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.