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When is the last time you took a well-deserved break?Make sure to take the time and reward yourself here and there for time well served.
You know, the kind where you can completely escape from work, school, or any other stressors and focus completely on you? Maybe an even bigger question is do you even believe you deserve a break? In general, the American work ethic is defined by how much you push yourself to get it done at all costs. We value dedication, determination and are impressed when someone says they pulled an all-nighter or worked a 12 hour day. There’s nothing wrong with digging deep to meet a deadline, but for some of you this type of chaotic approach is all you know. What’s worse is you believe it’s the only way to be effective.
8 Ways to Put on the Brakes
- Breathe – your blood pressure, accelerated heart rate and lack of oxygen will thank you.
- Acknowledge – what you do is valuable, and not just what’s expected. I bet you can easily praise someone else for similar efforts and not even recognize it’s also what you do every day.
- Build a network – of family, friends, and neighbors. Swap babysitting for personal time or trade services to create a little downtime for you.
- Plan it or sneak it in – if you can, arrange it so the moment or day feels special. If that’s too much, grab 15 mins just for yourself.
- Change your daily habits – if you start your day a little earlier than you need to, it allows you an opportunity for guilt-free peace and quiet.
- Develop and practice down-time – introduce the concept to your family and be consistent about taking time to yourself. Don’t throw it out there in a heated moment; they’ll feel you’re running away from them rather than using it to recharge your battery.
- Simplify your life – by learning to say “no” to social engagements, friend requests, and even your own internal voice reminding you to clean the house or run errands.
- Make it a social thing – if you can’t justify personal time, then surely you can convince yourself spending time with a friend is important to maintain the relationship.
Why are Breaks Important?
Some people would argue taking time is a waste of time. How can you get anything done if you’re on a break? Ironically, breaks increase the effectiveness of your studying, increase your motivation level, and aid in helping you manage your time. What does this mean to you?
- effective studying = if you’re not brain-drained you’ll actually learn more in less time
- when you’re motivated you handle tasks with efficiency
- you stop looking at time as the enemy
A break doesn’t have to be scheduled for only significant milestones like graduation. Celebrate the end of a chapter or a recent test you feel pretty confident you aced. A well-planned “mini vacation” helps create a fresh perspective and recharge for the next big project. Whether it’s a day, a weekend or longer, regular breaks can be essential in avoiding burnout and maintaining motivation.