Isn’t January a gloomy month? Not in all parts of the country, but it certainly is in Sedona!

It’s also a fresh start.

January is the perfect month to integrate everything that happened last year and prepare for everything that’s coming this year. I actually love the reflective atmosphere January creates, so I set aside two full weeks to simply exist: no work and no agendas. My intention is to totally unplug, so I follow the energy and let myself settle into each moment.

I’ve been doing this for a few years, and I love this practice for three reasons:

  1. I get to nap! Honestly, sometimes I don’t realize how tired I am. Unplugging helps me to slow down and give myself the rest I need. Normally, I never take naps. But I took a nap every day this year during my two weeks off.
  2. I can do what’s most nourishing in each moment. With no agendas or deadlines—no pressure on myself—I can follow my inner guidance and choose what I’m drawn to. Besides napping, this year I did a lot of reading and worked on a few projects that brought me happiness. I usually have a list of a few things I could work on, but once I get into the flow of doing whatever I want, I don’t shame myself if those projects don’t get finished. The point is to do whatever I feel like doing, even if it’s nothing!
  3. I experience so many profound truths. After the first week when I allow myself to rest and slow down, I gain so much clarity about my life, passions, and relationships. Though I use The Passion Test every month, there’s something special about my January sabbatical that brings so much to the surface. I become clear on what I’ve learned in the past year and what will nourish me moving forward.

Taking Time Off Is a Gift to Yourself

First, let me clarify something: when I say “take time off,” I don’t mean a vacation. A vacation is a very different experience. Not only can it be a big expense, but it can also be stressful since there’s a lot of planning involved. You might need to make travel plans and decide on activities, then there’s all the packing!

Unless you’re going on a retreat (which still involves the stress of packing and getting there), a vacation doesn’t offer much time for rest and reflection. Giving yourself space to be alone with no plans is a different kind of consciousness. You’re creating a sacred space (usually in your home, although you could book a hotel room and stay there for two weeks!) where you can sit down daily to go through your vision for your life.

During my two weeks off, I take The Passion Test and multiply it by ten. I’m usually going through it daily to figure out what I need most each day. I also focus on one area of my life at a time so I gain the most clarity.

On Monday, I might focus on my relationships. Tuesday might be on my career. Wednesday might be my emotional life or intimacy with myself. You get the idea.

Often, when people take vacations, or even time off from work, they’re focused on doing, doing, doing. They plan time with friends. They plan outside activities. They try to cram as much as they can into each day, getting caught up on everything on their to-do list.

In the end, they’re not taking any time off “work”—they’re simply changing what type of work they do!

It’s so wonderful to wake up and know that you don’t have to do anything that day if you don’t want to. That’s what I mean when I say you need to take time off for yourself. Your mind, body, and essence are craving to live in the moment, and they want you to find a quiet place to listen to your real needs.

Once you give yourself a true break, your inner guidance will let you know what you need. You may be hit with exhaustion, which is your cue to take a nap and relax for as long as you need. Or you may feel the urge to watch videos about breathwork or go through some guided meditations.

Whatever comes up, try to listen to that voice and follow where the energy leads.

What to Expect on Sabbatical

So far, I’ve been talking about taking time off for two weeks. This is the amount of time I recommend, but I know that’s not always easy! It doesn’t have to be two weeks. If you only have room in your calendar for three days or even one day, do it!

But the shorter the amount of time you take off, the more structured you might need to make it. I suggest this because it can feel jarring to suddenly do nothing (even though it often leads to the most clarity).

A lot of people live very regimented lives: they wake up at the same time, go to work, come home at the same time, etc. So, suddenly not having that routine can send you into a bit of shock and you may feel uneasy. It can be challenging and uncomfortable to transition into nothingness.

When you have two weeks, you will most likely spend that first week in a transition period. You may be filled with restless energy because you’re so used to being active and following a schedule. Then, week two is where you’ll really ease into the process and begin to find clarity. Everything will start to flow.

Because of that, if you only have a few days, you’ll want to make the most of them since you won’t have enough time to fully transition. Having some sort of plan to help yourself move into a reflective mindset can be helpful. You don’t need to structure the entire day, but you could set aside time each morning to journal about your passions. Or, you might set an intention to learn about something that will nourish you.

If you can take two weeks off, or longer, expect an adjustment period. This year, the first four to five days were very vulnerable for me. I felt really out of sorts. A lot of emotions came up as a result of shifting relationships and some of my desires for my life feeling suppressed.

Having a tool to guide you can help. I used my pendulum. Every morning, I asked questions to discover how to best align the flow of my day. Sometimes I needed to work on the breathwork manual I share with students. Other days, I focused on education and watched video talks from people I had bookmarked.

My main advice is to find as much time as you can to step away from your normal life and reconnect with yourself. I equate it to a two-week breathwork journey. You’ll feel some discomfort in the beginning, but as you stay with the breath and move through it, allowing whatever comes up to be seen, you’ll end the journey with greater clarity and purpose.

I’m always here if you need guidance! Book a free 15-minute Discovery Session so we can talk about where you are in life and where you’d like to be.