“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” – Ovid
Knowing when to stop is just as important as knowing when to start. Only, we’re often not that good at knowing when to stop.
Breaks are necessary for us to regain perspective, be more creative and ultimately feel good about ourselves and the way life is going. Sometimes what you need is to rest.
Signs That You Need A Break
You Feel Irritated – Ever have a day when everything that happens makes you feel irritated? That usually means that what you need is to step back. It’s probably not the situation itself that is making you feel short, it’s probably something inside of you. For me, this is one of the first signs that it’s time to take a break.
You Feel Longing – I’ve been sitting at work recently, feeling a strong pull to go to the beach and be outside. Granted it is summertime and the weather is warm, but this could also be a sign that it’s time to take a vacation. My work is going fine, but I can’t escape this feeling of wanting to be outside. When you feel strongly pulled in one direction, take some time to listen. It’s probably telling you something.
You Feel No Enjoyment – Do you still get the same enjoyment from an activity that you once did? If you don’t, think about taking a break from it. You may need to bring more creative ideas to the activity. In that case, take a break and let your unconscious do some “thinking” for you. When you come back, you just may find that you see things in a different light. On the other hand, this could indicate that it’s time to take a permanent break. You may need to cut this from your life.
You Feel Bored – Maybe you need to inject a fresh challenge into whatever you are doing. Once you begin to feel comfortable with something, think about how you can take it further. It’s OK to be comfortable for a little while, but after some time you will get bored if you don’t feel challenged. Step aside for a while and think of how you can add some challenge for yourself.
You Can’t Focus – When you just can’t concentrate any longer, whether in a short term or a long term sense, stop whatever it is that you are doing. At this point, if you push through, your focus is only going to get worse. If you want to be more productive – take some time off. If you are feeling restless, it means you need some rest.
You Feel Tired – When you are just plain worn out, don’t push yourself further. Break your routine and do something different. You are not going to feel more energetic by pushing through, but you will feel better after a break.
Short Term and Long Term Breaks
In your life, you need both short term and long term breaks. A short term break is taking a 20 minute power nap in the afternoon. A long term break is putting your blog on hold for a month, while you think about what it is that you really have to say.
Regularly taking both types of breaks is important. Both your body and mind need restorative time. You can’t be all action and no inaction. Being idle is a part of being productive and fulfilled. It’s hard to understand, but things happen when we are resting that we are not quite aware of. It’s the maintenance we need to live our lives as we want to.
Don’t wait for the above symptoms to assail you at the wrong moment. Make regular short term and long term breaks a part of your life.
How do you know that it’s time for a break? Share your thoughts in the comments!