Putting ‘real life’ on pause for an hour, afternoon or overnight is good for the soul — and personal sanity
»by Heather Hower
|A break can reinvigorate the soul and make us all better moms, wives, friends — women. A weekend away isn’t always an option, so whether you have a morning, a day or even just an hour, there are plenty of ways to refresh close to home.|
Ways to refresh are different for each woman: run 15 miles, do a century ride, skin up the mountain or play hockey, get a facial, acupuncture or massage. A perfect day might be combining the sweat with the spa, but time doesn’t always permit.
After a break, you’re more engaged, more patient, kinder, and probably more willing to laugh at mini catastrophes like spilled cereal or a wet bed. A 2002 UCLA study proved what we already know: Girlfriends are good for us. When we’re around friends, oxytocin is released. This is science – we feel euphoric because we are euphoric.
Bethanie Lindal, MSW, LCSW, CSPT, owner of Peak Counseling, agrees – and just like the rest of us struggles to take breaks, even as she knows it’s best for her, her family and her practice.
“It is important to nurture your mental wellness, which will keep you healthier all around. One is more patient and more empathetic, leading to being a better human in all avenues of your life,” she says. “I very much believe it is important to ensure psychological well-being. As a therapist, I make sure I do it for my own well-being, so I can be present for my clients and effectively support them. But also so I can be the best I can be in my own life. I have a stockpile of self-care practices: exercise, being in nature, socializing, art…It is so important to be the best you, you can be.”
Just a one-hour break can refresh. When I took a break on my yoga mat recently I felt delinquent — I had a list to finish before Friday and should’ve just worked through yoga, right? Wrong! It was as if my yoga teacher crawled into my mind when she said she used to think doing a yoga practice was selfish and she felt bad about taking that time for herself, until she realized by taking that time, she served others better and with more joy. Guilt be gone.
If you have a full morning free, plan a nature escape: text a couple of friends or gals you think you want to be friends with and go. Twenty minutes to the trailhead, three miles up, three miles back, two hours of chatter and a respite from the never-ending mental clutter of work, chores and the to-do list.
Planning ahead, especially with young kids, might be out of the question. Grab any last-minute moments to yourself you can. Maybe your tot got a make-up day at preschool, or you took your friend’s daughter for the day and it’s time for payback. Check out the Vail Daily, Groupon, True Local Deals on KZYR or even Vail Moms Classifieds on Facebook to score a sweet, last-minute deal on a spa treatment. Sure, the treatment is a delight but it could be that the unexpectedness makes it even sweeter.
If you’re able to get away for an overnight, try something different like one of the 10th Mountain Division Huts that are easy to get to. Hang out under the glittering stars, sip from a box of wine, sit by the fire and laugh. Several huts are easy to get to or the more adventurous pals can skin or snowshoe a few miles in.
Adventure minded but not able to get an overnight? Take a break with none of the hassle of hauling gear. Park at the base of Beaver Creek and hike up Bachelor Gulch to the Ritz-Carlton. Sit by the roaring fire, order a Moscow mule and pretend you’re a tourist.
Nicole Hewitt, a mother of two in Eagle, stretched way out of her comfort zone last year and came away with a new gaggle of pals and a new sport. “I played (ice hockey) for the first time last season. Everyone on my team and in the league was really supportive. It is a lot of fun. I really looked forward to my Sundays to do something for me. I recommend if you are considering, do it. When I’m playing hockey, I’m completely focused on the game — work, kids, what I’m going to make for dinner, my list of to dos are all put on the back burner. It’s like a cleansing of the mind… And also an amazing workout. The social aspect is another bonus, I made some great new friends and went to a few great parties.”
A night out with just a bit of debauchery shouldn’t be out of the question. Let’s not trivialize a night out by calling it “Girls’ Night Out,” it’s a night out, period. Hire the Turtle Bus and hit the town. It might be for a friend’s birthday, a fundraiser or because there’s a great concert. Dance, sing, have a sip — and that’s just on the way there. Burton’s US Open always has a killer line up of music and you get an adrenaline rush just watching the half-pipe action under the bright lights.
Still don’t feel like you have the time? There are so many ways to take a break: Bring your posse to paint a canvas, volunteer at the Salvation Army, help at a community dinner, build a house with Habitat for Humanity, go to an early morning yoga class, hire a chef to give your group a private cooking class, do a sunrise workout on Vail Mountain.
Bottom line, though, just do it.
It really does take a village to raise a child. And in Eagle County, part of that village can be the PwrHrs Afterschool Program. It’s easy to succumb to the idea that moms — both working and stay at home — need to be able to take care of everything, everybody, all of the time. It’s an impossible proposition, and doesn’t account for the reality of too little time and too much to do. Youth Power365, funded by the Vail Valley Foundation, is a year-round endeavor that strives to serve “Every Child, Every Day.”
During the school year, PwrHrs is a great option for kids who need a boost in order to thrive. Offered in every school, the PwrHrs program serves more than 4,000 Eagle County kids.
Designed for kids age 5 to 13, PwrHrs uses local teachers and facilities combined with a powerful 6-to-1 student/teacher ratio that accelerates growth for students. PwrHrs provides extended learning and enrichment opportunities such as nutrition, character building, athletics, dance, music and art for students three to four days per week. The additional time spent on academics and participating in safe after-school enrichment activities improves academic scores and promotes social, emotional and physical well-being.
After a four-week summer PwrHrs program, 65 percent of participants experienced growth in their literacy scores and 71 percent of experienced growth in their math scores.
“We are so incredibly lucky to be a part of a community that cares so much about its children,” says Rewold-Thuon. The program relies upon donations to cover the gap between what it costs and what families are asked to pay.
For more information, visit vvf.org/education/youthpower365.