Hi there, hello! How are you? We have so much to catch up on. What did you wear for Halloween? What did you cook for Thanksgiving? How was Christmas? And how did you celebrate the New Year?
It has been a while. Whew! I had to take a break…from everything.
Why did I take a break? I had to get some shit straight in my life, in my marriage and my mind; for my present life and my future life. I had to step away from thinking about deadlines and marketing ideas and content. I put social media on hold too. After a few months, I even put a few friendships on hold.
The struggle I was experiencing was too unknown and too raw to experience in public, with all of you in real time, so I hit pause on the blog, on social media and as I said, on socializing in general.
Many of Us Took a Break
While I am slowly re-entering the world of blogging and social media, I am noticing I am not the only person who took a break towards the end of 2018. Many of you did as well.
Many of you were/are dealing with personal loss and personal growth. Some of you are questioning why you do things and how to change those responses.
Many of you were gutted by the Me Too movement and the resurfacing of emotions and memories perhaps you thought were far in the past. Some of you noticed how much validity you were giving to social media and realized you could never live up to the beauty of someone else’s life.
Whatever the reasons, many of us collectively took a breath and took a break.
I recently looked up the meaning for the word break. I felt I needed to be reminded of the actual purpose and not what my tired self doubting mind was telling me.
What does “break” mean anyway?
Break, as a verb, means to separate or cause to separate into pieces as a result of a blow, shock or strain. As a noun, it means a pause in work or a pause during an activity or an event.
I’m proud of us. Taking a break is part of self care. By taking a break, we are listening to our inner voice and actively unplugging from all the extra in order to rebalance ourselves.
Perhaps you have been separated into pieces as a result of a life blow or the weight of strain. And maybe you paused because of caution or confusion or from an awareness of the need for a break. Whatever the reason it is a break, not the end.
There was a time when I saw unplugging as a failure. I thought if I were strong enough, smart enough, disciplined enough or if I were just enough then I wouldn’t have to unplug and take a break. But that isn’t a balanced way of thinking at all.
For years I felt if I took a break from something like working out or a hobby or a relationship that when I came back to it, I had to start from the beginning. I had to start from zero. It seems I was always starting over. I was continually putting so much self-imposed pressure on myself to get it right (perfect) this time.
I’ve been watching a lot of football playoff games recently as teams prepare for the Super Bowl. When a football player makes a misstep during a play or is winded or hurt, and they come to the sideline, it isn’t because their career is over and they will need to start over…..it is a break. When I see them on the sideline with an iPad or printed images looking at the previous plays I am so jealous of the opportunity to see where they went wrong so they can make adjustments the next time they go out.
But we can do this in real life too….we can take a break, we can reassess, and then we can get back in there.
Here are my top three tips for taking a break.
- Permit yourself to be human. Remember you are a human being whose being human. And when I say permission, I don’t mean justify. Many times I’ll explain an unhealthy situation or decision by giving myself “permission” to spend the extra money or have another drink. THAT IS NOT WHAT I MEAN. I simply mean be gentle with yourself. Be your own best friend.
- Accept and understand there is an ebb and flow to life. Life can’t always be a go, go, go and conquer, conquer, conquer. We sleep at night to rest and rejuvenate. Think about it, what do many parents say to their children when putting them to bed? Get your sleep; you grow when you sleep. Or what do many parents say to children when they don’t feel well, but they don’t want to be still and rest? You need to be still. Your body heals when you rest.
- Self-assessment doesn’t have to be personal. Let me clarify. Many times when we reassess our situation or lack of a situation we call ourselves names. We say things like, “if you weren’t so lazy you would have worked out today.” Or, “that was stupid to say to you would volunteer when you know you don’t have time.” That’s personal. Calling names pour gallons of shame and loaded expectations onto the situation.
Let’s Think Now!
Not making it personal is saying things like, “I missed working out today. I didn’t make me a priority because I was so stressed with work. I’m putting myself on my calendar for tomorrow. I’m keeping this appointment with myself because I am worth it.” There is no name calling. No emotions. Just the facts. Trust me; it takes the pressure off.
So, friend, are you one of the many people who recently took a break? Are you nervous about jumping back out there? I hear you, and I’m with you.
Remember taking a break is part of self care. Taking a break is a pause to gather the pieces from the life shock or blow and then deciding what portion will remain and what pieces get left on the sidelines. Taking a break is pausing to catch your breath and regain your balance.
Are you ready to hit resume? Are you prepared to unpause?
I am. I’m not going to say how great 2019 is going to be and throw glitter and confetti around. I’m merely going to get back in the game and resume play. Will you join me?
Be you. Be Beautiful. Be imperfect.