make a difference.  Think soft colors, indoor plants, tranquil sounds, and dim lights – whatever makes you most comfortable. The goal is to get your nervous system to relax. Practice being quiet. Find stillness in this space, and hold it as long as you can. Don’t forget to BREATHE DEEP.

Going outside to get quiet can also be very effective, and don’t forget that sleep is very important. Part of a Wellness Sabbatical lifestyle is going to bed on time.

Speaking of time…

Can we change how we perceive time?

Time is a qualitative experience, meaning that whether we perceive its passing as gruelingly slow or fleeting depends on our value of it. I’m sure you can recall an experience that was so amazing, that you got so much out of, that was so enriching and fun, that you lost the concept of time entirely.

Time has more to do with our mindset than anything else — how we experience time, that is. We have become slaves to time – our anthem has become, “Oh gosh, we don’t have enough!”

Instead of being so stressed and inundated with the clock, think about time dominion as opposed to time management. Time management focuses on controlling a fixed or limited asset in a useful and effective way.  Time dominion or time bending is all about viewing time through the lens of stewardship.  When we practice time dominion, we are able to increase the quanity and quality of time we have with any given person or assignment.  With time dominion we are able to experience the fullness or covergence within time itself – we dwell in the moment and the experience of being in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.  All things are “right” and there is an ease, a grace, a fullness in time.  It is in these flexible moments in time, these bendable fabrics of time and space that we improve quality of life and productivity within time itself – we are able to leverage time.

How do we draw the most out of our time and have enriching experiences?  We have to be able to flow and be.  We must find ourselves in the be-ing. Tune in to the rhythm of your day by allowing things to come together or fall apart, flow into the rhythm of what is happening in the moment.

The Takeaway:

When we ask ourselves questions about making the most of this life, we should really update our thought process on the concept of time. Our perceptions make all the impact in our day.  Our perceptions of the moment add up to be the decades of our life.

It’s critical that we don’t hook up to time; that we allow ourselves to regularly lose track of it in having a good experience. That is the flow state, where you can move from rest to action, and then action to rest, again.

My life is a wellness sabbatical. I hope you can say the same, or that you’ll be saying it very soon.

[i] Press Release: The End of the Traditional 9-5? IWG New Study Finds 70 Percent of Us Skip the Office to Work Elsewhere, IWG, 30 May 2018