Hello. Welcome back to Live Free Creative podcast. My name is Miranda Anderson. I’m your host here. It’s another week, another show. This is Episode 139: Take A Break. That’s the name of the show. And that could be it. That could be the show today.
I am really excited to share an episode all about the importance of taking a break, taking a break from things that you love. Taking a break from things that you don’t love. Taking a break from things that feel taxing. Taking a break from things that are enriching.
Taking a break is part of the process of development. We sometimes get that wrong. We think that movement forward with no pauses, this direct trajectory upward towards success, this idea we have of what our life could look like. That that is the way.
And what I’m going to share with you in this episode today is that that is not the way, that the way looks a lot more like a season and a cycle where we produce, we act, we move and we rest. And that rest piece, that break from action, from movement, is what enables the process to continue.
That’s where we are able to find the energy. That’s where we find the creativity. That’s where we find the new ideas. We are not meant to function at full speed all the time. Our bodies are built to be awake and then to sleep. Our heart, like I mentioned in an episode a few months ago, is meant to pump and pump and then relax to fill back up.
And today’s episode is all about the importance of taking a break.
As I jump into the episode today, I want to start with a quick segment that I like to call Peaks Of The Week.
Peaks Of the Week
The Peaks of the Week doesn’t have a theme or anything special this time. It’s just a couple things that I’ve been really loving lately that I think you should know about.
The first one is a candy that I used to pick out of the Star Mix bag. So the brand is Haribo, the company that makes those great gummy bears and lots of gummies. I think it’s a German company.
I feel like recently there’s been this influx, like it used to be kind of hard to find different types of Haribo gummies. There were gummy bears, but finding all the different shapes and kinds was kind of tricky. I’ve noticed an influx lately. And one of the kinds that we were buying in our family for movie night was Star Mix.
Star Mix has a bunch of different things: the little Coke bottles, twin snakes, the cherries, and these little rings. Well, every time we bought Star Mix, I would find myself fishing out the twin snakes because they’re the best. And I just started noticing in the last couple months that twin snakes come in a bag all by themselves if you want.
The Haribo twin snakes are the perfect sour and sweet combination in the best texture of gummy. And I love that they’re kind of long, it’s like a couple bites worth. So it feels very satisfying. Even just one twin snake feels like a good little treat to have.
So I buy them when I’m at Target or at Walmart or at gas stations, they have them. I feel like they’re pretty ubiquitous right now. So you should be able to find them at a general grocery store near you.
The twin snakes, my friends they’re so good. A little sour, a little sweet, the perfect chew. A couple bites in one treat. Take my word for it.
The second peak of the week is a book that I just listened to and I really enjoyed it. It’s a fiction novel. It’s not super deep. It’s not like you learn a whole lot. But it has great character development. I thought it was really fun writing. And I very much enjoyed the acting when I’m listening to an audio book. I really do care a lot about how it sounds. I want it to be entertaining and interesting to listen to.
The book is titled My Oxford Year.
My Oxford Year is a great interesting little romance that also touches on some deeper points. And I think the characters are really fun. It was pretty well paced. I didn’t feel like I was racing to finish it, but I also kept wanting to listen a little longer.
I listened on some runs and some long walks with the dog. I listened to it as I went to bed at night. And I just sort of fell in love with the story and with the ideas and with the people. It’s a great book, especially if you’re interested–if you’re kind of an Anglophile and you’re interested in British culture.
The whole thing is set at Oxford, of course. It’s really great. And if you are looking for a new audio book and you’re an audible member, or you want to give audible a try, it’s a good one.
My last peak of the week is maybe a little revealing, but friends we’ve fallen in love with some kittens. And I shared a couple episodes ago that we have been thinking about getting some kittens and we’re kind of playing with that idea.
Well, one of my great listeners reached out and said that she works with the local animal shelter and was able to connect us to a recently born litter of little gray poofy kitties. And that foster mom has been so kind to allow us to come and do some home visits with these babies. They’re too little to come home already with us, but just to get to know them and to see the mom and to interact with them a little bit.
