No email, no phone calls, no little projects. I spent the day watching movies, going on walks, cooking fancy breakfastses, and checking out cool events in Portland.
The Life of the Small Business Person
Ever since I started my own company, I’ve been working a lot. It’s so easy to say yes to doing more and there is always more to do.
When I had regular jobs, I was better at setting boundaries. Now my boundaries are set by my need to sleep, to eat, and to deal with natural consequences of eating.
But living this way has started to wear me out. So, when I didn’t have yoga school this weekend, I jumped on the chance to take a day off. It was wonderful. And it got me thinking, why don’t I take more breaks?
Taking a break is essential whether it’s from work, exercise, or even your relationship. Yet, we all neglect to do it.
So my goal with this post is to convince you and me (actually mostly me) that we should give ourselves a break every now and again.
The Day Break
(rest days are the key to success and sanity)
As you train, you are breaking your body down. Your muscle fibers get micro tears; lactic acid builds up; and your system is put under pressure. And your body responds by rebuilding itself, (better than before.)
But if you don’t take a regular day off, you never give it a chance to catch up. A once a week break is essential for building muscle, preventing injury, and keeping you sane.
It’s important to take a day or half day off work once a week. My dad often says, “God rested on the seventh day and I don’t think I can do it better.”
The mind is like a knife. If we use it all the time, it gets dull. Working seven days a week is a great way to make your knife dull.
When we relax our minds and enjoy silence or time with loved ones we sharpen our knives. And a sharp knife works better.
Taking a day off your relationship may sound bad, but it’s not about pretending you’re single. It’s about taking a chance to reconnect with your own needs and feelings.
Knowing our hearts is a great gift to whomever we are in partnership with. When we understand what we want and need we can communicate our feelings and needs more effectively.
Time alone helps us see the parts of ourselves that need the attention. It also helps us see where we need help and when we need to help ourselves.
The Week Break –
(take a vacation, staycation, or anything in between)
Most training plans have a regular rest week where you ease off your training. This week is designed to let your body recover and rebuild. At the end of your rest week, your body will be stronger because you ran, swam, or biked less.
I don’t recommend you stop working out, because that can become a habit. It also leads to lost muscles. But it takes less effort to maintain your current fitness level than it takes to build it.
For most people this takes the form of a vacation, but I often alternate between busier and easier weeks.
I’ll pack one week full of appointments and then leave the next week open. I do this because I know I need a week to catch up and process everything I learned. This pattern helps me stay focused without burning out.
Whether you take a week off work or just ease up, try to maintain good boundaries. When you work just work and when you play just play.
I’m not suggesting that you take a whole week off from your partner. If you have kids or live together, this might not be possible. But much like work or training, it’s nice to take a little extra time for yourself.
Relationships are often about compromise and that’s wonderful, but it’s also essential to honor the part of ourselves that doesn’t want to compromise. That doesn’t even want to think about compromising. Taking time to do our own thing honors that part of ourselves in a healthy non-brinksmanship way.
Not sure how to do this? Try one of these ideas
- Go to the movies, but you each go see your own show.
- Go to the bookstore and each of you picks out your own book and spends an hour reading next to each other.
- Get a baby sitter and then each of you do something you really love separately.
The Break Moment
This applies to all three. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, you can take a break moment.
Put down what you are doing. And take 10 deep breaths. On the inhale say, “I deserve to take a break.” On the exhale say, “taking this break shows I love myself.”
Taking a break isn’t about any technique or method. It’s about honoring the ebb and flow of your life. It’s about getting creative about your way of being in the world.
Whenever we let one part of ourselves (the work self, the fitness self, or the relationship self) take over our whole life, problems ensue. The practice of taking a break prevents this and helps us see more aspects of what makes us who we are.
(*Quick disclaimer: Asking for time to yourself can be tricky, check out these posts on communication skills for some tips.)