March and April bring a whole new perspective to the word ‘break’. As the days wear on and things are now becoming mundane and ordinary we feel underwhelmed (or overwhelmed), uninspired, and are in need for the chance to refresh our minds and bodies. To calm the raging monster within that’s telling you it’s time to take a break from life and just relax and rejuvenate your soul.
Why You Need A Break and Why They Matter
There are times when your mind and body are no longer in sync with each other, when you may be just going from day to day, doing the same things. You’re not as excited for the things you used to get pumped about and in order to get that exhilarating feeling back, you need to relax and let go of the things that are attacking you at the moment. You need to let them slide away to leave you with a clear mind.
You and your body need rest and relaxation to refresh not only yourself but your mind as well. Running on like the energizer bunny is only going to create a cranky, irritated soul with resentment and overwhelm. As with sleeping, you and your body need time to just do nothing for very little; to do something that doesn’t take a lot of thinking and something you consider fun. Not only do you need to relax, you need to preoccupy your mind with things that don’t relate with work, the house, or anything else you normally stress over.
Signs It’s Time to Take a Break
Other than just feeling like you need a break, there are signs that tell you it’s time to step away and get some much needed R&R.
One of the first ones, is the feeling of overwhelm. Perhaps you are trusted to do more at work, but you also have to worry about the house, the kids, and anything else that comes along that needs your attention. And although you may have a system down to take care of each item, you feel like you’re falling apart. Trust me, I have had that feeling. One minute you’re rolling along a smooth road, everything is getting done and you’re getting ahead, then something comes along and now your road is bumpy. Everything is starting to pile up and your sense of accomplishment is now a sense of dread.
As with overwhelm, that smooth road brought excitement, accomplishment, and the strength to keep moving forward, but that bump you hit (who knows what that was back there) is now bringing you every other bump you would have not otherwise noticed. With all the bumps and divots, you are now feeling tired all the time. You’re no longer sleeping well and you dread getting up in the morning to even do basic things.
Things begin to irritate you, those tiny things that should be brushed off as natural habits or actions are now getting on your nerves to the point you may be snapping at those you care about. That is not the way you want to live your life, right?
That speed racer that was forging ahead at full steam, is now searching for any reason to not continue with what has to get done. Your motivation, ambition and focus to complete tasks and get ahead seems so far away that you’ll never catch up with the trailing rope behind the train of tasks. Your mind is wandering to all the things around you, rather than those that are right in front of you, and your attention is taken up by all the little things that could be put off for another day. What once felt like an easy ride has now turned into one of struggle and a fleeting grasp at the rope. One you may not have the strength to pull yourself back up to the train.
When you’ve run yourself to the point where you are making small mistakes all the time, ones that you regret, but can’t really control. (You could if you weren’t suffering, but when things reach this point, it’s nearly impossible to control.) That’s when you know you need to take a break. Speaking from experience, I’ve been so overwhelmed, tired and unmotivated that I began making small mistakes that just added to the pile that was growing, which caused more mistakes, more regret and a lot of frustration. Continuing as I was, was not an option. I needed a break!
This could just be eating more of your favorite junk food, or maybe you skip a meal because you’re just not hungry. Perhaps you pick up a bad habit, like smoking or drinking to make yourself feel better or to take the ‘edge’ off. (That is not going to help, trust me and it may cause further health problems) When you start making bad health choices like eating a lot or nothing at all, you refuse to get even a walk in and your body is reacting to the stress in unusual ways; that’s when you know there is something wrong and you NEED a break.
If you get this far, I urge you to take a really hard look at what you are doing and fix it. This is not where you want to be, trust me. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. I was so overwhelmed, letting everything get to me that I barely ate anything for weeks and ended up in the hospital because my body was reacting to no nourishment. I knew I needed a break and it resulted in me leaving my job. Now, I don’t suggest you leave your job, but for me it was the right decision. When your health is declining, you need to take a moment and think about whether you just need a break or you need to leave in order to get better.
Ways to Take a Break
The first thing you need to do is decide if you are in need a shorter or longer break. That is something you need to decide, I can’t tell you which you should choose. You should have in inkling of which you should do.
Now let me list all the ways…
These are all the, you know, vacation types. Vacation. Staycation. Play-cation. Whether you need to get away, you want to stay in the area or at home, or if you want to do something to have fun. Do what you deem best.
Create a list of all the things you find relaxing and do them all. Take a bath, read a good book, take a nap, walk in nature, listen to soothing music, you get the picture here. Whatever you find relaxing, go for it.
Though you may not find it relaxing, there are those of us who need to move or do something. Find a way to expend the energy that is still relaxing, like taking a hike, playing a board game, fly a kite or even coloring with crayons! I love to color with my kids! That is something that is relaxing for me.
Here is where you will sit still or hardly move, but I promise you’ll still find it relaxing. Try star gazing, watching the clouds, or even meditating or getting a massage. You never know how relaxed you’ll feel after watching the clouds as the roll by.
I know, I know, your whole life is on that device, but we are trying to get you to not stress and to relax. Those notifications can live without you for a short time. If you let those around you know that you’re going to be unavailable for a time, they should get along fine without you. Turn them off and find out just how much quiet and relaxation you can enjoy.
Going to events or attractions can be relaxing as well. Places like the aquarium, the zoo, farmer’s market and museums can bring you peace while learning and seeing something new or what you haven’t seen in a long time.
Everyone looks forward to spring break, but have you thought about what you NEED and what kind of break you should take? If you’re like me and need some much needed R&R, try some of the things from this list. May you find peace and relaxation when you need it most.
Know of any other ways to relax and rejuvenate your mind and body? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear them!