Thank you for bearing with me as I skipped last week’s Motivation Monday post. By my count, I hit just shy of 100 in a row, but the streak had to end somewhere! Today, we’re back on track!
My lack of posting last week is our topic for today: the need for a mental break. Have you ever found yourself two or three days before vacation, and the stress of day-to-day life and work keeps piling up on top of itself, making you feel as if you’ll just never get everything done in time … or that all you really want is some sleep? Believe it or not, this is where I found myself last Friday. I was in my morning bootcamp (by the way, my friend at D Town Sweat reviewed it here last week!), and suddenly felt that I was going to break down crying because so much had to get done in the next 24 hours. I had 11 clients that day, had to take my final exam for a digestive wellness class in my Masters program, hadn’t even thought about packing for my trip, and who knows what else. But I was so tired!
I never really imagined that I would have this feeling while I was working in a job I absolutely love every moment of, but I learned otherwise last Friday. I realized that no matter how much you love what you do (so very, very much!), no matter how much power you have over your schedule (lots!), you can still need a mental break. And if I’m honest with myself, I hadn’t had a day with less than 8 hours of work since January 4th (weekends included). 82 days straight is a lot, even if you do love every minute!
No matter what your situation, taking a mental break can be hard. There are always things to do, always people who need you, always ways you could be productive. Once I decided I wouldn’t take client appointments on vacation, my instinct was “oh great! now I can get a whole lot of other work done!” … but that was the wrong instinct. I needed a mental break, and you need one, too!
Everyone needs a break every once in a while, and that’s OK. It’s restorative and makes us come back feeling fresh, ready to take on even more, and excited about our work and lives. Not giving yourself a break can lead to burnout, fatigue, and even longer-term conditions like adrenal fatigue. Stepping away from your work every once in a while does not make you a weaker person, but may make you a better employee, and a better person. This quote struck me hard while on my break, and it’s so true – I can give more to my clients and those I care about when I am taking care of myself.
In case you’re wondering what I did to take a mental break, read on! I was so fortunate to get to truly escape to a beautiful home in Malibu that my husband and I rented out for our joint 30th birthday celebration. It was nothing short of fantastic – an absolutely perfect vacation for the two of us. We kept to the same basic routine every day … we woke up to view the gorgeous sunrise, ate a leisurely breakfast, checked in with the world and answered important work emails (then shut it off!), and read a little bit. We then ventured to one of California’s gorgeous trails, where we enjoyed a breathtaking run. I ran about 8 miles every day, climbing between 1,000 and 3,000 feet of elevation on each run. The runs were very serene and peaceful, and sometimes we never saw anyone for the full run. (But one day, we saw Queen Latifah out there hiking!) It’s impossible to put the beauty into just a few pictures (we took over 800!), but here are a few …
After the run, we’d come back, shower, eat a leisurely lunch outside, read, nap, and relax. I did yoga on the back porch overlooking this view every evening …
Then we watched the sunset, had a drink or two, and I cooked a nice dinner (a few shots below!) while talking to Kevin. We played Scrabble, watched a DVD, or just enjoyed each other’s company. So simple, yet so far away from our day-to-day lives, and such a welcome break!
I came back feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to take on this week. It’s truly amazing what a mental break does for your body, mind, and spirit, and we all need a break every once in a while. It doesn’t make you weak, unappreciative, or incompetent, it just means you need to let your brain shut off and recharge – and you’ll come back stronger.
Now it’s your turn … Find some way to take a mental break this week, whether it is a quick 10-minute walk outside over your lunch break, 15 minutes of funny YouTube videos after dinner, a meditation or yoga session, a day off, or even a vacation! What can YOU do to give yourself a mental break?