And of course that’s like, you know, arrow in the heart to go hold four week old and six week old kittens. Of course, you’re going to fall in love with them. I knew that I liked kittens. I knew that I liked cats and after spending some time with them–we’ve never owned a cat, I personally didn’t grow up with a cat–and I am sort of head over heels for these little tiny sweet, gray poof balls.
I had in my head that maybe we would get these kind of like orangy spectrally kinds and I think that, I mean, we’ll see, it’s not a hundred percent, but we have our eye on a couple smoky gray, medium haired, poof ball kittens, and I am excited.
So when I shared about this before on the podcast, I had several people respond and give me some advice and share their experience. I would love that again. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment or send me a DM if you have advice about your favorite litter boxes or kitty things.
don’t have any idea exactly what I even should be asking, but we’re already planning on if we end up 100%, we’re like in the 90%. So if we end up 100% being able to settle with these kitties, then we are already have an introduction plan for the dog and send me other kitten ideas.
It would be a pair of kitties. So send me, send me all of your advice.
My Peaks Of The Week is candy, British fiction romance novel, and kittens.
Main Topic: Take A Break
As I’ve been thinking on what I wanted to share this week in this episode, I keep coming back and back around to the idea of how it’s okay–and not even okay, but necessary–to take breaks, even from things that are going well. And I realized that I recorded a bonus episode a couple of years ago, right along the same line for my podcast plus group.
So rather than rehash the same thing over, I want to share this bonus episode with you here on the main feed so that you can explore this idea with me of the importance of taking a break. I want to mention that one of the things that I’ve really been feeling a call to take a break from–not like a solid break from social media for a certain amount of time–but just to step back from social media enough to have some perspective.
And actually, with the podcast plus group, our digital book club last month we read a book and one of the things that we decided to do together as a group was to take one day off of social media per week for this month.
Social Media Free Sundays
So I’ve decided Sundays are my day off and I’m actually leaving my phone at home, taking the whole day off of social media, not checking email, not getting on Instagram, and spending that day reconnecting to myself, to my family, to nature, to the world, to being inside my body, inside my home, not seeing other people’s ideas, not sharing about my life, not exploring the wider world of the internet, but just being present.
And this last week was Easter Sunday and it was so wonderful to just have that time and space where my head wasn’t anywhere but where I was. I found a lot of peace in that, and I’m excited to do that for Sundays for the foreseeable future.
And then also just giving myself the space to evaluate the relationship that I have with the different platforms where I spend time. Now, I of course have been producing online for a long time. I started a blog in 2007 that I wrote religiously on five days a week for over five years.
I converted that blog into the real kind of base of my company in 2014 and have been creating blog posts and Instagram posts. And you could call me a content creator. I’ve been doing that for a really long time online.
It feels comfortable to do that. And it also, in the last year especially, and maybe the last couple of years has felt very non-stop.
Everything gets a little faster. There’s more platforms. There’s more touchstones, more people to contact, more ways to be involved, more things to learn. And my goal is not to have a big company with many employees, sending self-development love into the world at every angle.
My goal is to share ideas that help people live more intentional, creative and adventurous lifestyles through this podcast, through my blog, through Instagram and through my book, More Than Enough, that’s already been published, as well as hopefully future books.
And also through opportunities to speak and give presentations and teach about these things through my online course, Live Free From Clutter, through my live workshops–I do some craft workshops. I have Live Free Creative Camp, an in-depth work retreat that’s happening next week. And then also in the fall in Vermont. I have grown up summer camp that’s going to be an incredible space for women to come and connect.
Lead By Example
These are the things that I want to do and not all of them involve continuous creation of new and different shiny ideas to share every single day. Of course it could. And also if I’m inviting people to create space in their lives for the things that matter most, and yet mine is full of the endless to-do of churning out new things for social media sake, then am I living aligned with the values that I’m teaching?
I would offer to my listeners and to my friends that taking breaks from social media, taking breaks from work, taking real vacations, hiring a babysitter so that we can spend time with our spouse without the kids, that all of these things are beneficial for our wellbeing, mental, physical, emotional, social, relational.
