The Power of Taking a BreakJul 24, 2023
When was the last time you took some time off or switched up from your routine? Have you taken a vacation or stay-cation lately? Or have you taken a day to yourself to relax, to curl up on the couch and watch tv?
If you can't remember the last time you gave yourself some time to just relax, it’s probably time to do it. Breaks are an important part of prioritizing you and avoiding burn out. It can feel overwhelming to step away from your grind and everyday routine, but it’s an important part of taking care of yourself.
Giving yourself a break is one of the best ways to improve your mental health and bring your best self back to your routine and responsibilities. Have you ever walked away from something that was stressful or overwhelming, and come back to it after giving yourself time to think about something else? You probably found that you returned with more clarity and confidence, and with more patience to figure the right next steps.
It’s not always easy to give yourself a break. Even if you do make the time and step away from your to dos, you can start to feel guilty about the time you’re spending away from productivity. If this is you, here’s your reminder: you don't need to be productive all the time. In fact, you shouldn't be, it’s not healthy to constantly be producing.
As they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup - so be sure to prioritize time to refill your glass and be ready to pour the next day. It’s not always about being productive, it’s about giving yourself what you need.
This is probably not the first reminder you’ve had to take a break. But here are some ways taking a break can help you in the short and long term to give you some extra motivation to carve out that “me time”.
You can spend time doing what you NEED for yourself.
Maybe it’s a walk, yoga, meditation or a work out. Maybe it’s time with our friends or family. Or maybe it’s a veg day of reading, tv or gaming that you can enjoy and not worry about that pesky to-do list.
Your mental health improves.
You will feel more in control, at ease and able to better navigate the constant productive cycle your routines can bring. By giving yourself time to focus on what you love and enjoy, you will feel happier as a result. And showing up in a good mood can make a positive impact on your day.
You set an example for others to follow.
When you prioritize breaks and taking care of YOU, you give your friends, family, team members or co-workers the chance to do the same. You are showing them that (1) it’s ok for them to take time for themselves, and (2) you are giving them proof that it is feasible to do so.
You can better adapt to changes in your routine.
Someone gets sick and needs to reschedule? Team meetings running long? No problem. You can take a breath and navigate those changes because you given yourself the space to relax and embrace what’s happening in the moment.
You can see the big picture.
Reflection and celebration of how far you’ve come is a great way to benefit your mood and mental health. Stepping back, taking a pause and giving yourself time to relax and recover can help you evaluate where you are going and what needs to shift.
So, take a look at your calendar for the next few weeks. Where can you give yourself a break - whatever that looks like for you? Then be sure to block out that time in your calendar. Take the day off or carve out an hour to do whatever you need or want. And then before that time is up, schedule the next break you’ll take, so you can make it a habit.
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