Hey friends! I don’t know about where you are, but we’re definitely experiencing spring weather in Virginia. It was in the 70’s and 80’s last week, but we also had a huge hail storm. Go figure. I’m enjoying finally being in shorts and tank tops occasionally, just like my California days.
After such a busy year of writing my book, my husband
forced strongly suggested I take a “sabbatical” and not add anything to my plate for two months. He just wanted me to slow down and know what it felt like not to have a jam-packed schedule. At first I thought it was crazy. I didn’t know what I would do with myself. I already felt restless working from home and I can’t really remember a time where I wasn’t working on a big project. I went right from moving across the country to a master’s program and then writing a book. I’m always working on something.
When I told my friends and family, there was a mixture of “that sounds GREAT for you,” to “I don’t think the word ‘break’ is in your vocabulary.” But I was so burnt out from the book and everything else that I figured it couldn’t hurt. It ended up being the best thing for me. So for those of you who have too much on your plate, who feel worn down and burdened by all the things you “should” be doing, I wanted to share what I learned from taking this two-month break to hopefully encourage you to take one, too.
I learned to do things just for fun.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I have a difficult time doing things just for fun. If they don’t produce and don’t have value for other people, it’s hard for me to see their worth. Thankfully through my husband and counseling I’ve learned those things aren’t worthless, and thanks to this break I was able to put that into practice. When I started my break, I had ideas of all the books I’d read and crafts I would do. Instead I did puzzles and learned how to make ice cream (my new favorite hobby for sure). I didn’t realize how life-giving it would be to do things just because I enjoyed them! I started feeling lighter and less burdened, which made me more capable to handle the ups and downs of life.
I learned to be spontaneous.
There were more nights where I suggested watching a movie on a weeknight, texting friends an hour before to see if they could hang out, or going out to dinner instead of making our planned meal. It was so freeing to be able to do things that weren’t planned out because I actually had room in my schedule to do so. Usually I’m booked up about two weeks out! I realized that it’s important to leave room, not just for me but for the people around me so they can feel loved and appreciated instead of feeling like I don’t have time for them.
I learned that sometimes doing something “irresponsible” is better than being productive.
I usually operate with the belief that it’s always better to be doing something productive than to be lazy or “irresponsible” doing something just because. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a robot producing things 100% of the time, but I had a lot of guilt for taking breaks or doing what I considered to be irresponsible. After realizing that I am the only one who is adding all these things to my list and I am also the one that can move them all, I started being more “irresponsible.” I realized that most of the time, there aren’t consequences for procrastinating a day or two! I can clean the bathroom another day, or order groceries tomorrow. It’s weird to say that procrastinating was an accomplishment for me, but it really was!
I’m so glad I have people in my life to encourage me to take a break. Even though I was skeptical, I know it’s made me a healthier and happier person. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about your to do list or the mental energy you’re spending on achieving and producing, I challenge you to take a break! Whether it’s a weekend or a month, take some things off your plate. Do things for the sake of the joy they bring you. It’s only temporary, and the benefits are worth it!