This past year I’ve been on a journey of trying to figure myself out. Two questions at the front of my mind were “Where do I want to be with my life?” and “What do I want to be doing?” It took me awhile to even figure out why I needed this break. Things had been going well. I was building a blog and interacting with my audience. I was building a reputation as a writer and editor. Why did I want to walk away?
Sometimes taking a break, or taking some time off is considered a sign of weakness, a sign that you are not committed. Aren’t we all supposed to be continuously pushing forward, always striving to do more and to be more? But sometimes a readjustment or taking a break is so much more healthy than continuing to push through.
I could look back at that year and think of all the time I wasted, all the hours and days that I let fall to waste only to end up here at the exact same place. How much further ahead would I be if only I had pushed through the dark spots? But, I don’t look at it that way at all. Instead, I see that where I am now, is where I really want to be, what I should be doing. I feel I’ve explored and experienced new things and that sense of exploration has allowed me to return to my work with new ideas and viewpoints.
Then when I started to think about it I realized that I had unconsciously created my own sabbatical.
The term “sabbatical” is derived from the idea of the biblical Sabbath, or period of rest, which helps to fulfill the deep human need for rest and rejuvenation. A sabbatical can be of any length, but most are from two months to a year. Why are they important? Because sometimes when you’re in the middle of things it’s difficult to find any sort of path out. Generally you become busy reacting to the needs of others instead of creating the space for your own work.
I think as parents of children with hearing loss we have a tendency to do these things. To focus so intently on the needs of our child, on the intricacies of special education law, on the technicalities of trouble shooting cochlear implants that we forget to focus on what we need to survive.
Taking a sabbatical from these moments in our lives can help us quiet our brains, expand our knowledge, and allow us the space to breathe. Putting aside the special education law textbook for two weeks and reading a work of non-fiction or some poetry can help your mind rest and see things from a different point of view. Taking a two month sabbatical from working on speech sounds with our child every night can help us find different ways to connect and allows both you and your child to return refreshed.
As we move into the month of February I’m planning on a series of posts focused on self-care. As caregivers and parents of children with hearing loss it’s so easy for us to forget about our needs and focus solely on the needs of our children. And it is so easy to get lost in the micro focus on those needs. It’s important to know that it’s okay to step back from the needs of our children in order to gain more clarity. That we can take a sabbatical and come back refreshed and renewed and eager to continue the work we need to do.
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