Because you know what? I don’t know about you, but I sure need one. Which is why it’s on my mind this morning. Sometimes our lives get so hectic we meet ourselves coming and going, as my mother used to say.
This is one of those days!
When I look at my world and think: Why am I so tired? It’s time to pull out some tools and use them. The time has come for taking a break.
Because I know when I do take that mental-health day, this is what happens:
- My stress and anxiety levels ease.
This is a no brainer, right? Of course stress and anxiety lessen when you take a break! If so, what excuse do we have for not doing it?
And while it’s quite true that a few minutes of relaxation techniques during the day can de-stress you, no matter what that practice means in your world, when you cannot even remember why you’re so tired, more is called for.
- It gives you a sense of control over your life.
This is huge. How often do you feel as if you’re spinning, chasing after one task and then another, losing a tenuous grip on your world? Never? Wow—I’d love to know what your life is like! Because I don’t actually know that person.
But we know stress and anxiety causes hormonal releases that then cause inflammation, which lead to, oh, about everything bad!
And we also know that we can take charge and reverse them. Just the act of planning a mental-health day makes me feel a bit more in charge. And taking one causes me to feel like I am, at least for the day, master of my own ship.
- You remember what’s important. Often that gets lost, no? We’re so busy putting one foot in front of the other one, we lose sight on the things that truly matter to us. Our loved ones. Our dreams. Even our pets! (Horrors! This would be bad in my home.)
But taking a break to relax and rejuvenate then calms your body enough, which calms your mind enough, that the things that matter bubble back up to the surface.
- It helps to refocus your goals. Once you’re more at peace, and remember what’s important, you can then look at your life and your goals with much clearer eyes. If you’re chasing your tail in ever-descending circles, the reptilian mind that’s running that show can’t possibly find the solution.
As Einstein said, “Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them.”
- It enriches creativity.
And I’m all about creativity! Any time you can do the above, creativity gets unleashed kinda like a magic wand waves over your head. Relaxing the mind just does that.
If you can relax long enough to get bored, creativity soars! Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But recent studies have shown this over and over. Studies have shown that being bored promotes creative associations. It pushes you to find more satisfaction and deeper meaning. In a study by Karen Gasper and Brianna Middlewood of Penn State University, bored participants outperformed people who were distressed (no brainer), but even those who were relaxed or elated!
I do believe one of my next goals is to go find some of that boredom.
- It enhances empathy.
Face it, when you’re overworked, stressed, sleep deprived, etc., it’s pretty danged difficult to feel empathy for another’s plight. The old truism works for a reason: If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else. And if you’re any of those things, you aren’t finding empathy for yourself, much less anybody else.
And without empathy, we lose our humanity.
So, take care of you first. If you’re scrambling for air, put that oxygen mask over your face. Breathe.
Then schedule a mental-health day. Not only for yourself, but for everyone on the planet around you.
How do you take a break?
This Post Has 4 Comments
Efiong Etuk6 Oct 2015
The experience of great discoverers consistently demonstrates that major breakthroughs (AHA! moments, Illumination)almost always occur during breaks (also known as “incubation”).
If we watch ourselves closely, we will observe that solutions to important problems often occur during “breaks,” when the mind is focusing on something else, away from the focal problem.
Lesson: Breaks are not just good, but essential, for thought and problem solving.
Susan Malone12 Oct 2015
Great points, Efiong! And isn’t this so true. I so appreciate your insights!
Efiong Etuk6 Oct 2015
Dr. Efiong Etuk is the founding director of the Global Creativity Network, http://www.global-creativity-network.net, a worldwide community of concerned individuals dedicated to the idea of a world in which everyone can be effective, creative, and successful. Proponent of a “Global Creativity-Consciousness,” “The Right to Be Creative,” “The Age of Creativity,” “Mass Creativity,” and the “Global Creativity ‘Marshall Plan,’” Dr. Etuk speaks and writes extensively on strategies for nurturing and engaging everybody’s unique abilities in the Great Work of building a viable and sustainable global civilization that is worthy of our generation and an enduring legacy to future generations.
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