It's OKAY to take a break!
Taking a break is a highly underrated aspect in our course of life. In this rat-race, we constantly feel the need to do more, produce more, work more until we reach a point of burn out. And burn outs can be pretty consequential in nature. They don't have the same relieving properties as that of regular breaks.
Which is why, in today's blogpost, I want to address the topic of taking breaks.
Disclaimer: The following blog post contains my personal views on the idea of taking a break. I, by no means, am trying to suggest that the following areas of life absolutely NEED a break. My intention is only to suggest that the feeling of taking a break from the below-mentioned aspects of life is human and natural, and that it is okay to take a break and step away from these activities for a while as long as it is supporting our well-being. Feel free to disagree, I am not trying to force my opinion on anyone :)
Here's a video to go alongside this blogpost:
10 things you are allowed to take a break from:
Work / Profession:
There's a saying that you should find something to do that you never need to take a vacation from. I could not disagree more. No matter how passionate or likeable that task is to you, I think it is necessary to take a break from everything once in a while and clear out your head about it. It's completely normal, healthy even, to feel the need to distance yourself from the task in front and get a reset.
Side hustles/ side projects are mostly something that we start as a creative outlet or out of interest. Many a times, we feel guilty to take a break from that because we start doubting our interest in it. But it is completely okay to do so. I take frequent breaks from working on Save Ourselves and I always return to it feeling excited to create content and I always get better ideas after taking a break.
This is a guilt-causer too but a little distance from family for some time can do wonders to your bonds with them. Not only will you be able to catch your breath and clear your head a little ( because let's be honest, family time isn’t always fun, we need a little space at times don't we all? ) but you'll also realise how much they actually mean to you. The upside to taking a break is that we come to know how much people matter to us and that is always refreshing to know. And that positively impacts your bonds by strengthening them. It also gives you clarity about who you really want to be close with and who's better from a distance.
Family is also understandable, but friends, Aparna?! Yes, friends too. Being around friends is totally awesome and at times, they are the best support system we could ask for. However there can be some times when you feel a little burdened by being around the same people for too long. This is especially prone to happen if you spend long hours on a more frequent basis around the same people. And IT IS OKAY TO FEEL THIS WAY. Like it is with family, taking a small break from your group of friends can be eye-opening in so many ways. You'll be able to better differentiate between the genuine and the not-so-genuine ones. You'll be able to return to the group feeling so much lighter, and will be able to participate fully. You'll appreciate them more. And that, at times is necessary.
Sounds a little counter-productive when we are working on our habits daily to imbibe them in our daily routine. BUT. Sometimes, it is okay to take a couple of days off and then resume. It can be exhausting to be constantly letting your brain work on something. This does not mean that you are starting to run away from your habits. It's in fact, a conscious decision. ' I will take today and tomorrow off from journalling and get back to it the day after.' Try doing this by deciding the day of taking and stopping your break. And trust me, you'll be able to get back to it.
Social media is an enticing addition to our lives, something we can never get enough of. Most of the times it feels great to use it, but at times, it can be unhealthy, especially when you're not having your best days. Social media can seem overwhelming at such times, and these times, call for a little distance, a break. It's completely okay to not use or distance yourself from social media. The goal here is to have a healthy relationship with it.
Hobbies are a creative outlet, a way to relax. Sometimes, in the course of our routines, hobbies can become more like an obligation or they can even get competitive at times. When this happens, you know this is a time for reset, a break. You can choose to put them off for just a little while, when things get a little overwhelming, and come back to them when you are ready for it!
Trying to socialise:
Our socialising metres can change. They are not a straight line but more like an up and down graph. Sometimes they'll point to a very social butterfly and sometimes to a hermit. And that's okay. It is sometimes necessary to withdraw in order to recharge.
Check out my Instagram post on our changing socialising metres here.
Working on yourself:
Self- improvement is amazing and working on ourselves is one of kindest things we can do for ourselves. However sometimes taking a break from trying too hard is also fine. In fact, that too, is an act of self-care!
Shows you are watching:
It's not written anywhere that you must absolutely complete a show once you start it. If you want to take a break because it doesn't feel right, then it's okay. If you want to use that time to do something else, it's fine. You don't have to watch it because that's what the whole world is doing.
Books you are reading:
Discontinuing books that don't inspire you or taking a break from reading every once in a while is completely okay. You don't need to keep up with the world's expectations of reading, not even when you identify with being an avid reader. You're allowed to pause.
Check out my blogpost on reading to know more about it.
Routines are amazing and they give our lives a sense of direction and disclipine. But it's okay to change things up a little. Let the routine serve you instead of you serving it.
The ultimate form of taking a break from routines is to evaluate them and see what works and what doesn't. And maybe for a couple of days, don't follow your routine at all. When you feel well-rested, you can try out your updated routine which will serve you much better.
When should you take a break?
Whenever you start to notice that the concerned aspect of your life
-isn't proving to be healthy
-is getting overwhelming
-is stressing you out
-is making you feel like it's a competition
-is starting to hamper your mental/ physical health
it is time to take a pause, a break from that activity and resume it after a while.
How long should the break be?
Honestly, there's no perfect duration for a break. They should be tailored to enable our healthy lifestyle and accelerate our growth. A break could last anywhere between 5 mins to as long as a year or even more! The aim here is to bring back our healthy association with that aspect, so the time will differ accordingly!
How can you bring about the feeling of taking a break?
Physical reset - Change in the physical environment
Mental reset - Change in what feeling you associate the task with
Task reset - Change in the nature of the task itself
What can taking a break look like?
Distancing yourself from it completely
Not giving it the mental space it gets otherwise
Not trying to actively work on it for a while
Trying to look at it from a different perspective
Trying to create a certain distance from it
Lowering the frequency with which it is performed.
Taking a break can be looked at as a way of enhancing our association with the aspect by letting it serve us better. It is not hiding away from your adversities or challenges, it is just dealing with them better, at your own pace! Changing our perspectives about taking a break can make them a useful tool for us, instead of causing feelings like guilt and shame.
I encourage you to start to look at breaks this way and see if they bring about any change in your life.
Liked this post? Here are some more you might find interesting:
The Power Cut - The Power of Quietude
Time Investment ideas during social distancing: https://www.saveourselvesblog.com/post/time-investment-ideas-during-social-distancing
When should you be alone? - A guide to find balance between company and solitude : https://www.saveourselvesblog.com/post/when-should-you-be-alone-a-guide-to-finding-balance-between-company-and-solitude
A day at home - International Day of Happiness vlog