08/06/2014 11:17 am ET Updated Oct 06, 2014

Pushing the Pause Button on Life

Michaela Begsteiger via Getty Images


Because of the craziness of this past month, both traumatic and positive events included, I decided it was necessary to take a break from reality. Last week, two of my best girls and I took a day trip to Lake Geneva, which is a beautifully quaint touristy town set on a gloriously bright, glittering lake. A few blocks of independent boutiques, quirky shops, and unique restaurants surround the clean beaches and elegant boats parked on the water. My girls and I had no plan except to meet for breakfast and then allow the wind to take us wherever it wished. We filled the day with multiple wine tastings and cheese plates, decadent ice cream cones, and gourmet popcorn. It was so refreshing not to care about calories, money, or anything for a day. The outside world disappeared, and we were in our own little Utopia for the day. It felt like we were happily encased in a snow globe, but instead of snow, it was full of summer. The day was perfect. It was slow, easy, sunny, but not too hot, comfortable, and free from all worry and stress. Simply put: It was delicious.

I don't know how else to explain the experience besides saying we put a pause on real life and took a break. We let ourselves immerse in nothing but fun and joy and forgot about everything else temporarily. The world around us was still going on, but it felt as though we weren't aware of it. We were protected from our daily concerns and stresses for that whole day, and it was heavenly. Normally, if I ate how I did that day or shopped as I had shopped, I would've felt immediate remorse and guilt gnaw at my insides. Normally, I'm constantly calculating every dollar I spend and every bite I eat. However for that day, I gave myself permission to set aside those feelings and simply indulge and enjoy. The real world would be available at any time for me to return to; I wanted to and needed to escape it for the day. Allowing myself the freedom to be at ease and so calm turned out to be a kind of experiment with insightful results. I ate so much crap that day, but because I wasn't nervous about anything, my IBS didn't flare up. It was incredulous; I felt like I won something. I won the horrible game I play with my intestines on a daily basis; I came out victorious because I simply relaxed.

I know these idyllic days can't happen all the time, but I realize that I do need to make them happen more often. In fact, I think it's healthy for everyone to take a break from life and treat themselves, even in the smallest of ways. It's hard to hit pause on your worries, especially if you have anxiety as I do, but for me, removing myself from my habitual environment gave me the space and allowance to do so. It was just for a day, but it was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries. It was what I needed to remind myself there's more to life than the continuous hamster wheel of worry and obsessions my mind focuses on most of the time. Pushing the pause button is a necessity. It's the only way I can move forward.

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