I Needed A Time Out

There are days that I don’t want to do a thing – not get out of bed, not workout, not get out of my pajamas and certainly not take care of any of my responsibilities pertaining to myself or my family.

Relaxation, Time Out, Rest DAy

Time Out: A bath and a drink is one way – Image: Crises_CRS

In the days before I was a parent, I heeded the warning call of the need for a “time out” and did not a bloody thing all damned day.  Those days were glorious – I stayed in pajamas, ate whatever I chose (and usually in larger amounts than I needed) and binged on movies or television all day long.  There were times I even took sick days from work to do absolutely nothing.

I have depressive tendencies and sometimes instead of fighting them, I just give in.  It isn’t productive in the sense of getting things done but it does do something.  It soothes my soul.  Removing myself from the chaos of life for a short time allows something within me to go slack(er) and clear my head of the constant buzz that are my senses working overtime (yes, an XTC quote).

This week, I really needed a “time out”.  I had been solo parenting for a number of days and the plethora of responsibilities rendered me into overload.  I wish I had the switch inside that would propel me to run or exercise when this happens.  Even the motivational sayings that cleverly promote the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of exercise do nothing to initiate the fundamental shift inside me that would the activate a healthier alternative to a “time out” from the real world.


Then I realize that my “time out” is healthy.  I’m listening to me – not the part of me that wants adrenalin, sweat, muscle development or cardiovascular conditioning but the part of me that wants and needs a special sense of zen that for me, exercise doesn’t provide.

I love being active but I also love not being active…sometimes.   As an over-analyzer, these types of days are hard.  I grapple with the desire for nothingness and the feelings of obligation to exercise.  There’s plenty of negativity.  I tune in, acknowledge the thoughts and feelings and then I move on.  Time has shown that if I give these demons their due, the vaporize but if I ignore them, they gain strength and they pull me down into the rabbit hole of depression.

So, like I do in exercise classes that are hard on my lower back, I modified.  It wasn’t a “time out” of old because the child and dog wouldn’t understand but I canceled a scheduled workout class, handled morning responsibilities pertaining to the dog and Wild Boy, did school drop-off and when I got home I made some hot chocolate, shut the curtains and the lights and sat down and watched a hell of a lot of episodes of “Parenthood”.

When school-pick up time came, I didn’t want to get up from the couch, take a shower and leave my reverie of slugdom to meet obligations but I did.  I soothed my soul a little bit and tomorrow, I think a yoga class will be in order.

Yoga, Relax, Time Out, Rest Day

Image: Mosabua

Yoga feeds me in a way no other form of exercise does.  Group Reformer Pilates classes are challenging and running can be glorious but there’s something entirely different about yoga.  Yoga really does feed me body and soul and I guess my “time out” let me know that it’s time for this dietitian to make a greater effort to be better nourished.

About Melissa Burton

I’m Melissa Burton, a recent transplant from Brooklyn, New York to Southern California. By profession, I’m a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. In my actual life I’ve been a million things ...

17 Responses to I Needed A Time Out

  1. Carolyn West

    I don’t think I know one mother who actually takes “enough” time out for themselves. It’s hard to do when you are responsible for another person(s) 24/7, yet it’s SO important for our sanity.
    Carolyn West recently posted…UncommonGoods Thinks It’s Better to GiveMy Profile

    • Melissa Burton

      So true Carolyn. It is strange how the need can come crashing down on you though, right?

  2. Tottums

    Time to ourselves is SO important for parents. I’m so thankful that I have a ‘tribe’ of family members (including a husband) that totally ‘gets’ that need.
    Tottums recently posted…Brew Over Ice – a giveaway!My Profile

    • Melissa Burton

      You are lucky indeed! I have support as well but I find that often it’s me that’s preventing myself from taking the time I need until the “call” comes (and by that time it’s desperate).

  3. Tonya

    You are not alone, sister!! Time outs are so important and yoga is wonderful. Here’s hoping you get more days of nothing.
    Tonya recently posted…Shaking That Feeling: What Infertility Struggles Do To YouMy Profile

    • Melissa Burton

      Thank you for the support Tonya! Hoping you are feeling well. Love the Chucks picture you posted recently!

  4. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance

    I completely understand you about the time out. I do this too! I find that I need to do it around October/November because my summers are so packed with activities, weekends away, etc that I kind of get overloaded and while the nice weather sort of helps me stave off feelings of wanting to stay inside and watch TV, once it gets cool I just need a minute to unwind. Congrats to you for putting in some self time. I think we work so hard and do so much everyday that these days are necessary!
    FitBritt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…What you Need in Your Gym Bag + A Giveaway!My Profile

    • Melissa Burton

      I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one that has these overwhelming feelings and needs to disassociate from life for a bit. Thanks for the support, it means a lot.

  5. Betsy

    Time out’s are so important. I find I can go-go-GO! for 4 days non-stop but on the 5th day I need at least one hour to myself with absolutely no distractions. Enjoy your time!
    Betsy recently posted…The Great List 09.20.2013My Profile

    • Melissa Burton

      Thanks Betsy! I’m surprised with how much positive feedback I’ve gotten on this post when it felt a little shameful to write. Thanks for the support!

  6. Allie Burdick

    Time outs are essential. I used to feel really guilty about leaving the kids to workout or for a dinner out with my husband but it’s BEYOND important. Even if you do nothing (sometimes especially if!) it will absolutely soothe the soul. Good for you!
    Allie Burdick recently posted…The Group X ListMy Profile

    • Melissa Burton

      Getting away from the little guy is still difficult and I feel exceptionally guilty if I go to an exercise class or for a run on a weekend but I understand how necessary it is for my sanity (and in turn for my family too). I think I just need more unplug time than most but it’s who I am so I’m sort of ok with it.

  7. Miya Goodrich

    I can relate to this today. Not because of parenting responsibilities, but because I took on too much work and have been struggling to get it all done. I did what you did, I took care of my dog and the crucial errands, then put myself on the couch! I’m still here and have no plans to get up for the rest of the evening. Except to make blueberry pancakes. ;) Today was for me…tomorrow…back to work.
    Miya Goodrich recently posted…Newly diagnosedMy Profile

    • Melissa Burton

      Miya: Good to know that we all do these things, right? Best of luck with the workload!

  8. Shannyn @frugalbeautiful.com

    I totally fell off the wagon the last two weeks after having long runs each weekend. Taking time off from whatever is tiring you out- work, working out or whatever, is so important!
    Shannyn @frugalbeautiful.com recently posted…How To Get Brands To Notice Your BlogMy Profile

    • Melissa Burton

      Thanks Shannyn! I’m amazed by all that you seem to do busy girl! Not easy to balance what you want and need with obligations and being a well balanced human in this fast paced-always accessible world, right?

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