For months I’ve been telling Josh, “I need a vacation.”  A respite from the everyday...  The kind of vacation where you travel with your best friend, explore, get lost, and soak up your surroundings.  The kind where you get to step away from your “real” life and reset.

So we planned a trip to Portland, Oregon, and as the plane pushed away in the dark this morning, tears streamed down my checks. I knew I needed a vacation, but I had no idea just how much. It took a few moments, as my breath returned, before I could literally feel the tension in my shoulders let go.  

There is something magical about gazing out an airplane window knowing a break from “real life” is about to begin, to feel like you're leaving the weight of the world behind.  

For just a moment, a single week of time, I get to escape the sadness, the pain, the appointments, the meetings, the laundry, the bills… everything. I get to put it all on the back burner and enjoy life, unhindered by the mundane. 

Sometimes it’s hard to recognize when we need time away.  

We get caught up in the distractions of daily life and miss the signs. Here are just a few of the signs I experienced.  Please take them as a reminder to take care of yourselves, my friends.  I know not everyone can jump on a plane, so find something that works for you.  Find time to take care of yourselves.  

1. The idea of doing another load of laundry feels like climbing Mount Everest. 

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Do regular everyday chores feel like they might send you over the edge?  Josh and I try to keep it light in our house by laughing when we hit our edge, raising our hands and making a declaration: “I’m losin’ it!”  It’s our little signal to each other that we’re at our max and can’t handle much more. It's been two years since we lost Adeline and we still experience these moments frequently.  And then your Word-a-Day calendar literally tells you to take a respite... 

2. You wake up thinking, “How many more days until the weekend?”

I’m sure many of us look forward to our weekends, and Mondays always seem to come along a little too quickly. Are you one of those people who dread waking up Monday morning?  Must you drag yourself out of bed everyday? Do you feel like you're forcing something that just feels off?  Ask yourself, “Do I need some self-care time?” Would that help you face future Mondays?  Would you find a little peace in knowing you took time for yourself and provided your heart and soul with the replenishment it needs?

3. Staying in bed all day sounds like a mighty fine idea!

We’ve all have days when nothing goes right and you wish you could crawl back into bed and just hide for a while. Sleep has always been my “getaway” of choice, a place where I could go to stop the voices in my head, to ignore the emotions, and to hide from it all.  Give yourself a little grace.  There will be days when sleep/rest is exactly what you need, but when you find yourself constantly thinking, “I just can’t wait to go to sleep,” it might be time for a vacation. 

4. Tomorrow feels more like a burden than a gift.  

On the surface you might be a highly-functioning, responsible person who’s getting it all done, but as you close your eyes each night you wonder how you’ll make it through tomorrow.  You struggle with whether or not you can do it all over again. So you find ways to cope: you meditate, do yoga, go for walks, take weekend trips, etc. all in an effort to find a little respite.  All in an effort to breathe, unencumbered by life's daily demands.  

You find yourself exhausted, worn out, beat down, and no one else would know your little secret unless you told them.  

When we lose our sense of gratitude for the gift of tomorrow, it’s probably a good indicator it’s time for a good bit of self-care. 

5. The explorer within you knows there is more to discover.

Many feel a pull to get out of their comfort zones because they know when they do it opens their eyes to new possibilities.  If you feel the need to leave the mundane life behind, even if for just moment, it may be a sign to allow your creative mind the space to breathe. Sometimes, all it takes is a little change of scenery to remind yourself about what really matters most to you. Along the way you might just discover true joy again.   

If you’re willing to listen to your heart, my friend, I believe it will tell you what you truly need.  

Mine needed a big break from reality and so for the next seven days you’ll find me dipping my toes in the waters off the Oregon coastline, writing in quaint coffee shops, hiking under the pines and firs, and climbing to the top of mountains.  We’re off on an adventure to refill our souls and to replenish our hearts.  

Happy trails, my friends. 

Feel free to tag along on my adventures this week by following me on my social media feeds. I promise not to spam you with my vacation photos too much.  :)   

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