Tis the season to be frantic, stressed, exhausted, Jolly!
How will we ever get to “jolly” when frantic, stressed and exhausted are what we really feel? The answer: By creating my next favorite word – Respite.
The word respite is defined as a usually short interval of rest or relief. I was first introduced to the word as a special education teacher. Many of the parents I worked with needed to find a respite from the overwhelming task of raising a child with special needs. Many years later, when I was enveloped in my healing journey, respite took on a new meaning. It became a necessary strategy in my fight to survive.
Here’s what I say in Chapter 4 of Say It Out Loud:
Creating a Respite Pg53
The journey to healing is long and can consume your whole being. You can be wrapped up in the various stages of therapy twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. And yet if you remain in this intense state of awareness, you will soon be devoid of any emotional and physical energy to go on. But the reality is that life will go on regardless. Jackson Browne’s song title “Running on Empty” puts words to this thought. You cannot put the demands of your family and your job on hold just because you are running on empty. So how do you manage your life and find the time or place to refuel? How do you put the most invasive time of your life aside long enough to give you the respite you need to regain strength?
I go on to explain how to use an existing place or new setting to create a respite.
Surviving the holidays is certainly not on the same level but it is a fight for survival all the same. If you are going to be “jolly” or enjoy this magical season you’ll need a strategy for regaining your strength and sanity. One of my favorite episodes of I Love Lucy is when Lucy does a TV commercial for Vitameatavegamin. If you’ve never seen it, check it out online. It will surely make you laugh but I can’t promise it will provide you with the respite you need.
Here’s my recipe for Creating a Respite. I hope it’s the best holiday recipe you receive this year!
Recipe for Creating a Respite:
- Quiet Space – sunlit room, favorite park, the beach
- Time Frame – designate the amount of time you’ll allow so you are not concerned about children, spouse, pets or other responsibilities
- Comfort – clothing, blanket, warmth
- Accessories – candle, soft music, book
- Choose from these ingredients or be creative. This time is designed just for you.
- Turn off your computer and cell phone and choose a time that will not be interrupted.
- Get comfortable. Comfort is a key ingredient—an old sweatshirt, pajama pants, your favorite music, lighting and temperature all add to the success of this recipe.
- And the final, crucial step: turn off the guilt switch in your head! You deserve this and the end result will be a much more pleasant, productive woman to be around.
Repeat at least once a week between now and the holidays.
Now, be honest. How many of you are saying, great idea! Knowing you’re never going to take the time to create your respite? I know, I’ve been there!
I want you to take a moment and really reflect on this. Jot down the ingredients that would create a respite for you and pick one day that you’ll allow yourself this rejuvenating time. I promise you won’t regret it, you may even thank me!
As women we tend to put ourselves at the end of the list. We are “running on empty” more often than we’ll admit. Ann Quasman wrote a wonderful post last week, The Love Up on You List. If you haven’t already, please take the time to read it. She is a woman who understands creating a respite!
From 3:30 – 4:00 today you’ll find me on my couch, under the afghan, listening to my favorite Christmas music—no phone calls please. And my mani-pedi is already booked for December 23. What will you do to create a respite this month? Please share with us in the comments.
Wishing you all a wonderful, relaxed Holiday Season!
Roberta Dolan is a former special education teacher with a master’s degree in counseling. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Roberta has made it her mission to end the silence of sexual abuse, lend support to survivors, and educate others on preventing child sexual abuse through seminars, her blog, Write to Survive, and website www.RobertaDolan.com. Say It Out Loud: Revealing and Healing the Scars of Sexual Abuse (She Writes Press 2014) is Roberta’s first book. A unique blend of memoir and how-to, the book offers strategies for healing from any type of personal trauma. Roberta is available to speak to book clubs, women’s groups and organizations on Healing and the Power of Saying it Out Loud.