Hustle culture teaches us, “no days off,” if we take a break, we are lazy and the next person is going to pass us up. If you work a regular 9-5 you suck, and if you don’t have multiple streams of income right now, you are going to be poor forever. Social media teaches us that we need to be on point at all times, everybody needs a business or side hustle, relationships are the new accessory, and emotions are a thing of the past. It’s so loud, it's literally making my ears ring as I'm typing. Imagine what it’s like for an overthinker such as myself, who is trying to process all my thoughts and opinions, sifting through to find which ones are my own, and which ones I’ve picked up from society. What about the person who has been single for some time and genuinely wants a solid relationship, but everyone is emotionally unavailable, yet looking for the same thing? The mom who is getting degreed, climbing the corporate ladder while simultaneously taking care of her kids and partner, but just doesn’t have the energy to keep up with her appearance. Let’s not forget the business owner who is hard at work learning the ins and outs of business, striving to give quality products and exceptional customer service, but constantly living just to survive another day. If we drown out the noise, and assess our surroundings and what the world deems as successful, sexy, or right, it literally sounds like a bunch of bullshit full l of oxymorons and contradictions. If we truly based our life off today's culture we would never get anywhere because it’s just smoke and mirrors. Very few people are actually living by the standards they preach to the world. The best thing we can do for ourselves is create our own path. One that genuinely makes us step away and take a break from the opinion and standards of others and look inward. I KNOW, sounds crazy, but hear me out. Most of the time we look outward for validation. We have low or high self-esteem based on how others perceive us, but if we actually took time to get to know ourselves, spend time with ourselves, then we might find that we truly know what's best for us. Mind blowing right?! It’s just so crazy it might work. There are some real benefits to stepping away and taking a break. Let’s get into it.
What is taking a break?
Taking a break in its simplest form is taking some time off from something, someone, or some people. This is already sounding good right. This could be a break from social media, a day off from work, a vacation, or simply retreating to your home or somewhere to be alone. Now that we’ve cleared up what a break actually is, let’s talk about why we should think about doing this periodically.
Sometimes You need to get lost in yourself.
Sometimes taking a break is leaving everyone alone and getting lost in yourself. What do you like to do when it’s just you? Do you even know? A few years ago, if you asked me this question the only thing I could have come up with is working out, and at the time I don’t think I was doing that alone. The very first time I could remember doing something on my own for the first time in years was going to the movies, and that was by accident. I was just getting out of a long term relationship, and had moved in with my sister. We were trying to get to know each other and had made a movie date to go see Girl’s Trip. She ended up cancelling on me, but in an effort to try and find myself again I made myself go alone. Turned out to be the best time ever. I ended up having the whole movie theater to myself and the thing I remember most about that night was that I was laughing hysterically, by myself. I had so much fun that I would take myself on movie dates all the time. Once the pandemic hit, I started ordering and watching movies at home, but it still has the same effect.
Getting lost in yourself is a beautiful thing. You learn so many things about yourself. What you like, don’t like. You are free to try new things, and the hobby possibilities are endless. Trust me, I've tried a lot of them and am still dipping my toe in new and exciting ventures. In my breaks I’ve learned that I like to draw. I’m kind of a painter, and I can write a hell of a poem. Society teaches us that we need to find our other half, but you are actually a whole person within yourself. Save that other half for finding pieces of yourself, that way when you do find someone, you’ll be a whole, and it will be easier to find another whole. What’s something you’ve been wanting to try, but can’t get anyone to try it with you? Do it, and thank yourself later.
You need a minute to evaluate your feelings.
Have you noticed when we’re in the moment sometimes emotions can be heightened? Like we can be really mad, really, sad, really happy, excited, or extremely smitten. Have you ever made a decision in the heat of the moment? I can remember in my first couple of years of teaching I was a hot head! I worked in an inner city school and the kids would tap dance on my last nerve every… single… day. I would go back and forth with them if I felt they were being disrespectful. Each time getting angrier and angrier. I just had to win, and so did they. I would be so angry in the moment, but every time I truly gave it some thought, I would always come to the same conclusion, “they’re just kids, and I’m an adult.” Most of the time, 30 minutes later the situation didn’t even matter. This is when my teaching style changed. Anytime there was an issue, or I felt myself getting really upset, or saw that a child was really upset, we both needed to take a break from each other and then come back and talk about it in a timely manner. This worked wonders! The student was able to effectively communicate what their issue was, and I was able to think with a clear, level head to handle the situation in a rightful manner. We can all think of a time where we were in the moment and felt some way and then later felt the complete opposite, or maybe you felt the same way, but felt you could have handled the situation differently. Feelings and emotions fluctuate. Take some time to step away and process those feelings and emotions before you react.
Need time to take away the opinion of others.
Our inner voice and opinions often come from a long line of other people's opinions. They first start with our parents and what they liked or disliked, then our peers, colleagues, and now social media. Sometimes it's hard to decipher what you truly believe, and simply what’s been repeated to you. Taking a break from the world can allow you time to sort through the opinion of who really matters, which is your own. It wasn’t until I went to therapy and spent a week long break in complete solitude and meditation, that it was brought to my attention, a lot of the ways I felt about myself were things that were repeated to me over time. After awareness, it took some real quiet time to decide what I truly liked, disliked, felt were my morals, decided what was disrespectful, or could accept. Taking a break to quiet others' opinions can calm a lot of internal turmoil we accumulate from not going with our gut.
Enjoy life outside the public eye.
I don’t know about you, but I am an aesthetics person. I like things to look clean and sleek, especially when it comes to my social media. The perfect picture and caption is simply the best. I also love a good background; as taking photos and editing videos is a hobby of mine. Over the years however, the less I take pictures and videos for posting purposes. I’ve found that you can get lost in trying to get the right angle, or recording everything. Don’t get me wrong, I will continue to post fun pictures of things I’ve done or the people I love simply because I like to share, but it's always good to put the camera down from time to time and just enjoy your people and the world around you. You’ll actually find the very best times happen when the camera is off, and you are fully present.
This is probably THE hardest lesson I had to learn. I am always on the go. Always thinking of the next idea, next way to expand Fearless Fitness, revamping, making better, training, planning, executing, that I forget to take time off. Literally no work, not training, just life. When I know it's time to take time off, it's always when I feel burned out, tired, VERY whiny, and my body will literally shut down. In those times I just succumb to what my body needs, because pushing any further will be counter productive. Taking breaks actually helps you get more done. I’m still working on my long term game plan with this, but I do take lots of breaks during the day when my eyes start to get tired, or something doesn’t make sense. Taking your mind off a project for a minute and simply taking a walk, or watching a little TV can give you fresh insight, and allow you to finish in a more productive manner.
Recharge to shine your light.
We get one life to live, and you are here on this earth for one purpose. Make sure you are taking breaks along the way to recharge. You give so much to your partner, your children, and so many others in the world. You can’t pour from an empty cup. The best versions of yourself come out of time away from others and looking within, so take a break! You will be glad you did. . Love, light, and peace.