My Weekend in the Mountains

Just over a year ago, on Armstrong McGuire’s first convening call with executive directors, Garry Crites, who is the Executive Director of NAMI North Carolina (National Alliance on Mental Illness), asked a very important question to the other leaders on the call: “What are you doing to take care of yourself?”

That question continues to resonate with me. As we have navigated an unprecedented year under COVID-19, it is even clearer to me that my value to others is only as good as the commitment and value I have to myself.

This past weekend, I packed my car and drove two hours for a retreat weekend by myself. No kids, no husband. Just me and a stack of books. On the drive I stopped when I wanted to stop and wandered through small town North Carolina; I found a bakery and stopped for a sweet treat. I made my way to my tiny cabin in the woods to just be in silence.

As nonprofit leaders, we take time to plan for our organization, staff, and programs. But today, I share with you some ideas on how to take time to plan for yourself.

  1. Pick a date and time – maybe it is just an hour or maybe you can make a weekend of it.
  2. Find a physical space that brings you joy. I picked a tiny house in the mountains.
  3. Bring your favorite foods and drinks. For me it was the corn salad from Viva Chicken, fresh juice from Clean Juice, and the ingredients to make London Fogs.
  4. Pick a book or two. This trip, I choose to reread The Power of TED and Go Together.
  5. Create space for physical exercise. I hiked to the top of Chimney Rock and did Broadway Yoga (who knew that was even a thing?!).
  6. Unapologetically, give yourself permission to DO nothing.

Maybe that is perfect for you, or maybe you want to go one step further. If you are inspired, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on what you WANT. Who do you want to become? How do you want to show up for the people in your life? What brings you the greatest joy?

Write out your answers and then add a baby step to each of these areas that will bring you closer to making your WANTS your reality.

There is magic in focusing on what you WANT.

There is magic in taking care of yourself.

There is magic in bringing your best self to others.

Start small, but start. How can you be more intentional in caring for yourself?

Drop me a note and let me know what is working for you

(Katie’s most recent work includes coaching individuals and teams on these very topics. If you want to connect about how individual or group coaching could benefit you and your team, schedule a meeting with her at

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