260 Days ’til 40: Taking Time to Breathe

06 Jun

In the fast-paced world we live in today it seems that the one commodity we are always struggling to find is time.  No one seems to have enough of it.  As we submit to the demands of work, family, and even ourselves, we rarely seem to have a moment to stop and breathe.

One of the ironic realities is that many research studies show that individuals who paces themselves, who take breaks, who force themselves to stop and unwind, have BETTER work productivity and output than individuals who will work themselves into the grave with little breaks.

I once had a friend who prided himself on being a workaholic.  He thought it was wonderful that he got to work before the boss and left long after.  In retrospect, it was probably an excuse for him to escape a life of bitterness and loneliness, something I wish I had understood at that time.  Nonetheless, it was clear that his prolonged time at work was not creating more productivity, and in the end seemed to have a negative effect on his own work and work relationships (no one likes it when one employee makes the rest look bad).  I often wonder how his life would have been different if he could have broadened his life and had friends to hang out and relax with, instead of donating hours and hours in front of his computer screen….. so very sad.

It is critical for our mental and physical health that we all pace ourselves.  When we take breaks we are allowing ourselves to slow down and receive the renewal that we so desperately need.  When we take breaks we are acknowledging that it is indeed okay (and necessary) to take care of ourselves.  When we take care of ourselves, we are in a much better place to reach out to others.

All it takes is 10-15 minutes – and there is so much you can do.

  • Take a walk
  • Take a bath
  • Drink a glass of wine
  • Walk your dog
  • Play with your cat
  • Make some popcorn (and eat it)
  • Read a book
  • Browse the internet
  • Read a blog!!!
  • Call a friend
  • Play solitaire

Whatever works for you is perfect, just take those moments to regroup and allow yourself that time.  You deserve it.

Today, 260 days ’til 40, I remind myself that I am not selfish when I take breaks, in fact, if I take breaks it allows me to take care of myself, which enables me to better serve others.



Tags: , , , , , ,

47 responses to “260 Days ’til 40: Taking Time to Breathe

  1. narf77

    June 6, 2012 at 00:14

    Its always good to take time to breathe…the consequences of NOT breathing are somewhat dire…

    • 400daystil40

      June 6, 2012 at 15:09

      Lol!!! You make a very important point! 🙂

  2. pinkagendist

    June 6, 2012 at 00:21

    I have a private “happy hour” every day at 5pm. Alcohol (different variety depending on season), cigarettes and music. I then repeat this ritual alone, in silence and darkness before bed…

    • 400daystil40

      June 6, 2012 at 15:08

      Private happy hours can be a very good thing… they can also be lonely sometimes… I guess it is all about balance! As for silence… with a full house my partner and I are never so lucky!

  3. jensine

    June 6, 2012 at 00:27

    drink a cup of tea and dream

  4. lengesinski

    June 6, 2012 at 00:38

    Re-Direction from Busy-to-Calm=Balance. Excellent Post!

    • 400daystil40

      June 6, 2012 at 15:06

      Thank you!!!

      • lengesinski

        June 7, 2012 at 10:40

        I Appreciate Your Posts More and More, Different Perspectives, Advice, Shared Wisdoms.
        Thanks Again!

  5. Charles L. Mashburn

    June 6, 2012 at 00:53

    So true! We’re on the same page with this one!
    Check this out:

    • 400daystil40

      June 6, 2012 at 15:06

      Wow! Thank you so much for posting the link to your page!!!!!

  6. kylewilson

    June 6, 2012 at 01:46

    This is the kind of advice that I need to hear on a regular basis. When you’re working towards a dream you convince yourself that every minute of it should be enjoyable and you don’t need a break. But even that’s not true and you can wear out yourself and your dream if you push yourself too hard for too long.

  7. Namaste Consulting Inc

    June 6, 2012 at 02:46
    I have loved your blog since the first time I stumbled across it. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Congratulations!

  8. naznia

    June 6, 2012 at 02:52

    True words. Time is the one thing I wish I had more of. I am still struggling to strike the perfect balance with work, family, friends and myself….but I try not to compromise on the “me time”. Nice post, I loved your suggestions!

  9. sahbinahvioletflynn

    June 6, 2012 at 03:06

    Thank you for this very important reminder;o)

  10. Closet Fat Chick

    June 6, 2012 at 03:21

    My favorite way to regroup is by walking my dog. All it takes is a relaxing walk for just 15-20 minutes and it helps me clear my mind and put me in a better mood. Thanks for the other suggestions. I followed your blog and look forward to more of your posts 🙂

  11. Lucianus Mauricius

    June 6, 2012 at 04:42

    It’s true what you say about not having enough time and working ourselves to death. My problem is the opposite, I have plenty of time after work, but I don’t have any people to spend it with, so I stay home in bed watching my shows. It’s a choice I’ve made many years ago and stuck to it. Since I work in a heavy “human traffic” environment, I need to be alone after work. I don’t wish to see any faces nor hear any voices afterwards. My mind needs time to recuperate from all that noise people make, most of the time futile-unnecessary noise. May not be the best way to handle people-overload, but that’s how I do it. To me the best way to spend my free time would me in a sound proof chamber. Thank you for sharing your thoughts once again.

