Take a Break

I’m on the final day of a week-long vacation (or holiday, if you like). We booked the trip less than a week before it began, so it was also a bit of a surprise. It felt like one of those things I needed to do, and not something I wanted to do. In fact, I didn’t really want to do it at all—too busy, not time for that. However, within 24 hours of being away from my routine, I knew it was the right move.

This winter has been cold, dark, and wet for me—three things I like to avoid. It has also been a stressful and disappointing one. I have been overwhelmed by work, family health issues, and frequent reminders that humans are imperfect beings. I was unable to take a single day off during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season, a period that is on my “do not touch” list because I know how important extended breaks are for health and well-being. Everyone else came back rested and rejuvenated. I was exhausted and disgruntled.

And, because almost all of my work right now requires a high level of sustained creative energy (versus more task oriented activities like project management or execution), my productivity took a major hit in January. I spun my tires for three weeks on something that should have taken only a couple of days. I was in a funk and things were slipping. I needed to make a change.

I’m really glad that I took this trip. It gave me what I was looking for—a break from the routine, some much needed-rest, warm sun and air on my face, peace and quiet, and most importantly, a chance to connect deeply with my family. I’m feeling great and am ready to come home. I have some incredible projects that are waiting for me, and now I’m ready to tackle them from a place of enthusiasm and clarity.

I’m sharing these reflections not because they are particularly illuminating or original, but because there may be one or two people out there that are getting to their own breaking point. My hope is they will see this and it will push them in the direction of self care.

Remember, if you are feeling overwhelmed by a mountain of work in front of you, the most effective way of getting through it all is often not by plowing ahead—it’s by taking a step back, recharging your batteries, and bringing a fresh perspective to the challenge ahead of you. Sometimes you just need to take a break.