So it’s hard for me to share that I think that it’s good for you if I’m not willing to say that it’s also good for me. It’s good for me to step away from social media from time to time. It’s good for me to allow my work to come in seasons and not to be always continually pushing for bigger, better, more, but also allow space for rest and for ideas to ruminate and for evaluation of what things are still serving me and you.
And what things could be a value in the future? And to ask myself, what do I want to continue doing? What do I want to begin doing? And what is okay for me to lay down right now? What is okay for me to stop? And knowing that it’s not always going to be the same, those answers are going to change over time, depending on the season, my energies, the times, the weather, the goals and the needs of myself and also my community.
So that’s some of the angle that I’m coming at, as I was thinking about this idea of wanting you to know that it’s okay to take a break and not just saying that as a person, who’s like, it’s okay for you to take a break, but I’m going to be back here, churning out content daily in order to maintain my position in the world of social media or the business world, but also knowing that it’s okay for me to take a break.
I’m not only saying it, but I’m also doing it and feeling the beneficial effects of finding presence and pause in my own life.
And yeah, that can be scary when you know, right now especially, it feels like so much relies on our ability to connect digitally because that’s where communities are. That’s where attention is.
And yet, we know that we aren’t built for constant digital connection. We’re not built for constant input and constant messaging, seeing other people’s lives go by like an eternal reel of other people’s stories and other people’s experiences.
Some of that can be helpful and uplifting and at some point it does more harm than good. And you’ll have to determine what that is for you.
And this episode isn’t just about social media, but it’s something that’s been on my mind. So I hope that that is helpful for you as you get ready to listen to the rest of this episode, about the importance of taking a break, whether that means social media, whether it means maybe taking a break from work, maybe trying to go on a vacation, maybe finding some space in your life to spend time by yourself or with a particular friend or partner, or even with one particular child, like taking a break from the whole brood in order to develop a relationship with one.
Those are some of the things you might want to consider as you listen to this episode from the bonus podcast.
Take A Break (Podcast Plus Bonus)
Today’s episode is called Take A Break. This episode is specifically about the incredible increase in creativity and efficiency that happens when we allow ourselves to pause to rest and replenish.
Now, this goes against everything that you ever hear about work, about keeping your shoulder to the wheel, about having that nose to the grindstone, about pushing through when you’re feeling like you’re almost there. You know, you just got to keep going, running, running, running until the end.
I have some good news for you. If you ever feel burned out or overwhelmed or stressed, the answer is most likely taking a break, the answer to your issues and your problems and your obstacles in your work life, in your mom life, in your home life, is most likely allowing yourself to rest when you feel like you need to rest, rather than pushing through, when you feel like you need to rest.
I want to tell you a story. I attended a conference in 2013. You guys that feels like so long ago now. It used to be a couple of years ago. Now it’s like so long ago I went to Alt Summit in Salt Lake City.
This was the first time I had been. I now have been every year since then. And I really enjoy conferences. I really think that I get a lot of benefit from being in community with like-minded people. And especially from sitting in presentations and talks where I can learn new information and absorb new ideas.
All that said, it can be overwhelming to go to conferences. And I’m just coming off of speaking and attending a conference this last weekend here in Richmond. And I hit a wall yesterday and was like, Whoa, I feel so worn out. I think just mentally, because the idea of taking in that much information and also expanding a lot of information as an attendee socially, and I specifically as a presenter this last time ,had a lot of emotion and thought and energy going into the weekend as well.
Back to the conference. So Alt Summit, 2013, I am a hobby blogger. I am blogging five days a week. I’m working three days a week as a nurse diabetes educator. I have two little boys ages, one and three, and I am attending this blogging conference with the idea that I’m going to go home and really know how to turn up my business.
I’m thinking I’m going to learn everything I need to know in order to work harder, work smarter, and dedicate myself even more fully, like add more to my plate, figure out how the best way to add more to my plate is.
There were a couple specific talks at this conference that vastly changed my mind about that idea.
