Taking a break can feel like too much work.
You have to prepare, plan, communicate, and try to put all of your worries aside. Sometimes, it seems easier to not take breaks.
But deep down, you know that’s not healthy.
Taking breaks is like anything else – you need to practice in order to get really good at it.
Last year, I began learning to take breaks. Short ones. Long ones. Breaks from specific things. And then sought to come back with greater vigor and focus.
Most recently, I’m coming off of a break from social media for the month of December. And as I gear back into writing-mode, here are a few things I hope to remember from the final days of 2016:
+ Books & Authors are great mentors. Reading is on a short list of things that ought to be part of every day.
+ On that note, reading poetry challenges the way you think and write. I hope to learn how to say more with less.
+ Two years ago, in December 2015, I needed the help of a friend who changed my social media passwords for me to make the break from social media happen. This year, I did it on my own. It felt good realizing that I have the willpower to say “no” to things that I think I want. In fact, growing your “no-muscle” is more important today than ever. I wonder if focus will be the rarest commodity of the 21st century.
+ Happiness is wanting what you have. And a lot of what’s online causes you to look longingly at what you don’t have. You need to counter those voices with a lot of time in reflection and gratitude.
+ Facebook/Instagram REALLY misses you when you don’t login for a while. By the end of the month, I was receiving daily communication about what was happening online without me. It was a reminder that we are the ones they need, not the other way around.
+ If you run yourself ragged, you can’t weather life’s storms. As you know, my father lost his fight with Pancreatic Cancer on December 6th. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever encountered. I’m still having trouble processing the loss and all that it means for my family and I (seriously…I have a dozen half-written posts…and then I just get stuck). During the weeks that followed, I was completely spent. If I hadn’t planned for taking periodic breaks throughout the year to get to that point AND planned for a December break away from my rhythms, there would have been a looming cloud of work and obligations. And I wouldn’t have been as present with family and friends.
For now, it’s time to run again. I’ll share more about the path ahead in the coming weeks. Several of you shared wonderfully helpful feedback at the end of November. That was really insightful as I consider ways to support you and your work from my corner of the world. Thank you.
And for today, more than resolutions or projects or tasks or even Leaps, my only question to you is, “When is your next break?
Plan it. You’ll be glad you did.
See you next week,
Ps: A dear friend of mine, Sam Rosen, has begun this same practice of writing every Wednesday. You can read his first Wednesday Words here. If you’re interested in writing every Wednesday with us, just reply with a link to where you post. I’d love to follow along.