Are you resting well? I mean, really, really resting?
If you’re anything like me and feel that uncomfortable guilt, antsiness, and even restlessness when you’re supposed to be resting, this post is for you.
You know what I’m talking about.
You’re taking your break, but you can’t quite disconnect from work. You’re on your lunch break but can’t stop checking your emails on your phone. You come home but can’t stop thinking about work. Or you can’t stop feeling guilty about taking a 5, you start criticizing yourself for ‘procrastinating’ or being ‘lazy’. The time doesn’t stop for no one, and neither should you.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you? If so, it sounds like you could use a nice break.
Why do we need breaks?
When you’re overworked, you become less productive. In addition, you become forgetful, you get writer’s block, you can’t think straight, you become short-tempered, the list goes on. For some occupations, not getting sufficient break could even lead to dangerous and life-threatening situations.
So we need to take breaks in between in order to recharge to be able to perform well.
This is especially imperative for those so-called ‘workaholics’, people who often forget to take a break, pull all-nighters, or even forget to eat because they are so consumed by work.
I’m not pointing fingers, because I used to (and still am to some extent) be the biggest offender of the above traits.
But we have been seeing a shift from a society where ‘hard work, long hours’ are rewarded and seen as the ideal model of work ethic to one that advocates for a healthier balance of work and non-work. And I’m for one so glad that this is becoming a trend - as someone who grew up with the former ethos, the latter feels refreshing and more respectful towards our bodily and mental functions.
And with the rise of self-care and wellness penetrating many aspects of our lives, the importance of breaks cannot be overlooked in maintaining our physical and mental health.
So now that we know how important it is to take breaks and rest ourselves, let’s look at how to rest so you can completely break off from work and feel good as new afterward.
Allow yourself a break
Set aside a time for you to take breaks. You can schedule this during your day, or it could be your lunch break. It could even be an entire day or the weekend. Whatever works for you and your working situation! But this allotted time is for you. This should be the time for you to focus on recharging. You can do whatever you want during this time.
Don’t feel guilty
Do not let yourself feel guilty for taking a break. A break is an important act of self-service that allows you to recharge and relax. It’s a sacred time to focus on your needs and we all deserve to put ourselves first before anything else. So whenever you feel the guilt creeping up, let yourself know that this is something you need to do for yourself and it’s completely alright to take breaks. This is your time.
Everything will be okay
I sometimes fear that taking breaks will lead to catastrophic results. That I’ll lag behind on the project I’m working on; I’ll have less time to meet that deadline; if I don’t do this now, everything will fall apart. Of course, some may be true, but none of them actually end up being as bad as I had imagined. Sometimes, we let fear override our ability to rationalize, which keeps us in a loop of anxiety. But you must realize that everything will be just fine, if not, even better after you rest up.
Try to stay away from things that can remind you of work
While you’re on that break, it would be very helpful if you stay clear from things related to work. If you work from home, you could stay away from your computer or phone for a while and maybe do something else for a while. If you work in an office, you could step away from the desk for a bit, maybe go for a quick coffee, catch up with a coworker, or try a quick meditation exercise to hit that reset button.
Last but not least, enjoy the break. If you don’t enjoy it, that totally negates the purpose of taking the break in the first place. As mentioned above, don’t feel guilty for enjoying your break either. Whatever you decide to do, it should enjoy it to the fullest and not let it get interrupted by work.
Work is an important part of our lives for many reasons, and it’s great that you give your all but we must also realize that our bodies should come first before anything else. That’s why it’s essential to take good, intentional breaks so that you feel 100% again. If you are just getting into self-care, then this is a good starting point!