The True Power of Taking a Break

Jordan Brown

With what's going on in the world right now, it can feel like you're not allowed to take a break.

It can feel like you always need to be alert, always staying cautious and preparing at all times.

But that is problematic. That isn't leading a balanced life. That will only burn you out in the long run.

Even being hyper-alert without taking action can completely drain you of your energy.

You must learn how to take a break.

Not only that, you must learn to accept the true power of taking a break.

I Took a Break

I took a break of sorts yesterday. I've been writing and publishing a daily issue for The Mental Health Update for four and a half months. That's every day for four and a half months.

If you had told me that I would have done that when I started with this, I'm not sure I would have believed you. But writing turned into a daily habit, which turned into positive energy that kept me going through the ups and downs of life.

Still, there were times when it felt like a chore, and that's not ever how I want to feel while I'm doing something I love.

So I took a break. Yesterday was a day off. I didn't write a new issue.

Sure, I thought about mental health. I wrote about mental on Twitter and considered the implications of mental health throughout the day.

But I did not sit down and force myself to write an article. Because, after surveying my subscribers, I learned that you, too, were wanting a bit of a break to catch up with issues.

And that makes perfect sense. It demonstrates the power of taking a break.

The True Power of Taking a Break

What happens when you take a break? What happens when you let yourself drift off into a state of relaxation--a place of other-thinking-- where your mind can go off in a different direction?

Here's what happens when you take a break.

You start to see a new perspective. You begin to gain some space between what you were doing, what you are doing now, and what you could possibly be doing in the future. When you're always going, going, going, you can't tell the forest for the trees. You get stuck in the branches and the thickets of your mind forest.

Taking a break gives you space.

And it gives you an opportunity to fill that space with new thoughts and ways of being. Taking a break is not failure. It's not disappointment or rejection. It's a natural part of life. You work a little bit--and then you take a break.

Have you ever tried to force yourself to focus on something for hours at a time? It just doesn't work. You only have so much willpower in a day, and once it's gone--it's gone. But bursts of work followed by break bursts can turn your whole day around.

That's how it is for me, and that's how it is for all humans I know.

And the true power of taking a break?

It comes from full acceptance of that break. Once you are in break mode, be in break mode. Don't try to fit little side tasks into your break. Commit fully to the break. Most of us are hard on ourselves the majority of our waking existence. It's OK to turn it all of from time to time.

In fact, it's more than OK. It's how you sustain yourself. It's how you get ready for the next event, the next bit of action.

Taking action and taking a break go hand in hand.

You need one as much as you need the other--the two are inseparable.

Remember that, and you'll remember just how powerful breaks are--and just how powerful you are.