How To Take a Break

I kind of quietly quit blogging. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t forever. I had too much going on and, as much as I’ve been a poster child for Nike with my “Just Do It” sensibilities, enough was enough. I was tired and just needed to chill. Because there are still so many things I want to accomplish, breaks aren’t easy for me. They almost feel like failure. Like I can’t keep up. Like I’m being lazy. Even after decades of yoga, the pose I’ve struggled with the most is Savasana, the corpse pose, where I’m just lying on my back breathing. Yep, I can bend, balance, twist and flow, but being still had me gritting my teeth.

Looking back, most of my longer breaks have been forced. The day job was crushing my soul. I got sick. The VERY childlike part of me threw an effective I-wanna-play tantrum. Someone needed me.  I needed me (to stop). As I try to be more mindful of making breaks part of my ongoing self-care practice (versus getting shut down), I wanted to share these thoughts, if you, too are rest-challenged.

Name your particular stress and overwhelm gauges. In which areas of your life are you fatigued, burnt out, disenchanted, or resentful? The first few clues that drop are correct. Write them down and proceed to the next step.

Embrace the gift of breaks. Forget the bad press – breaks are good. That is a mantra and a pep talk. Tuck it into your heart. You deserve time to restore and recover from any adulting aspect of life you choose. It’s more than okay to sit down somewhere and put your feet up.

Play, relax, be carefree. Taking a retreat from one productive thing doesn’t mean diving into another one. Just stop. Unless it’s fun or comforting. Sleep more, spend time in nature, explore silly things, love on yourself. Let your mind wander and follow the serendipity. In my world, breaks often resemble playfulness and pampering. I color, blow bubbles, puzzle, watch funny movies, frolic in lavender fields, indulge in spa treatments. Breaks don’t have to be perfect or elaborate, they simply have to happen.

Ignore the call to jump back to busyness. It’s okay to move slow for a bit. My best self is a tribrid pulsing of rest, intensely focused work and play, each groove as essential as the others. As in, I’ll do a session of yoga, work on a project for an hour with laser concentration, and then play game or puzzle.

Photo by Florian GIORGIO on Unsplash

Reflect and set yourself up for the next break. Rest is its own reward. Yep, but I like gifts for good behavior too. It makes returning to a practice more appealing. After this retreat, I bought myself some things to encourage my next one. Fuzzy socks, candles, puzzles, books, pampering goodies. I think my cycle going forward is going to be a day off a week, five days a quarter few weeks a year. We’ll see. What feels right for you?

Patiently practice this craft. This is not a thing I’ve mastered, but everything time I allow myself to slip into these rest breaks, I realize how comforting and necessary they are. I realize how much they allow me to reset and restore my spirit. I realize I was always trying to learn this.

13 thoughts on “How To Take a Break

  1. My favorite is this
    “Taking a retreat from one productive thing doesn’t mean diving into another one. Just stop. Unless it’s fun or comforting. Sleep more, spend time in nature, explore silly things, love on yourself.” Ah yes… just stop. Makes me think of Gangaji’s Diamond in your pocket. 🙂 I think collectively we need to “not miss out on our actual life” the inside, non-doing one. Nice reflection here.

      • Thank you! Yes, I’d be so happy to know what you think of Gangaji. That was my first book I read of hers and it really reached me. Then several years later I went to one of her in person retreats in N. California and then spoke with her personally… which further deepened the shifts in me. Now that was in 2016?! So long ago!!!

  2. Pingback: How To Take a Break | Conspiracy-intrigue

  3. “breaks aren’t easy for me. They almost feel like failure.” Same. I recently had food poisoning, and it pained me to simply lay in the bed, doing nothing, but that’s all I COULD do. This advice on breaking is good.

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