We all need a break sometimes.
I usually take one at the end of August, and another during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday. It’s not like I work full-time or anything, so some people might wonder what I’m “taking a break” from. I think by specifically stating it’s a break, I’m more intentional about what I do and how it makes me feel. If it stresses me out, it doesn’t belong in my break. If it blisses me out, bring it on.
I guess what I’m saying is that, when I take a break, it’s from the everyday grind. Even though I have serious mental limitations, which I blog about regularly, I still want to be a contributing member of society (and as I’ve noted previously, I’m still ambitious). I write my weekly blog post plus my Saturday photo piece and Monday quote post. I review books and do author Q&A’s when I can. I volunteer with Science Borealis as a Board member and co-founder. I also have a husband and three dogs to hang out with, and all the chores and errands that go into maintaining everyday life both in and out of the house.
When I’m on a break, I don’t blog, so this is my last blog post for 2018.
I usually read more on a break – in fact, I have a stack of books piled up to read as research for my own book, and a second stack of books that are just for fun. Including the new Louise Penny novel (#canlit!) and a Peter May mystery novel.
I also spend more time outside during a break – walking, cycling, or paddling, depending on the weather and what I feel like doing. And I spend more time crafting: I have a great idea for a new fabric art project, but my sewing machine went on the fritz yesterday so I might have to use the backup machine while I get this one fixed. I also make sure to get in my daily writing – usually in front of my SAD lamp. And – my favourite thing about the Christmas holiday in particular – we do puzzles!
Since I’m reading, writing, crafting, puzzling, and being outdoors, I spend more time away from the computer. I’m not expecting any emails or trying to follow a conversation on Twitter. And because I’m not online, I can slow down and think about things like goals for the next year, or things to do with family. Or generate new writing ideas and actually sit down and write essays.
Hmmm, it sounds like this “taking a break” thing might be a good way to run life in general. Maybe I should take a break more often, by incorporating rest, relaxation, and recalibration into every day.
Maybe that’s what I’ll do for the New Year: make sure that I continue to be intentional about what I do, make sure that I spend more time outdoors and away from the computer. Make sure that I spend more time creating – whether that’s fabric art, writing, or cooking.
I don’t plan to eliminate all stressors because sometimes stress can be good, like when you’re challenged by a particular writing assignment, or you swim farther than you did a week ago. But I’d like to reduce the negative stressors, like getting anxiety about driving, or getting angry at misbehaving dogs, or railing against an illness that sometimes makes me have to sleep the day away.
What are your plans for the holiday break? What does taking a break look like for you? Can you inject any of your break activities into everyday life? Might be worth giving it a try.