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Coaching: Take a Break Week

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes... including you." - Anne Lamott

"There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither." - Alan Cohen

Ceramic teacup of green tea by teapot

Photo via Unsplash, Na Visky

This week's theme was taking breaks! This is something we think we do often, but... are we? Far too often, we worry about being constantly "productive" to the point where we trick even ourselves into seeming busy. We might think a break is scrolling aimlessly or napping (although a nap may be just the kind of break we need sometimes). I know for me, personally, I start overthinking on what a good break activity might be and stare at all of my options until I have no choice but to go back to my day (I'll share a trick for that later). It helps to have a place to start!

Taking breaks is definitely not always as easy as it seems it should be, but this should give you a head start on learning how to get those refreshing, effective breaks.

Why should I take a break?

How do I take a break?

When do I take a break?


Why should I take a break?

Great question! Sometimes we tell ourselves that we have to "earn" or "deserve" a break, but that's simply not true. We can't keep doing things if we don't give ourselves time to rest, or we'll end up just blowing steam as we struggle to chug along. Taking a break is a form of productivity, as it helps us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

As you likely already know, resting allows for muscle recovery and restores us from all forms of fatigue, but it's also good for our mental health. It gives our minds time to process and think so that it can truly reach a state of rest. This can also give us a creative boost when we've been in a rut or hit a block. Taking a break allows us to work on ourselves since we have time to sift through our feelings and just breathe. It allows us to reenergize and lets us improve ourselves.

It's a normal practice in many cultures, but the United States often fails to practice this healthy habit.¹ We've lost sight of what breaks really entail and how important they are to living a healthy life.

Orange cat stretching

Photo via Unsplash, Timo Volz

How do I take a break?

This looks different for everyone and also depends on why you need a break (see the first Break Week Activity). Let's start with what's not taking a break. It's not wrong to think that napping is taking a break, but that's actually related to a different issue. If you're exhausted, need sleep, and that's the only way that you can get any, then by all means, take that nap! But it's not quite taking a break, and neither is idly scrolling through social media (I honestly have that issue myself, I just love those memes). Any activity that makes you feel mindless isn't an effective way to take a break, as much as we love pushing off our thoughts and problems for later. (We'll discuss that next week.)

Sometimes, we're so burnt out and overwhelmed that we can't even decide what to do when we finally have that long-awaited break time. As mentioned earlier, I've been known to be so indecisive that I compile all the things I can do instead of actually doing any of them! My trick to that is in this week's activities, as well- write your top three or so most appealing ways to take a break and then choose one randomly or use a random number generator (Google now has one built in). If you feel your heart sink on the one it lands on, that break isn't for you, so try again!

Now, for what you've been waiting for:

Ways to Take a Break

Go on a walk

Hang out with friends, new or old

Doodle or write a blurb (something creative)

Meditate and sit with your thoughts

Read a good book

Eat mindfully

Play an interesting game

Spend time outside

Try a new dish or cuisine

Learn something new/different

Laptop set up in a minimalist office

Photo via Unsplash, Dell

When do I take a break?

Every day! I recommend at least an hour a day, but starting with 15 minutes is often more doable for most people. You can incrementally increase this time as you reduce or eliminate activities that don't bring you refreshment or happiness. You may need to increase the duration and/or frequency (whichever is most doable for your schedule) of your breaks when you're feeling fatigued or drained.

Many people don't realize that it's also essential to take more and/or longer breaks when transitioning out of old things and into new things. For example, I moved out of my old apartment and into a new apartment on a Friday, and then started a highly demanding new job Monday (a few days later). Needless to say, I definitely wish I'd taken the importance of breaks more seriously. This gives you time to adjust and allows you to have more resilience in the face of difficulty- change is stressful, so why not give yourself every advantage that you possibly can?

Pink notebook titled "today I am grateful"

Photo via Unsplash, Gabrielle Henderson

Break Week Activities

This week's questions- I recommend breaking it up into days, but it's okay if you prefer to sit down and do it all in one go. I put the recommended task time in parentheses by each activity for you.

  1. What are five reasons why you need a break, based on what you learned? (10 minutes)

  2. What are the top three ways you can take a break? (5 minutes)

  3. What can you eliminate or reduce to give yourself time to take a break? (10 minutes)

I shared my answers when I gave out the activities on social media, so I'll share them again with you all! I need to take a break for invigoration, mindfulness, unblocking creativity, improving mental health, and having time for self-improvement. My top three ways to take a break are meditation, drawing/writing, and going on a walk (I know, it's technically four, LOL). I'm reducing my allowed idle scrolling time to five minutes a day and my video game usage to an hour a day (especially when I have things I need to get done, which is most days).

Break Week Challenge

Do something new/refreshing/invigorating today or sometime in the next seven days! Bonus: Do something you love for thirty minutes to an hour!

I'm going to write and submit a story for a writing contest, which I've never done before, so that's exciting! For the bonus, I'm going to spend an hour on Inktober art since I finally have time to do it.

You can find all of these tidbits in video format on TikTok (@serenevibesreiki) and YouTube. The blog will update every Saturday and is about a week behind the live theme, so feel free to stay up-to-date through one of the video avenues! There's nothing wrong with preferring to read instead of watch, though, and I think it's helpful to be able to see it instead of having to listen.

Still stuck? Feel free to schedule a session with me to gain further clarity or enroll in a program to help you transform your life. It's okay if you don't know the perfect one for you- we'll work that out together.

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