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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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How Do You Know When It's Time to Just Be?

Positive anticipation is a beautiful thing. When we look forward to doing things that bring us joy, we increase our happiness quotient. When we spend time engaging in favorite activities and being around people that we love, it energizes and rejuvenates us. Every summer for the past eight years, I’ve gone on a beach getaway with three of my girlfriends. It’s something I look forward to all year long. I just returned from this wonderful time away and can still feel the warmth from not only the sun but also from hanging out with my friends.

It’s a low-keyed weekend. We spend as much time as possible at the beach reading, talking, sunbathing, and jumping the ocean waves. This year perhaps more than any other, I noticed how I allowed myself just to be. While I brought a book and my journal, I spent less time reading and writing than I usually do. Instead, I felt content to sit in my beach chair, feet wiggling in the sand, sun warming my body, listening to the sounds around me, taking in the ocean scents, and getting up every so often to immerse myself in the sea.

I needed to be. No agenda. I needed time without the pressure to do and accomplish. I needed the time to reflect, relax, and renew. All thoughts of future plans, to-dos, and lists were suspended for those few days. Time felt slower and luxurious.

How do you like to pause and spend your break time? What renews you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (16)

We need to relax to give our creative side a chance to blossom. I definitely recharge on a beach, and also love just watching. My favorite thing to watch is the tide, as here on Long Island Sound the changes in the tide are practically visible. I am amazed over and over again by the sheer size of the change. Low tide has a totally different vibe than high tide. At this time, the children run out and turn over rocks, it smells a little yucky (to me!), and the breeze on my skin is lighter because I am further from the water. At high tide, the breeze is right on me (which I love), the water feels fresh, and the scene appears "cleaner." And all of this happens twice a day! Kind of thought provoking about how our days ebb and flow as well. There are times to be digging and turning and exploring, and then times to tuck everything away and rest.

June 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

I'm like you. The beach is my place to relax and just be. Something about the noise of the ocean waves and warm sun and sand makes me relax. I can sit and watch the waves for hours. My other way to get away is to garden. I find it easy to focus on what I'm doing and not think about anything else.

June 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Schiesl

Even on vacation, I have trouble "just being" but I definitely slow down, spending most of my time reading, doing crossword puzzles, and coloring. We're going somewhere new this summer, so hopefully I'll be more motivated to get off my butt and engage in some photography. And we'll have a direct view of the water, so the setting will be perfect for just being!

June 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Seana- That's a beautiful phrase, "relax to give our creative side a chance to blossom." I so agree. It sounds like we're similar in that our preferred go-to recharge place is the beach. I love how you connect the ebb and flow of the tides to our days. The sea never rests; however, there are times when the waves are more gentle. It's the constancy, movement, and sound that I find so relaxing.

June 24, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Janet S.- I'm in the middle of reading the book, "The Biophilia Effect." It's the nurturing, restorative relationship humans have with nature. There have been many scientific studies to support this. It's no wonder that so many of us love being near the sea or working in our gardens. I'm not a gardener, but I have a deep love and appreciation for flowers and plants. On occasion, I will do some pruning and planting, but more often I like looking and photographing them. I find it relaxing and uplifting.

June 24, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

@Janet B.- I know what you mean. I was surprised by how much I needed and engaged in "being," without feeling motivated to do, plan, or be productive. Perhaps the influence of my meditation practice allowed me to be more present and calm. I don't know. But I think I had a deep need to "NOT" do. At least that was the case for the getaway. I'm back now and have shifted into the doing mode.

I'm excited for you and your upcoming vacation by the water in a new place. I love exploring new locations and always find it visually exciting to see and capture light, patterns, and colors. Enjoy your vacation time, in whatever way you choose to experience it.

June 24, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Hi Linda
Good reminder to slow down. It’s finally summer and I really want to enjoy it. It goes by so fast. Your post helps me to think about planning some trips to the beach as well as maybe a picnic or two this summer.

June 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKim

@Kim- It's a terrific time of year to slow down. The heat and sun help me to change my pace. It is an excellent season to get outside, breathe in the air, and see all the beautiful blooms. And I agree with you that it will go all too quickly. I hope to savor the days as much as possible. Have fun planning some beach excursions and picnics. That sounds lovely.

June 24, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I also relax and wind down on the beach. Since I don't have a beach nearby, I also find it peaceful to walk or run along nature trails in local parks and greenways.

June 24, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Haworth

@Nancy- Ahhh. Another beach person. Being in nature, whether those constitute nature trails, parks, or any other green space promotes relaxation and well-being. It's beautiful that you have resources near you that you're able to seek out. Being near the ocean is one of my most favorite places to be, yet it's not in my backyard. I have to travel to get there. However, I live in the Hudson Valley that is abundant in other beautiful natural settings. There are rivers, woods, mountains, and more. It's a calm place to be.

June 24, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

This sounds heavenly. BK (before kids :-)) I used to take time for trips like this every year, and I was always SO ready to jump back into work afterwards. Although I do find pockets of peaceful time here and there now, there's nothing like intentionally planning a longer trip to "just be." You have inspired me to think about creating an opportunity for one!

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSara Skillen

@Sara- "Heavenly" is the perfect word to describe the weekend. While I've been back a few days already, thoughts of jumping the waves and being bathed in the hot sun are still with me. Kudos to you for taking the "just be" trips in the past and for identifying that they are something you'd like to return to doing. I'm excited for you!

June 25, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

It is amazing the ongoing positive effects of a refresh/restore break, on my mood, productivity, and certainly level of patience!

June 25, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoborg

Jo- I'm with you! And how powerful that a "restore break" yields such longlasting positive effects- as in better overall mood, increased productivity, and more patience. Those make a winning combo. I noticed too that after the break, I feel less bothered by things that would have pushed me over the edge. It just makes a case for the importance of taking a break, in whatever form you can.

June 25, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

You are so lucky to have a group of friends to get away with. I have a small group of girlfriends in Connecticut who I love to hang out with. I find I can share, discuss, and pipe dream with them in a way that I don't with other friends. My way to refresh is to spend time in nature. I saw that you're reading a book about this. I'm positive that spending time among the trees, in a garden, by the seashore, by a river - where ever in nature - and unplugged has a restorative effect on us. I know for myself the time I spend outside just being allows me to be a better me.

June 26, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

@Diane- You are also lucky having a group of close-knit friends. It's special having that type of support and connection. I know how you love to garden and spend time walking outside with your dogs. There is something undeniably restorative about being in nature- where ever that is. Living in the Hudson Valley provides me with many opportunities to do just that. Regularly, I spend time by the two rivers (Hudson and Croton,) and also enjoy living with the woods as our backdrop. I love your phrase that "...the time I spend outside just being allows me to be a better me." That's a beautiful thing.

June 26, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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