Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stress Loss



You know how weight loss adds show the before and after pictures to encourage you to try it yourself? Well, here is my stress loss campaign! 

I feel like a different person returning from my sabbatical (religious-speak for extended vacation away from work). I'm more chill, less worried about the little things, and best part...FULLY RESTED. Those two words are ones I haven't seen in a long time. 

My face holds less tension, my shoulders hold less stress and my doctor shows that my blood pressure has dropped. Those are definitely some practical, visible, tangible results of STRESS LOSS! 

This last month of August Tim and I both took off from work, boarded a plane and headed far west to New Zealand and Australia. We had plans for generally where we would be in those countries each day and which Air Bnb/hotel we were to stay for the night, but other than that our trip was left up for daily adventure. We went to museums, hiked national parks, saw incredible sounds of water with rainbows and wildlife, kayaked, snorkeled, swam, ran, and lounged. We took a long road trip around the southern island of New Zealand and felt like we were gawking at  National Park beauty of snow capped mountains and water everywhere we went. I got to cuddle a koala and feed kangaroos out of my hand in Australia. I took time to look around me. Look up. Look down. Look within and remind myself that even in the midst of a profession that is about caring for others, I can and will care for my needs, too. 

I couldn't have picked a better travel partner than Tim. Even after a full month of travel with just him (this is a feat for an extravert), I didn't want it to end. I'm grateful for the time we got to spend just with each other. Present with each other. Present - without stress or worry or agenda - with each other. It was and is such a gift to our marriage. 

How long does it take to lose stress, you ask? Honestly, I'm not sure. I think somewhere between 2-3 weeks my body went into a deeper level of relaxation. I spent most of the first week sleeping through things, including an intense rugby match. My body was no doubt fighting jet lag, but also just trying to catch up - To get the most of this deep rest before time is cut short. 

Tim and I are very fortunate to have taken this time. It was a gift of my church and a wise and generous move of Tim's company's partners to let us get a way for a bit. And we are forever thankful to those communities. This time away feels like a game changer. A reset button. A fresh new start with some more energy and more balanced perspective. 

So, I encourage you to try it for yourself! Pastor-types, negotiate sabbaticals. I chose one month every three years instead of three months every seven. Church-types, encourage your pastor to take extended breaks. Other worker-bees like Tim, I know your professions aren't likely to take the biblical support for sabbaticals, but find the vacation time, ask for time off, it's amazing and well worth the extra effort.

This might be all I write about our month away...seems like work to do more...however,  if you're on instagram, you'll be seeing pictures from our trip on Thursdays (#tbt) from now until forever :) 
Weekly reminders for me and glimpses into what we saw and did for you that helped me gain this perspective on life and appreciation for full and real rest.

Here's todays pic:

#tbt Coolest Pool, Sydney, Australia

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