Stefan Sagmeister on Taking Sabaticals
And one of them I think is so interesting. I still think about as like a pivotal trans transformation in my life was listening to Stefan Sagmeister, who’s an incredible graphic designer. He’s Belgian born and works out of Manhattan and he gave a talk about happiness.
Now, there are a million incredible things that he said, and I think it was the right time and the right place. And it was the right moment for me to really hear him. A lot of the things that he said affected me and helped me change my mind about some of the ways that I was living.
But one thing that he described that I thought was fascinating was his take on rest and rejuvenation.
So he is this super successful, very well-known graphic designer who has a ton of clients that expect great work on a regular basis from him. Being European born, of course, he has a little bit different idea about rest and relaxation than we do being raised as Americans.
There are lots of studies that talk about the differences in the idea about rest and vacation time and about the way that we spend our resources here, which is, you know, kind of like an endless conveyor belt of more, more and more and more money, more work, more success, more power, more achievement, and on and on and on.
So Stefan started to explain the way that our lifespan works. We are born. We go to school for about 12 to 18 years or until we’re about 18.
And then if we go to college, you can add between four and you know ten more years onto that, depending on what it is. And then, so, you know, let’s say we’re about 25. He said, we spend the first 20 to 25 years of our lives learning. And then we spend the next 45 years of our life working. And then we’re 65 or 70, and we spend the remaining, whether it’s 10 or 20 or 30 years of our lives in this idea of retirement or rest.
And he said, when he looked at the lifeline, this timeline of life, it seemed a little backwards. He said we spend all of this time learning. And then the majority of our time, once we have learned and developed and we’re in our prime. We’re in our prime physically, we’re in our prime developmentally.
We are usually in our prime relationally, socially between the ages of 20 or 25 and 60 or 65. That is when we spend all of our time working.
And I’m going to note here that this goes, whether you are working at a typical job where you’re working for someone else, or you’re an entrepreneur working for yourself, or in a lot of cases, if you are working at home as a mom, you spend most of those golden years working, working really hard.
And he said, and then we look at this retirement and this is when we’re older. When most of our family has probably grown up and gone on to live their own lives. I’m sure they’re involved in some ways, but they’re kind of gone and we’re not in great health all the time. We’re not as sprite or as young or as energetic as we used to be.
And maybe we have a few more resources of money, but we might not have the same resources of energy. And he said, I had an idea. He said, he looked at the timeline and decided that he was going to do it differently. So he decided to take some years of his retirement and cut them off of the end of his life and then split them up and insert them in the golden years of his life.
He mentioned that at the time that he had this sort of epiphany, he had been working for about five years as owning his own design firm, working in New York, doing these really high paid, high profile contracts for companies all over the world. He looked at the timeline of his life and decided that seven years was a pretty good amount of time to dedicate full-time to working, but that he was going to insert a year of his retirement every seven years during his work years.
So at this point he had a couple more years of working. And then he took a year off. Now this is not like take a year off and bring your cell phone with you and like manage work from afar. His design firm literally closed its doors, took zero work, and worked on zero contracts for an entire year.
In fact, Stefan moved himself to Bali for the year where he lived in a little guest house and walked around the island, swam in the ocean, drank coconut water, and interacted with the locals.
He commented that, of course, being a creative person and an interested person, he didn’t not do anything. In fact, he had so much time and space and this ability to use his free time chasing curiosity, that he learned a lot of new things. He learned about the Balinese furniture design and was super inspired by the markets and the marketplaces and the artisans on the island.
He said that he got this idea about what happiness was and this little idea turned into something that he was able to explore and eventually ended up being a documentary that he produced over the next several years. But 0% of the things that he took on as projects during his year break were related at all to his specific money-making ability as a graphic designer at work.
He was truly on sabbatical, exploring, enjoying, resting, sleeping in a hammock, and actually taking to heart the idea that he was retired for this year. He mentioned that it was a little bit scary at the beginning. The idea, you know, they informed the graphic design firm, informed all of their clients that they were going to be unavailable for the year.
And they hoped that when they came back that, you know, the doors would be open for new contracts. And that didn’t guarantee that all of their clients wouldn’t immediately go find other design firms to take over the work while they were gone. He also didn’t front load everything. So he didn’t complete two years worth of work in one year, you know, overdoing it the year before the sabbatical.
He simply decided to stop and take a break.
How Do I Make This Work For My Life?
Now, one thing that I remember being fascinated by with this idea, first of all, I thought, yes, we should all adopt that idea. And unfortunately not all of us have the types of jobs where we can literally walk away for a year or support ourselves to do that.
But I remember coming home and telling Dave, we need to figure out how to make something like this work in our lives, even if it’s just on a really, really small scale.
The idea of actually taking a break from the things that are our constant continual companions during our working years is, or our mothering years is, something that we need to consider. But beyond that, how much it resonated with me, something that I was even more inspired by was as Stefan went on to explain the years following his first sabbatical.
Now, when he spoke with us, he was just coming up on his second sabbatical. So he had done that first sabbatical six and a half years previously, and he was almost ready for his next one. And so he told us he was getting ready to do the same thing to close up shop and to go to Bali for his second seven years sabbatical.
And he started to show us how, during the seven years following his first sabbatical, almost every single major design project that he had undertaken had been influenced or improved upon in some way, by the things he had learned during his time off.
Now, let me say that again. Every single significant positive thing that he accomplished in the years following his break could be directly tied to the experiences that he had when he was not thinking about work.
Isn’t that inspiring and incredible?
As I wanted to explore this episode of taking a break, I realized that I have heard this type of thing over and over again. The idea that rest and recovery and relaxation doesn’t only make us feel good, but it actually benefits us more than if we had worked straight through.
Rest and Recovery Benefit Us More Than Solid Work
Now, this is crazy, right? It seems like it couldn’t be true. It seems like when we’re in the middle of working on something that the best thing to do is just keep working hard. Even if we’re getting tired, that it’s better to finish now than it is to take a break and finish later. But all of the research shows unless you’re in a zone, like a true zone where you’re enjoying it, like that flow state that taking a break generally will improve the way that you feel because our brains, although they do like to concentrate and–
In our October book club book, we talk about this deep work, how our brains like to concentrate. And there’s an optimal amount of time for that. Our brains also really, really need the rest and recovery of distraction, not a debilitating distraction, numbing distraction, like watching TV or scrolling through our phones, but true distraction, restful distraction, like taking a walk, or meditating, or writing in a journal, or just going to lunch with a friend and having a conversation about something that has nothing to do with the project that you’re working on or with raising your kids or with cleaning your house or with whatever it is that you have been feeling burned out on.
I recently read a cool book that I’m going to link in the show notes, it’s called Big Ideas: How to Unleash Your Creative Self and Have More Aha! Moments in Your Life by Craig Chase and Jennifer Beckstrand. They lay forth this researched and, you know, really like brain activity related set of steps, series of steps, to have more big ideas and more aha moments and more creativity in your life.
And one of the steps that is an actual valid, important step is called incubate. Now the incubate period is when you actually step away from the thing that you’re working on, you stop thinking about it and you allow your mind to think about other things. This is taking a break. It gives all of these examples in this chapter about incubator of geniuses who have used this in real life.
People that you would think must have spent all of their time, like so much time working, working, working actually spent so much time resting and rejuvenating their minds in order to have the ideas and have the energy and have the creativity to contribute even higher goodness to the world.
Walking As A Break
One of my favorite quotes from this section is from Frederick Nietzsche, the famous philosopher who wrote, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
Don’t you love that? In fact, it talks about how in Ancient Greece, there was actually a walking school. It was called the peripatetic school, which was like literally a walking school founded by the follower followers of Aristotle. And they would walk around thinking that is how they created these big ideas.
We might think that it’s a waste of time to take a break. In fact, most of us consider time rather than energy or creativity when we are thinking about the things that we need to get done. But I know, and you know, if you just consider it for a moment, that energy and creativity, and even patience and resilience, those are things that contribute so much more to our ability to enjoy life and to be a productive and efficient and happy even more than time.
The way you can test this for yourself in your own life is to think, have there ever been moments where you actually had time to do something wonderful? Your kids are all in bed or it’s a Saturday afternoon and you have some time, but you don’t have enough energy or creativity or motivation to actually accomplish anything.
Time is not always the culprit. Sometimes the culprit is that we are lacking the actual mental resources that enable us to live the lives that we hope for.
Something else that I read that helped me get ready for this episode was an article called Mental Downtime in Scientific American. There were a ton of really great insights in this article.
But one of the quotes that I loved was from Tim Kreider, who wrote an article about this idea in the New York times, he said: “The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”
Now, I love this idea of the space and quiet that idleness gives us, allows us to step back and see our life whole. When we feel overwhelmed or stressed out or busy, you know, that infamous word that we use so often busy it’s usually because we are not seeing our lives whole, we’re looking at one particular area of our life where we feel like we are lacking.
We don’t have enough time. We don’t have enough money. We don’t have enough resources. We don’t have enough friends. We don’t have enough patients, whatever it is that we’re lacking, we’re, we’re looking at one tiny area of our life and blowing it up to fill our entire mental state. And we consider all of our life in that way, rather than being able to give some space and time to step back and have perspective and see our life as a whole.
Stand Back And See Life As A Whole
And as we do that, we’re able to make these unexpected connections. We’re able to recognize what we actually want. And maybe when we’re so down, focused on one tiny problem, it might seem like a big, huge problem, but one problem or we’re so overwhelmed or stressed out, or this one thing just really, really has to get done.
And we’re having such a hard time doing it. When we take a deep breath and back up and look at the whole, we’re able to see how things interplay, how our lives are so much bigger than one thing, that we do so much more than one project. So much bigger than bedtime. So much bigger than figuring out what we’re going to put on the dinner table every night.
As we step back and consider our lives as a whole, we’re really able to recognize what we do have in terms of resources in order to take the next right step.
So really quickly, I want to go over some obstacles that we might be facing to taking a break.
Why don’t we take a break? Why don’t we rest? Why do we try to push through and push through and push through?
I want to give a couple of reasons here and see if you resonate with these and in your worksheet, you’re going to have some of these obstacles written down and a place to create some of your own ideas about why you might not be taking a break when you really need to.
So you can examine that. And then also on the worksheets are going to be some opportunities for you to create a plan for rest for yourself. What are the things that you want to do when you can do it and how is giving yourself a place to actually work out? How are you going to overcome whatever obstacles that you face to taking a break in your own everyday life?
Obstacles To Taking Breaks
Rest is Frivolous
Let’s talk about a couple obstacles really fast. One major obstacle that we face to taking a break in our lives is that we consider rest frivolous. We consider the idea of doing nothing being lazy.
Time is Limited
We also can come up against the idea that time is so limited. We have to get everything done in a hurry. If we take a break, we are wasting this precious commodity of time. Sometimes we feel like we are in a literal race. If we don’t do this thing now, then we’re going to get behind. We’re trying so hard to get ahead and get ahead and get ahead, and we forget that the only person in our lives walking our path, this journey that we are on, is us.
We are not in a race with anyone else. We’re not in a race with our own milestones with our own age. I love the illustrator Lisa Congdon. If you’re unfamiliar with her, she’s incredible. She is this fascinating, beautiful, talented illustrator. And she started drawing in her late thirties. She’s now in her fifties and, and has this incredible career, but she talks often about the idea that we think that it’s too late, that we think that time has passed us by, but it’s never too late.
It’s never too late to take care of yourself. It’s never too late to do the things that you love. And as it relates to this idea of rest, any time you take the break that you need and the time will pass. Yes, the time, you know, that hour that you take a break or if you take a week off of work, or if you even are able to take a month off of whatever you’re doing, which is not realistic for most of us, but that isn’t time.
That disappears. It’s not time that is wasted. This is time that is reinvested into our wellbeing, our health, and gives us the ability to do better when we return.
Rest is Selfish
I think a lot about the idea of rest as it relates to motherhood. And I know a lot of you are moms. We forget that when we take a break, we come back better for our children.
Whether it’s taking a break to and getting a babysitter, to go to the gym, or go on a date with our spouse or going on a girl’s trip, leaving the baby, leave him with a bottle. Leave the baby for a weekend to go on a girl’s trip with your sisters or your friends, and just be yourself. Be unencumbered for a little while you return from that better. A different person. You return more whole and more able to give the way that you want to give.
Taking a break is an investment in ourselves, and it is also an investment into our work, into our children, into our relationship.
In some cases it’s been a four day work week giving their employees a paid day off every single week. And how nervous the management, as you can imagine, gets about this idea of paying the same amount for a full day, less of work per week. But what happens in these studies is that people come back to work more engaged and willing to work harder and smarter, more efficiently, and with more creativity than they do if they’re working a full five days a week.
Taking a break actually increases the company’s ability to produce at a high level.
How Would This Affect You Positively?
Now think about that in your personal life. If you allowed yourself or created space to take breaks at regular intervals for yourself, what would that do for your overall feelings of contentment, enjoyment, abundance, and success in your life? Isn’t that what we’re working for anyway? Don’t we have these families and these children because we want to enjoy them and we want to raise them with goodness and with joy and with love.
What if I told you that taking a regular break would allow you the ability to serve your family with more joy and more love and more fulfillment than not taking a break? What if I told you that taking a nap would allow you to accomplish more in your day or your week than if you worked straight through? What if I told you that the best thing you can do for your new business as an entrepreneur is to make time to go on a walk every day without your phone? Or to sit on your front porch and read a book for a half hour in the afternoon after lunch?
I hope that I’m convincing you as I have convinced myself of the incredible necessity of taking a break in order for us to be achieving at an even higher level and more importantly than achieving living a more fulfilled life.
What Does A Great Break Look Like?
Of course the types of activities or non activities that we do during our breaks matter. There are different levels of beneficial results in the rest that we pursue the best type of rest and relaxation in order to contribute to our higher happiness is going to be something that is actually enriching.
So going on a walk, reading a book, spending time with friends, spending one-on-one time with your kids or with your family, sleeping, actually taking a nap can be so beneficial. Participating in your favorite hobbies, things that you don’t feel like you have to do, but things that you love to do, maybe it’s cooking for fun, like taking the time to cook a long slow meal.
If you really love to cook and you don’t get a chance to do that often or taking a long bath or spending some time crafting. Mindfulness and meditation practices are of course going to be beneficial for our brains and our bodies and our psyche and our intellect and everything, as well as just small, simple, creative pursuits, like arranging leaves in color order.
And you know, right now it’s fallen a lot of places, the leaves that are on the ground, grabbing some and doings as simple creative practice, like arranging the leaves in color order or doing a one-line drawing or playing with some clay and making an animal pursuits that are valuable for the process. Not for the end result.
Break Qualities to Consider
As you plan for your own breaks, I want you to consider three qualities to the type of break that you take.
One, it needs to be something that you enjoy, something you are looking forward to, and that you’re interested in.
Two, it should be accessible. The easier it is for you to actually take this break the better it will be because you’re more likely to do it.
I recently have discovered the power of walking. I have been taking my dog on a walk every single morning. And then a lot of times I take her on another walk in the afternoon. And sometimes even in the evening.
As I’ve been out walking in my neighborhood, I pass a lot of people walking their kids in strollers.
And I realized that I missed a huge opportunity as a young mom, my kids no longer use strollers, we do go on bike rides together sometimes, but there were days when I was a young mom and I had my young kids at home who were stroller bound kiddos, and I really needed a walk. I needed a walk and it never really occurred to me.
I took my kids out to do adventures. We went to the zoo and we went to the park and we did all of these things. And I thought, gosh, you know, it would have been so amazing if I would have realized the power of going on a walk, sticking my kids in a stroller, giving them a snack. So they’re occupied and just walking, giving myself a chance to be in my own head and think and observe the world around me and just like get out of the house and actually go on a real walk.
I didn’t do that very much. And it surprises me because I’m like that’s what strollers are for. How did I miss that? It can be amazing. So I just want to say number two, the accessibility of your activity is really important to your actual ability to do it.
And then finally, this should be something that feels like a break it’s different enough from what you are getting a break from. That it actually allows your brain to switch gears.
An example for me is that I live a lot in the self-development world with my blog and with my podcast and with my book and with the speaking engagements that I do. And I spend a lot of time and I love it learning about self-development reading about self-development sharing ideas for self development and living a more creative, adventurous, and intentional lifestyle.
And sometimes when I have a break. I don’t want to read more self-development books or positive psychology books. And that’s mostly what I have to be honest. And so it’s been really nice for me to start a local book club where I have fiction, just like random murder mysteries or like these like beach reads that I can read.
Last night, for example, I was feeling a little bit tired after an incredible weekend conference, but like I mentioned earlier in the episode, putting out a lot of energy and also receiving so much information ways that I can improve ways that I can develop and on and on. And I thought, gosh, I just want a break.
And so what I did was made some cookies. Because I like making cookies and I like eating cookies and the kids need dessert and we need to kind of wind down before bed. And then I pulled out an old book, that’s a cookbook/farmer’s market book. It’s called Eat Good Food by the man who owns the Bi-Rite market in San Francisco in the mission.
I bought it years ago when I was out there and I flipped through it a few times. I’ve tried a couple of the recipes, but it’s actually a book book and I brought it up to bed last night and I started reading through from the beginning and I immediately relaxed and felt so at home and so comfortable. I love food so much and I love cooking a lot and I don’t do it for work. It doesn’t impact my work.
I do it for my family sometimes, but those aren’t usually intricate meals.
It was really nice to feel like I had got this escape and this break from all of the other things that I had been learning and, and working on this week to just kind of enjoy learning something new and enjoy reading about the different types of stone fruits.
And I mean, this sounds so weird. I’m sure some of you are like, that sounds like the worst book. Yeah. It really is fascinating. And it touches on a lot of things that I am excited about right now in my life. In just a really accessible, simple way to just lay in bed and read a book that I want to read that has no other purpose, except for, to serve as a break, a real break.
So those are your three factors for choosing some activities.
Take A Break Every Day for One Month
And I want to challenge you. This is the challenge for this month, this bonus episode, from the time you listened to it until the end of November, when the next bonus episode will come out, I challenge you to take a real break every single day.
Now this can be five minutes going on a walk. It can be a half hour of reading on your porch. It can be a 20 minute nap. It can be a soak in the bath, but I’m going to on your worksheet, give you a place to consider your life right now, your schedule right now, and create for yourself a take-a-break plan where you know 1) what activities you want to do and like to do to wind down, 2) when you’re going to be able to make it happen and 3) how to overcome whatever obstacles you might have in order to make it happen.
I want you to commit to taking a break to giving yourself a break and in turn to start paying attention to and recognizing the benefits of that happening in your life.
We are not meant to work and work and work and work and serve and serve and serve and serve and share and share and share and share until we die. We are also meant to enjoy these lives and to give ourselves a chance to recharge those batteries so that we can operate in the very best way for ourselves and for everyone around us, for the companies that we serve, for the families that we’re raising, for our friends and our siblings and our parents.
When we take a break, we are able to contribute at a higher level in every area of our lives. I’m so excited to hear how this goes for you, what you choose, and then as you fill out your charts to actually do the take-a-break challenge for this next month.
Thank you for listening in. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode and that take-a-break worksheet is available in the show notes livefreecreative.co/podcast. You’re listening to episode 139. I want to thank you for being here for being wonderful listeners.
And I want to especially thank there’s so many people who have left the most kind and generous reviews on Apple podcasts lately. I read every single one. I appreciate them so much.
If you haven’t left a review and you’d love to head over and do that, I really, really appreciate that. And it helps other people find the show.
I want to invite you to check out livefreecreative.co/camp and livefreecreative.co/summer-camp. Maybe what you need is to take a break by coming on one of my retreats. They’re so wonderful. We just have a couple of spots left in both of those. So check them out.
Friends, I’ll talk to you next time. Enjoy your break this week. Bye bye.