Even the smallest of tasks started to feel like a mountain.

That’s when I knew something was wrong. I was staring burnout right in the face. Its beady eyes were glaring at me, and I was stubbornly avoiding its gaze.

My husband actually was the one to force the issue. You could say he was being kind and supportive, or maybe he was just tired of my irritability and lethargy. Either way, he freed me up to go on a little personal retreat at a bed and breakfast.

The thought of taking two days away from my business and my family made me nervous and feel guilty. I had mountains of deadlines, and shouldn’t I be spending any free time with my husband and the kids?

But off I went. I packed comfy clothes, a few books, my laptop, and plenty of indulgent snacks, of course (a bottle of Malbec may or may not have made its way into my bag as well.) The funny part—I wasn’t even leaving the town my family lives in. But it felt like another world.

The place was delightful—a charming B&B complete with lawn chairs nestled amongst the trees, a yoga studio, and a gorgeous dining room. The owners had mastered the art of being accommodating with just the right amount of distance. And don’t even get me started on the gourmet breakfasts. They were heaven.

I spent my time there writing, doing some business and life planning, napping, reading on the sunny patio, and just being still for a change. The slow pace, quiet, and isolation felt awkward at first, honestly, but I settled into a peaceful rhythm pretty quickly. I shut my phone off most of the time and only cracked open the MacBook to journal or plan big-picture priorities or goals.

I left the retreat with only one regret: I had waited too long to do it in the first place.

There are a million reason not to make time for a personal retreat. Trust me, I employed all of the excuses possible. Not enough time or money, seeing it as too indulgent, feeling guilty about family responsibilities, or just not seeing the value in the first place.

But I’ve since learned the truth—taking time for a personal retreat isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Our souls simply need white space. There has to be time for recharging and refueling built into our days or we’re shortchanging ourselves, limiting our potential, and risking serious burnout. Don’t wait until you’re on the verge of a meltdown (like I did), to make this part of your yearly rhythm. And even if you can’t make two days away happen (there were many years I could not), find something doable. Spend an afternoon at cozy coffee shop, take a day away at a state park, or crash at a friend’s quiet guest room for a night. You won’t be sorry.

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