I saw this trending on LinkedIn yesterday:
Do Americans have a vacation problem?
As I read the comments, it seemed like everyone had the same response I did — Yes!
Despite the fact that the United States is a place of access, there’s also a norm of busyness – of keeping up with the Jones’ just to prove one’s importance. There’s this trend of constant effectiveness and efficiency.
And as a Caribbean-born gal, it gets on my nerves.
Because nothing is wrong with being efficient, effective or ambitious BUT when it gets in the way of rest, it’s problematic.
It truly seems as though we’ve forgotten the beauty of taking a break.
Being Burnt Out – A Harsh Reality
Tell me if any or all of these statements apply.
- You work all day, whether in your home or at an office.
- Your roles in life are multi-faceted, not limited to but including mom and spouse/girlfriend.
- You are usually the one taking care of everyone else – emotionally and/or financially.
- You have a second job or side hustle that you enjoy.
I guarantee that these describe most of us!
We know that constantly juggling these roles and tasks are overwhelming!
However, out of pride, we refuse to acknowledge when we have burnt out, and it’s time to participate in a period of rest and renewal.
Then we’re met with the harsh reality of ridiculously overdue books, strained relationships, declining physical health, and an unbalanced sense of self.
Basically, not dealing with the burnout results in crippling consequences.
The Main Reasons We Don’t Take Breaks
I get it.
I’ve done it.
But it’s not acceptable.
We’ve got to face the truth.
The main reasons we don’t take breaks are:
- We’ve been conditioned to think that we must be present for every single email, text, phone call and event.
- We internally believe that taking a break is selfish.
- We have been programmed to always jump in and save those around us, robbing them of the opportunity to learn how to problem-solve for themselves.
We’ve learned to become shells of ourselves in order to prove our worth to others, and it’s TOXIC AF.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
It’s Time To Take More Breaks
Have you ever heard of the plane and oxygen mask analogy?
My brother loves to remind me of it.
When you travel by plane, at the beginning of the flight the attendants review the safety procedures in case of an emergency.
Besides the seatbelt and pamphlet, they always point out the oxygen masks, why they appear and how to use them. They emphasize that even if a small child is next to you, you must put your mask on first before you can help others sitting beside you.
That right there is a great example of why taking a break is crucial to self-care.
You cannot give from an empty account in any area of life. That’s why it’s important to make time to replenish your body, mind, and spirit.
Once you fill your cup, then you are able to pour into others.
So it’s time to take more breaks!
It’s time to invest in rest!
I have some ideas that can help.
A Few Ways To Implement Taking A Break
(1) Take A Mini-Vaca Every Quarter
When Rachel asked, “What are we doing to take care of ourselves in the between times?” Dr. Wade shared that every quarter she heads to a hotel by herself for self-care. And, if it’s a high-stress season she may do it every month!
I fell in love with the concept immediately!
Adapt this to your life, especially if you’re like Dr. Wade and me, and you know that every quarter depletes you.
(2) Take A Lunch Break
This one is for all of my working moms, especially those who have a job with a salary.
I struggle with this!
Being a manager with an open door policy and desire to help can usually result in me forgetting to eat or take a lunch break.
So since mid-July, I’ve begun to “disappear” for an hour so that I can reset at work…and eat my yummy meal prep.
What about you?
Are you neglecting your professional self-care?
Take a break at work – whether it’s 15, 30 or 60 minutes.
(3) Turn Your Phone Off
As cliche as it sounds, turn your phone off sometimes!
Remove the ability for people to have constant access to you.
Try little things like turning your phone off for an hour at night before you go to bed. Or, maybe choose days of the week where you turn your phone off for the entire evening, only responding to any texts in the morning.
It’ll seem strange at first. But it’ll be worth it.
(4) Start Saying ‘No’ To What Doesn’t Set Your Soul On Fire
As women, we can agree that one of our characteristics is to try to be there for everyone even if that “thing” doesn’t interest us.
Now I’m not saying to stop supporting your friends and family.
However, you need to free yourself from the pressure of always being present.
[bctt tweet=”Take A Break: Free yourself from the pressure of always being present.” username=”baydiangirl”]
Learn to say ‘No.‘
No, I don’t want to go out tonight.
No, I’m not interested in reading that book.
No, I have other plans.
Trust me, the world will not end.
(5) Take A Vacation
Not a mini-vaca, a vacation.
Visit someplace that you know relaxes your soul.
For example, I relax best when I’m around a body of water. Not going to lie, I prefer the Caribbean sea. So now that my U.S. immigration process is in order, I plan an annual trip back home with my family.
Maybe you relax better by vacationing in a cabin, going on a cruise, or visiting your family in a different state.
Whatever it is, schedule time to do it every year, or even more frequently if possible.
Remember, taking a break is another powerful investment in yourself.
What’s your favorite way to invest in rest?