“It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.”

~ Brené Brown

At the start of December I’ll admit that I was exhausted. I’d had a very busy autumn full of work travel, my dear dog passed away, and I had a month-long vacation to pack for that at the time felt overwhelming (crazy as that sounds, right?). Well, my hubby and I just got back from that trip – 4 weeks of rest and play in New Zealand – and it was a fabulous, adventure-filled experience! While I absolutely needed the break, it took me a bit of time to truly embrace it. And it begs the question…

Do you give yourself permission to step away from the craziness of work and life to simply rest and play? Mid-January is a good time to reset after the busyness of the holidays; to rest, play, pause, think, and ultimately succeed!

Last week, just before I left New Zealand, I shot this video and then didn’t have good enough internet access to upload it before I left there… so I’m sharing it this week as I recover from jet lag and set my sights on a great year!

Watch it below, or read the transcript that follows, then think about your own plan for rest and play.

Kia Ora, mates. Michelle Cederberg coming to you from New Zealand on the last day of our month long holiday. We’re in Hanmer Springs, about an hour North of Christchurch. We fly out or there tomorrow for the long journey home.

We have been planning this trip for over two years and I can admit that when my husband first brought up the idea, I thought, a month away? How can two self-employed people possibly take that much time off of work? But then we started to think about it a little bit more, about why it would be good for us to get away from our very busy businesses and our very busy lives to just rest and play. And we decided that since it’s summertime in New Zealand over Christmas, and it’s not very busy over the holidays in our business, we can make this work. Mid-December to mid-January, Carpé Freakin’ Diem! A month in New Zealand!

And it’s been fantastic. We have been to Christchurch, Queenstown, Dunedin, and Wanaka. We have been golfing a bit. We have been mountain biking a tonne. We did The Old Ghost Road, and I’ll tell you right now, if you want to see some splendor in New Zealand and you’re a mountain biker, put that on your bucket list. Check out my feed on Instagram @cederbergspeaks to see a little bit of what we’ve been up to, and don’t forget to check out the story while you’re there.

But that’s not what this is about. When we did finally commit to the trip, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is going to be great!’ Then when we got here, I will fully admit that it took me a while to get into this non-work mode. How could I possibly not check in? How could I possibly not open my laptop? But I haven’t done that. I haven’t opened my laptop for 27 days!

Here’s the thing. It took me a while, but then I decided, ‘Well, there’s not much going on at home anyways. The holidays are winding up and it’s not a busy time in the business, so why not just surrender to the experience?’  I chose to rest, play, and be in the moment to take in all the splendor that New Zealand has to offer. And let me tell you, it’s been a wonderful thing. Rest and play.

And here’s the magic about rest and play. It’s not just about restoring mine and body, it’s also a great professional development tool. When we rest and play, we give ourselves opportunity to re-energize for all the work that is to come. Our creativity is boosted because our brain is de-stressed and we’ve got less cortisol running through the system, so we’re able to think more clearly and more creatively. And we are able to detox from the stress of everyday life, certainly digital detox was a thing for me. So there was very little email, there was just a little bit of social media, and more importantly, I was just kind of in the moment.

Now, I fully acknowledge that a month off is not a typical holiday de-stressor. For most of us, in the busyness of Christmas and New Years and Hanukkah, or however you spend the holidays, it’s go go, go, and parties and family visits and to-do, to-do, to-do, to-do, to-do. Because of that you might be coming to January now with a little more fatigue in your body than you might like. So here’s a little bit of advice that I’m going to offer you simply because of that.

In the next couple of weeks, ignore the social media posts that are saying, “Do your resolutions now! New year, new you! Create the life that you want! Goals, goals, goals!” Instead, I say stop. I’m not suggesting that you slack off, I’m just suggesting that you take the time to set your goals meaningfully and not jump in just because every single social media meme says that you should. Good goals, the ones that you really want to go after are going to take longer than a year to create and bring to fruition anyways, so you might as well slow down and ease into the process so you do it right.

Watch this video to learn why resolutions don’t work anyways. You’ve got time. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be in it the moment social media says, “You got to get this done!” We all have goals that we want to achieve and I say you’re going to be more likely to achieve them if you rest, play, think, write stuff down, be in the moment, and pay attention to what the head and the heart are telling you you need for yourself.

And I’m going to tell you this right now. Despite the fact that I’ve been away for a month, when I get back to cold Calgary, I will be taking a little bit of time to reflect on this holiday, to reflect on the business as it was before the holidays, and where I want to take it in the year ahead and beyond. We need to give ourselves that gift. It’s something that we need so much more of and we don’t give it to ourselves. It’s how we work. It’s how our body works, rest and play for professional development.

I want to stay in New Zealand, but I’m also really eager to get back to work and share more messages with you in the new year. New stuff coming down the pipe. New book coming down the pipe. Wait for it! Make sure you sign up for my posts on YouTube or wherever you’re seeing this, and checkout the social media channels below because there’s some good stuff coming your way.

And if you’ve got goals that you’ve been thinking about, share them in the comments below.

I’m Michelle Cederberg reminding you we’ve got one chance to do this life. I say Dare to Live it Big and with a little bit of courage to slow down every now and then. Rest, play, pause, think, succeed. See you in Canada on the flip side.

Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc

Empowering today’s dreamers, leaders and go-getters to create the life and career they want.


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