I might be the biggest hypocrite ever while writing this because I too, need a break. It’s been at least two or three weeks of near-constant working and I’m fully aware that I need to do something else for a while. Maybe I’ll convince myself to relax a little – after I write this article. Sigh.
Anyway, the thing that I must work on too – is changing my relationship with work. Right now, work is this irritating grunge-rocker with tattoos and a bad attitude, always demanding my attention and coming back to my door. But I’m aware that my relationship with work should be much more like the boy-next-door – dependable, relaxed, healthy. But like the edgy rocker habit, my workaholic tendencies are an addiction I definitely want to curb. Maybe this analogy didn’t work as well for you, but you get the idea.
Basically, for a healthy and productive life, abandon the idea that you must be constantly busy in order to matter. Like my holistic doctor says, “Be a human being, not a human doing.” And I love that phrase – I really do. But it is so hard to master that mindset. I blame years of my intense prep schooling for getting me addicted to working all the time. But hey – now I’m done with school, and it’s up to me to take charge of my life.
So, without further ado, I’ll share some things that usually help me get back into a healthy relationship with work:
1. Move your body.
This can be as simple as getting up and going for a walk, or something a little more particular like joining a yoga class. Not only is this good for you, but it’ll help you clear your head so you feel refreshed when you get back to work after you take a break.
2. Hang out with friends.
I don’t know about yours, but my friends are hilarious. A good dinner and some laughs does so much for my mental health it’s crazy. So don’t be afraid to goof off a little while you find your rhythm again.
3. Be creative!
Do something besides writing that makes your heart happy. This can include cooking, painting, crocheting, which I do myself quite often, or really anything else – just as long as it’s not work related. Using your brain in new ways will free yourself up to focus later.
This one sounds simple, but I’ll tell you why it works. If you’re an editor like me especially, it can be really hard to turn off the proofreading brain – but leisure reading helps with that. Getting lost in a story that you’re not responsible for is extremely calming and fun. So why not close your laptop and open a book? Your mind, and sanity, will thank you.
5. Just exist.
Back to what I said about being a human being and not a human doing – yes, seriously. To get out of your funk, why not just sit still and take a break? It doesn’t have to be boring – get up early and watch the sunrise. Or maybe go to the park and just people-watch – that can be fun! The point here is, you don’t have to be doing something to have value.
Your existence is important, and not measured by what you can do. Rather, think about your life as who you are – to others, you’re an important friend, colleague, and family member. Once you shift your focus away from the workaholic stuff, it’s easier to make that adjustment. And when you’re ready to dive back in to your work, read this article HERE for ways to get unstuck.
Now are you convinced how important it is to take a break? If this didn’t do it for you, well, I’m not sure what else to say. If you don’t take time to address your human needs (since you’re not an automaton – at least, I assume), then your body will decide for you. It’s in your best interest to take time for yourself now before it happens accidentally later.