Caitlin Weese LCSW-C, 200 RYT
Read on to see why this is one of the best things you can do on your Complex PTSD healing journey.
What is a Heart Sabbatical?
Have you ever felt like you're stuck in a never-ending cycle of crappy dates, one-sided relationships and low self-esteem? Do you find yourself settling for whoever shows up despite knowing you deserve more? If so, it might be time for you to consider taking a heart sabbatical.
A heart sabbatical is a break from dating specifically designed to allow you to focus on your emotional and mental health. Unlike a traditional sabbatical, which is often centered around career development, a heart sabbatical is centered around your emotional well-being and healing the wounds that keep you stuck in bad relationships. This can include activities like therapy, self-care, meditation, and hobbies that bring you joy and peace.
The Benefits of a Heart Sabbatical
Heal from the past: A heart sabbatical gives you the time and space to work through any baggage from old relationships that may be contributing to your lack of fulfilling relationships. All relationships, even the unhealthy ones, are great teachers. When we slow down long enough to learn from the past we can prevent issues from repeating themselves. Additionally, by becoming conscious of, and addressing, these issues, you can help to shift the way you show up for yourself. This allows you to change old patterns of behavior and shift relationship dynamics.
Improve Your Relationship with Yourself: Oftentimes, relationships can be a way we distract ourselves from looking at our own issues. When we’re so wrapped up in others and their view of us, our relationship with ourselves withers away. Taking time to disconnect from dating allows us to devote the time we had spent on that, to ourselves. As we do, we can learn to love and respect ourselves, setting us up for healthier relationships in the future.
Lower Stress and Enhance creativity: By taking dating off the table you can let go of the pressure you’ve been putting on yourself to find the right person. This allows you to let go of the stress that comes along with trying to MAKE a relationship happen for you (you can’t make it happen.) This also allows you to free up mental space to explore new creative outlets. This can help you rediscover your passions, develop new hobbies, and tap into your inner creativity. This will help you to reconnect with the person you were before you were desperate for approval.
Get Clear on What You Want: A heart sabbatical gives you the time to reflect on your life, your values, and your goals. This can help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and what you want in a relationship and why you want one. Taking a break from dating can also help you reflect on the other relationships in your life and determine what changes, if any, you need to make to improve them. Whether it's mending a friendship you lost during a previous relationship, setting boundaries with loved ones, or simply spending more quality time with family and friends, a heart sabbatical can help you improve the relationships that matter most to you.
If you're considering taking a heart sabbatical, here are some steps you can take to make the most of your break:
Set clear goals: Before you take a heart sabbatical, take some time to reflect on what you hope to achieve. This could include things like reducing your dependency on other people, identifying what you want in a partner or learning to love yourself. If you’re unclear about what you want from the time it's likely to not be as productive as it would be otherwise.
Plan your sabbatical: Once you have a clear idea of your goals, start planning your sabbatical. This could include scheduling time for therapy, booking a solo trip, or taking a class in something that interests you. If you’re particularly addicted to approval/attention from others you’ll find it uncomfortable to sit with yourself, so structuring that time can help you to feel less stir crazy.
Disconnect: DELETE THE DATING APPS! Yes, you read that right. Delete Tinder, Bumble… all of them. In order to get the most out of this time you need to disconnect from the distractions around you. While it might feel uncomfortable at first, its very much needed to break the cycle of needing romantic approval to feel good about yourself.
Practice self-care: Make self-care a priority during your sabbatical. This could include things like exercise, meditation, or simply taking time to read a book or take a bath. A heart sabbatical can be a transformative experience, allowing you to learn to love yourself and return to dating refreshed and recharged.