These past few weeks have been times of high stress for me. Having to balance work and school has been a struggle with the loads of school work I must accomplish. I’ve stayed up late at night trying to finish as much as I can, and used my weekends to finish up anything that was left. Basically my life has been consumed with all the things I have to do and it finally caught up with me – I got sick. Typically I am one who will also power through being sick so I can come to work; yes I want to get paid, but I also don’t like leaving work undone.
As I started feeling myself getting sick on Tuesday, I told myself I would be fine the next morning and set my alarm. Wednesday morning I woke up with a high fever, and I still fought myself about letting my bosses know I wasn’t going to be able to come in. I was fighting my body which was telling me “hey, it’s time to take a break!” I didn’t want to listen, and it took my boyfriend telling me that I needed to stay home, I had to give myself a break and let my body rest. And so I did just that, and let me tell you, it was a great decision. I knew that going in to work, I would be miserable and probably not get much done. Instead, I had the opportunity to just let me body rest. I didn’t focus on school, I didn’t do anything I needed to do… I just let myself rest.
Don’t worry about breaks every 20 minutes ruining your focus on a task. Contrary to what I might have guessed, taking regular breaks from mental tasks actually improves your creativity and productivity. Skipping breaks, on the other hand, leads to stress and fatigue. ~Tom Rath
Many of us get caught up in our work and lives that we often forget to give ourselves a break. If we continue this high stress life and don’t take a step back to take a break, our bodies will end up letting us know in the way we probably will least like. Taking a break from life, even if it is 15 minutes a day, will help you be even better at the things you need to get done! So, here are some easy ways to know you need a break, and ways to take them before it’s too late; taken from an article I found on MindBodyGreen (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5713/5-Signs-You-Need-a-Break-5-Things-to-Do-About-It.html).
Signs It’s Time for a Break
- You dread the alarm clock. Your alarm clock goes off, no matter the hour or day, and all you want is to stay crawled up in bed.
- Your fuse is short. No matter what someone says, it is not the right thing. You are constantly triggered for arguably no real reason.
- You avoid what you know you like. You start making excuses for not going to yoga – to that class you love – or a friend’s house you always enjoy, claiming stress and tiredness.
- Your diet starts to waver. You start eating foods you know make you feel bad, and other foods you simply know are bad, saying, “just today.”
- You simply do not care. You start to spend more time surfing the web at work, flipping through channels at home, ignoring messages and invites from friends, and pretending your family does not exist, all in the name of “rest” and silence.
*Image from Huffington Post writer and author, Karen Horneffer-Ginter
Ways to Give Yourself a Break
From: Rejuvenate Yourself
- Make a shopping trip especially for something new to wear which is bright, colorful and just perfect for breaks and vacations. Then leave right away and enjoy your purchase.
- Take a break from skipping lunch at work and making do with eating fast food. Instead, eat something simple, colorful, fun, exotic or with wild flavors and textures. Enjoy!
- Take one day out of your life and vow not to say a single word. Relax, enjoy the peace and silence.
- Take a break from routine. Drive to work a different way. Break your usual daily habits. Expect the very best all day and be ready for the unexpected.
- Dream a dream of your perfect break or vacation. Promise to put a little money aside regularly to make it happen. You’ll be amazed of how easy and painless it is to do.
- Take a break from life as you know it by sitting down and being still for ten minutes. Close your eyes and relax. Let your thoughts come and go.Focus on your breathing. Allow your body to relax and your mind soar.
- Take a break from the image that you have of yourself and the image that you project. Just let yourself be whoever you feel like being in the moment. Give yourself permission to be you.
- Make a regular practice of stopping whatever you are doing and checking in with yourself to feel how, who and where you are in the moment.
- Take a break from reality. Look at a simple object, a flower, a tree, or a building. Imagine you are looking at it as if for the very first time.
- Take a break from barriers and boundaries. Do something you did not know you could. Overcome your fear and amaze yourself.
Forget about your responsibilities for a moment and do something that is relaxing, and what YOU WANT TO DO. BE MINDFUL while taking this break – Don’t worry about that homework, or work project that needs to get done. It will get done and be even better quality after you dedicate sometime for you.
If you have a hard time taking a break from life, know that you are not alone. If you are having trouble dedicating time for yourself, give us a call to set up a free phone consultation at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378. Our Orlando therapists and Orlando Life Coach are experienced in helping you work through improving your self-care through setting aside time to focus on you.