Why you need a break now more than ever

It’s Monday evening and I’m sat at my desk in my slippers and a woolly jumper, listening to Bon Iver. It’s dark and cold outside. There’s no denying that winter is here.

In any ordinary year, I’d be making preparations for Christmas. I’d be getting excited to have some time off, spend time with family and let my hair down. But as you well know, this is not a normal year and this will not be a normal winter.

From the conversations I’m having, it seems that everyone is feeling a bit tired, burnt out, unwell and ready for a break. I can hear it in people’s voices, like energy is being drained with every word spoken.

And yet so many of those conversations end with people telling me they don’t want to take a break because there is no good reason to take a break during lockdown. There’s nothing to do, no one to see and nowhere to go. They might as well push on and get as much work done as possible.

If that is you then what I’m about to say is for you!

Now more than ever, you need to listen to your body. You have been asked to adjust multiple times this year to a constantly changing situation. You are continuously having to make decisions that could impact your health. You are likely grieving things that would have been. You are likely feeling isolated and alone. All this, against an emotional political backdrop. 

Let me be very clear – just because this is the second lock down, doesn’t make it easier. You may think you’re used to it, but you’re not designed to get used to it. You are human and you are a social animal. If anything, right now you’re probably feeling the impact of Covid-19 on your emotions more than before because there is the stark realisation that you are reaching the end of the year and the situation persists. 

So I am writing this post to tell you that if you are finding doing things (or anything) difficult right now, you are not alone. If you are shedding more tears than usual that’s OK. Your body is telling you, you need to slow down and take a break, and not feel bad about it!

Breaks can be long or short. Do what is right for you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Finish work on time
  • Read a novel
  • Light a candle
  • Write down your intentions for the week
  • Get stuck into a new hobby
  • Book a day off
  • Stay in bed
  • Binge watch TV
  • Do a puzzle
  • Go for a long walk
  • Drink hot chocolate
  • Tell a good friend how you’re feeling
  • Cook
  • Paint
  • Meditate
  • Dance

These are just a few ideas, I’m sure you will have your own. What’s important is that you accept what you are feeling right now and listen to what you need. Pushing on relentlessly is only going to make you feel worse, dampen your creativity, and lower your emotional resilience. Now is not the time for that!

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