Sometimes we really need a break… but for some reason in American society, it’s sooo hard to slow down and take one.
I should know. I’m the prime example of someone who has often refused to take a break. Why? Because I’m silly and stubborn sometimes, and in my mind, it always seemed like I could get more done if I could just. keep. going.
Oh the years I wasted with this mentality.
The way I see it is that in our culture we reward hard work. We look fondly upon those who are doing a million things at once, appearing successful, accomplished, put together, and happy. The truth? I know a lot of those people. Often times, I am one of those people. And on the inside we just feel really burned out.
I am in the middle of a big career transition in my life and recently started a new job. It is terrifying, exhilarating, and amazing all at once. During this transition, I was able to get a week off in-between jobs. I wasn’t initially expecting this break so I instantly found myself creating massive to-do lists of everything I could get done during this time.
Writing a new cookbook.
A trip to IKEA.
Buying some much-needed new shoes.
Getting my pants hemmed.
The list went on and on.
A few days before my week off was to begin, I looked at that list and instantly felt stressed and overwhelmed. That’s when it really hit me: I didn’t have to spend my week running errands and feeling miserable. I could make different choices.
So I took the first three days of my vacation and listened to what my body needed. I stayed home. I slept in. I watched television in bed. I snuggled a cat. I did yoga in the afternoons. I read a book. I did all the things I usually resist doing because I don’t think they are “productive enough.”
Then, something amazing happened after those first few days… I felt so energized that I ended up tackling the important things on that to-do list anyway. Most importantly: I did it while feeling energizing and empowered instead of exhausted and burned out. And that felt great. It always amazes me how refreshed, inspired, and creative I feel after taking a break or a vacation.
The lesson I want to share with you here is this: we all need rest and our bodies need real breaks. Breaks where we turn off our cell phones, disconnect from email and the internet, and we nourish our lives with experiences that just make us feel good.
And, you don’t need to justify taking a break. Taking a break doesn’t mean that you’re lazy; instead, it means that you know that resting and practicing good self-care makes you a healthier, happier person. And that’s something to celebrate.
My challenge to you this week is to find a way to give yourself some more breathing room. How can you take a break this week – big or small? Please share in the comments below so we can support each other and practice our best self-care!