In today’s busy world with a never-ending “to-do” list of obligations, responsibilities, and commitments, it can be hard for us to take a real break.
But taking breaks in the midst of the daily grind is vital for our mental, physical, and emotional health.
Why Taking Breaks is So Important
Wherever you are in your career and life, it’s essential to build in time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate.
We used to get built-in breaks when we were in school (winter, spring, summer, and more), but in the real world, it can be a lot tougher to take time off, especially these past few years. Even if we do get vacation days, it can be hard to really disconnect and some of us even fear taking time off.
As I grew my own business, got married, and built a family, I began to see both the necessity and difficulty of carving out downtime.
Taking breaks means giving ourselves permission to unplug and let go, which is actually easier said than done for many of us. It gives us a chance to rest our brains, shift our daily habits, and let our minds wander. Doing these things are essential for our relationships, work, wellbeing, and creativity.
We are never promised tomorrow, and no one is sure what each day will bring.
I’ve experienced quite a bit of loss and grief in my life. As hard and painful as this can be, it does force us to stop and reflect on our own lives. It makes us ask why we’re doing what we’re doing and what really matters.
We all have deadlines, commitments, meetings, projects, and other things that are important. But we never know what’s going to happen. Tomorrow is not promised. That’s why it’s important to rest in between all of our activities and ambitions.
A break can be a nice vacation, or it can just be something simple, such as going for a quiet walk or reading a book.
You don’t have to plan an elaborate getaway, as nice as those can be. A break can be as simple as disconnecting for a few minutes to stare out the window and appreciate your life.
I keep one journal for thoughts/feelings and another specifically for gratitude. I find when I take the time to write in these books, it always gives me a nice built-in time for reflection.
Doing little things like journaling, or even going on a walk and being present with yourself and your surroundings can make a difference.
Staying busy can be a way to distract ourselves from our own feelings.
We have so many ways to numb and distract ourselves these days, especially with work, technology, social media, and more. Feeling our feelings can be hard, painful, and scary, but that’s where the juice of life happens.
The more time we give to fully feeling all of our emotions, even the uncomfortable ones, the more quickly we move through them.
We’re all in this together.
When we get down to the essence of who we are as human beings, we may be different in so many ways, yet we all know what it’s like to feel universal emotions like joy, sadness, gratitude, fear, peacefulness, anger, love, and more.
When we take breaks, we allow ourselves to get in touch with our humanity and who we really are. This helps us check in with ourselves and in turn allows us to connect more authentically with others.
As busy as we all are and as much as is coming at us all the time, it’s essential for us to slow down, step back, and engage with ourselves and each other in a conscious and deliberate way. Doing this reminds us that even though it may not always seem like it, we truly are all in this together.
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Mike Robbins is the author of five books, including his latest, We’re All in This Together: Creating a Team Culture of High Performance, Trust, and Belonging. He’s a thought leader and sought-after speaker whose clients include Google, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, Schwab, eBay, Genentech, the Oakland A’s, and many others.
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