What to do when you just want to run away


Sometimes I feel like I want to run away.


Often, in fact. And so many women I speak to feel the same way. Sometimes life just gets a bit much. Whether it’s the responsibilities of our jobs or our children, things can creep up and in a single moment of overwhelm feel all too much to cope with. Know what I mean?


We’ve always been taught to stick things out.


That hard work pays off. That winners never quit. That you can’t shirk your responsibilities. That life is difficult. And with all of these rigid and restrictive belief systems swirling around in the back of our already-busy minds, we march through our lives firmly attached to our duty. What is duty? It’s a commitment, a responsibility, an obligation…all noble and steadfast, and of course, often times very necessary.


And sometimes not.


Sometimes we need to drop the guilt that we aren’t doing right by someone, that we might be disappointing someone, that we aren’t being the perfect [wife/mother/employee/friend…insert appropriate role here]…ah. That’s the real issue isn’t it?


We are trying so hard to be perfect.


And that means following through on everything, adhering to every commitment, never saying no and at every opportunity possible, proving our value in being here. Because just being here isn’t of value in itself? So we have to prove our worth as a “stay at home” mother or as a relevant and useful employee? It’s all rather exhausting isn’t it?


Sometimes we need a break from all of this


Sometimes we just need to get away from it all and allow ourselves the incoming of good stuff. I used to be really good at this. I used to feel balanced and the out surge of energy was well maintained by a frequent top-up of feel good stuff to nourish and sustain me.

Recently, however, I’ve found myself falling into the guilt trap. Work harder, see more clients, spend every spare moment of time studying, allocate free time to people who require your input and effort. As if I have to justify that every pocket of my time is productive and well spent.


But what if down time is even more productive?


What if I am a better practitioner because I am rested and revived? What if I am more patient with my partner’s child because my soul feels nourished and energized? What if I am a better friend because I have so much joy in my life?


We can’t be the person we would like to be out of obligation. 


Bringing authentic care, patience, fun, joy and presence to anyone or anything is only possible when we feel happy and good about ourselves.


And sometimes that means running away.


Yes, I said it. Running away.

Yesterday, after an intense week of work and several hours with my partner’s child, I needed a break. It was no one’s fault. There was no drama or fighting or any particular reason to make my need feel “justified”, but in that moment, justification wasn’t necessary. I wanted out. I wanted space. So I did. I met a friend at a yoga class and afterwards we enjoyed a good laugh over breakfast. I breathed. I spoke. I expressed. I shifted perspective. I felt like myself again. And that changed everything.


Running away doesn’t mean you are shirking your responsibilities.


It means that you are tuned in to what you need to regain balance and perspective. It means restoring your sense of self. It doesn’t mean going away for weeks on end to find yourself (you’re still here aren’t you?). It can be for a weekend or it can be for 2 hours. But it has to be a complete break from the routine and responsibility. And it has to be guilt free. Did you hear me? It has to be guilt free.


This week, do something that makes you feel good about yourself again.


Go for a walk on the beach – your husband won’t think you are over-indulgent. Tell your boss you won’t be at that function – he won’t think you suck at your job. Have an evening out laughing with friends – your kids won’t think you’re a neglectful mother.


Or just run away like a stroppy teenager. And then come back. It’ll be fine, I promise.