    • 400daystil40

      June 6, 2012 at 15:00

      Ah, you are correct, that can be an issue too. And it is hard to put yourself out there and make friends…. I am also prone to being a hermit after work (I work with tons of people and it is a constant stream of individuals in and out of my office all day). I understand!

      • Lucianus Mauricius

        June 6, 2012 at 20:12

        It’s hard to be grounded when you have so much echo noise after any activity involving people

  12. writerwannabe763

    June 6, 2012 at 05:43

    all those things you mentioned ….plus….RETIRE…lots of time then …Of course you have to get older first lol…..Diane

    • 400daystil40

      June 6, 2012 at 14:58

      Ah – to retire! I am a ways off from that!

  13. nightlamps

    June 6, 2012 at 10:10

    How true! couldn’t agree more. Beautifully written. Excellent read!

  14. viveka

    June 6, 2012 at 11:47

    You’re so right here …. we have make quality time with ourselves. I’m lucky .. I have loads of time for myself and I really enjoy it – even if I don’t are active all the time. Always said that I will lose my mind the day I retire and not keeping myself busy, but I didn’t – even I became very sick just after my retiring and that kept me busy in a less pleasant way. It was meant to be. There is nothing more important then just now … and make sure to spend so much time with somebody you really love = yourself.

  15. Spider42

    June 6, 2012 at 14:06

    All true, especially in the overly-competitive and slightly idiotic societal maelstrom we’ve built for ourselves today – I think it says something that as a concept our lives have for quite a while now been compared to rats racing through a maze. Part of me holds out hope that we might yet evolve beyond that into more, into something we have the potential to become – but that’s just the futurist in me wool-gathering, ignore.

    Anyway, hope many of your readers take something away from this one. I’ve always felt that if you can reach even one person every now and again to make themselves more than what they are and to think more and want to grow – it’s enough. It’s why I still write.

    And before I take your leave (or start meandering as is my tendency), I just want to say that this post made a favourite life-lesson pop into my head again, one that has withstood the test of time and one I think the world at large needs to re/learn: Always remember to stop and smell the roses.


    • 400daystil40

      June 6, 2012 at 23:30

      Yes, your points are well taken as well….. it is pretty sad to liken ourselves to rats, but I understand why…… I agree with you, I really want to hold onto that hope for evolution beyond the mundane. I also agree with you – if my writing touches even one person it is worth it. 🙂

  16. one4luck

    June 6, 2012 at 16:05

    Great post, you have to take care of yourself to take care of others… and being with others can be very rewarding.

  17. Charming Prints Quilting

    June 6, 2012 at 16:33

    thank you for the reminder! my shrink and i talk about this topic a lot. if i don’t take daily breaks ALONE, even just 5 minutes to sit in the quiet and breathe/meditate a bit, i end up falling apart by weeks end. i am no longer a workaholic, but have totally learned the importance of taking breaks. i just need to remember to do it now!

    • 400daystil40

      June 6, 2012 at 23:28

      You are welcome! I really understand the need to have some time alone, I can really relate!

  18. becca3416

    June 6, 2012 at 16:42

    I used to be bad at this (still a work in progress however). I would skip my lunch break as if trying to prove that I was hard working. The big dogs barely took notice, and all it did was make me resent my job. Now I take my time at lunch and enjoy the break :). Nice post.

    • 400daystil40

      June 6, 2012 at 23:28

      Wow, thank you for sharing your personal experience. Yes, many people are often surprised when they have experiences similar to yours – they do not realize that nothing horrible will happen if they slow down and take care of themselves – in fact, most things improve!!! 🙂

  19. Whitney Rains

    June 6, 2012 at 18:00

    Great post! I’m notorious for thinking I’m wasting time when I take a break, but really breaks help do be better work. Great advice!

    • 400daystil40

      June 6, 2012 at 23:27

      Yes, they really do help! Though, I understand how it is hard to break the cycle of feeling guilty for taking a break.

  20. dogdaz

    June 7, 2012 at 16:44

    You are very wise for 240 days shy of 40. Yes breaks are not only important, but with out them, you do become less productive. 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      June 7, 2012 at 17:53

      Thank you for the compliment!!! 🙂 Now, if only I would follow my own advice!!!

  21. mskatykins

    June 11, 2012 at 21:28

    You are so right, very important to take time out for ourselves! I’m really enjoying your thought provoking blogs! 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      June 11, 2012 at 23:03

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate your great comments and I am so glad that you are enjoying them! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: