Taking a break? Are you joking?
The concept of self-care can seem strange, or even foreign to some people. We’re so busy dealing with the daily pressures of life, family and career and It’s easy to get so caught up in the stresses of life that we forget to take time for ourselves. But when we don’t find time for self-care, we run the risk of burnout and even illness.
Busy Doesn’t Equal Important.
Many people feel they must constantly be busy or productive in order to justify their existence. However, there are no requirements for busyness or productivity; we only have to justify our existence by being the best we can be.
It’s’s good to remember that you don’t have to be busy all the time—and it’s okay if you aren’t!
How do we define taking time to yourself?
To find time for yourself, you must intentionally make time for yourself. This time should be dedicated to being alone and focused on your own thoughts and interests. It’s not meant to be time alone or with your partner. It’s also not supposed to be time spent with chores on your to-do list.
It’s important to set aside some time to do something you want to do, rather than doing what everyone else thinks you should be doing. It’s a simple self-care practice, but one that can be difficult to put into action.
If you’re used to being productive all the time, it may be hard to spend some time doing nothing. But if you give yourself permission to take it easy, it will become easier over time. In the end, taking time for yourself is a form of productivity.
Here are some good reasons why you should practice taking time for yourself.
When you’re by yourself, you can process your thoughts and feelings at your own pace. Also, if you’re an introvert, alone time gives you a chance to rest so that you’re less drained when you have to be around other people.
When you’re alone, you can practice reflection and self-awareness. You can learn more about yourself, who you are as a person, and how to be that person in the world. There’s no one else to impress, so it’s easier to just be yourself.
As you spend time alone, you can start to get a better sense of how you want to take care of yourself. You can experiment with different things and see what works best for you.
Spending time alone can be a good thing. Research has shown that people with high self-esteem tend to make a conscious choice to spend time alone. People who are lonely usually just don’t make a conscious choice. But if you make a conscious choice not to socialize, it doesn’t usually feel lonely.
How to tell if you need to take a break
When you’re stressed, you may not recognize when you need to take a vacation. You can avoid burnout by knowing what signs to look for and by taking action before you reach the point of no return.
Each person responds to stress differently, which means that the signs of being overwhelmed are highly individual.
Bbut there are some general warning signs that apply in most cases.
If you’re experiencing one or more of the following signs, start planning some downtime. You might want to take a real vacation or just spend a weekend at home doing nothing in particular.
Questions you should be asking yourself to know if you need a break:
* Have you noticed any changes in your eating habits?
* Do you have trouble concentrating?
* Are you getting sick more frequently?
* Do you lack energy?
* Are you unmotivated?
* Do you feel frustrated or unfocused?
* Does your physical health seem to be declining?
* Is your sleep disturbed?
* Have you withdrawn from friends, family or coworkers?
If you answered to yes to at 3 least of these questions you should really take a break.
Here are 10 ways you can start taking time for yourself and enjoying the benefits of slowing down.
1. Have a chat with a friend
A benefit of the lockdowns is how we’ve become more creative in finding ways to connect with each other. If you can’t meet up for a walk, give a friend a call and you can both go for a walk on your own while having a good catch-up. However, be sure to do this safely, and be mindful of any hazards you may come across, including traffic. Or have a cup of tea or coffee on Zoom. You can even ‘meet’ to do an online class that interests you both. Not long ago, the Pilates class I attend online recently ‘met’ for a Healthy Lunches class where we made and enjoyed lunch together all on Zoom .
2. Visit places online
If you’re not ready to travel again, there are lots of places that offer online tours. From castles to museums, art galleries to stately homes, there are so places to explore virtually. Just Google “virtual tours” and your chosen city to get an idea of some cool places to explore.
3. Take pleasure in your first hot drink of the day
If it’s sunny, bring your coffee or tea outside and spend just ten minutes enjoying it instead of gulping it down as you work. If it’s cold outside, put on something warm and sit for ten minutes in nature, enjoying the frost. If it’s pouring down with rain, take a few moments to sit down somewhere comfortable at home and enjoy your hot drink mindfully for just 10 minutes.
4. Take a break from routine to refresh your mind.
Having a routine can be comforting, especially when you have children. But it’s important to shake things up a bit and try new things occasionally, too. For example, if you usually have coffee in the morning, try substituting tea one day or vice versa. You might also try serving breakfast for dinner or shopping in a different grocery store once in a while.. A change really can be as good as a rest.
Meditation is an important part of spiritual renewal. In meditation, you can quiet the voices in your head, connect with your spiritual side, become more insightful and reflective, and gain insight into your unwholesome self-judgments so that you can take steps to consciously make changes. Though prayer may seem like a simple or even trivial activity in comparison with meditation, it can still bring a sense of inner peace and a feeling of connection with God.
To mentally and emotionally replenish yourself, you must find time for physical exercise. Regular physical activity improves your mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Yoga practices may be of particular efficacy for specific disorders, such as the improvement in negative rumination in anxiety and depressive disorders.Whether you choose to do yoga, take up an aerobics class, hit the pavement running or another form of exercise, taking this time for yourself is key to physical and emotional well being.Find a form of physical exercise that you enjoy. This can be a great way to spend time with yourself. An exercise routine can greatly improve your physical health and well-being.
7. Have lunch with yourself
It’s a good idea to eat lunch with your coworkers from time to time. If your employer offers fun activities during lunch, that can be a great way to bond with your team.But sometimes, you may need alone time more than bonding time. Don’t feel guilty about taking your lunch break alone from time to time.Find a quiet spot in your office with a packed lunch or walk to a quiet cafe or restaurant nearby.You could also go home if you live close to your work.
Sleep is a necessity for our physical and emotional well-being. When we don’t get enough sleep, we are more likely to feel stressed, and this can negatively impact our health. Not getting enough shut-eye also decreases brain function and causes mood disturbances, which can be especially difficult if you have kids. While it might be hard to get your toddler to sleep through the night, remember that you need your rest too!
Over the course of a day, we all have moments when we feel drained and parched from giving and pouring ourselves out to others. It’s important to make time for self-care and replenishment during these times. Take a walk in a favorite park, go window shopping, get your nails done or binge-watch your favorite TV show. The point is, it doesn’t matter what you do—just take time to relax and enjoy yourself.
10. Do nothing
It’s okay to do nothing once in a while. Take time out from your busy schedule and give yourself a break from all the activities you have planned. Put away your phone, TV, or computer, and just enjoy a moment to yourself. Make yourself some coffee, take some deep breaths, smile at yourself in the mirror and pat yourself on the back for being such a great person!
To take a break it’s essential to Plan time for yourself
Now that you have some ideas of how to prioritize self-care in your life, it’s time to make a plan. If you don’t get intentional and deliberate about this, you won’t follow through. Schedule time for yourself on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. That may mean committing 15 minutes a day to mediation, three to five hours each week for exercise, and maybe several hours for meal planning. Or perhaps you might want to schedule a weekend retreat or getaway so you can recharge. The message here is: Whatever you decide to do, schedule it ahead of time. And then treat that self-care appointment as though it were the most important thing on your calendar—because it really is just that important.
The key is to prevent ourselves from getting to the point that we absolutely need the break
We live in a stressful world, and today’s 24/7 lifestyle doesn’t make it any easier.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a day or two where you don’t check your email, text messages or social media pages. And taking a relaxing bath, going for a walk, or just sitting on the porch, can all be great ways to clear your head and recharge your batteries.
Giving ourselves permission to take time out for ourselves is good for our physical and mental well-being. And contrary to popular belief, taking this time does not mean that we are being selfish: instead, it’s an act of solidarity with the people around us, who need us at our best when they need us the most.
And I highly recommend taking at least one vacation per year where you will relax and recharge. Take the time out for self-care that you deserve!
So tell me what you like to do in your “me” time share with me in the comments
See you for the next buzz 🐝
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Credit for the photos of this article:
Anush Gorak ,Prophsee Journals , ANTONI SHKRABA , Kelly Sikkema, Joice Kelly , Drew Taylor , Dominika Ro