“‘I’m worried about you….”
My friend and peer said to me over a whatsapp exchange back in July.
“‘Can you be gentle with yourself? Can you slow down and take a proper break Shiv?”
Prior to my friend’s words, I had been talking with her about my plans with the kids for the summer, new work projects I was brewing, and how I was feeling in general.
She could read between the lines of what I was sharing (she’s an amazing coach as well as friend) and had the courage to speak up and say something….
Her loving yet firm words gave me the encouragement I really needed to finally listen and honour my body and FINALLY give myself permission to STOP for a while.
Up until that point I was go-go-going and whilst I took breaks here and there – I didn’t REALLY take a proper break.
Can you relate?
Do you struggle to give yourself longer pauses?
Honouring the cycles and seasons of our life and bodies isn’t always easy.
As women we wear many hats and have a lot to do. The productivity culture of the world we live in tells us to keep going.
Which leads to many of us feeling overwhelmed, burned out and stressed.
Even if we think we’re handling everything OK….the body can hold something completely different.
In taking a month off from blogging, pursuing new projects and actively moving things forward, I’ve instead focused on stepping away from anything new and instead focused on being really present with what really matters and what’s at the heart of what matters:
- family time
- meaningful in real life connections with people I love and enjoy spending time with
- coaching with the amazing clients I have the privilege of working with
- being in community with the incredible participants of the coaching school I teach at
I’ve learned A LOT this past month and I want to share them with you over on the blog this week as some of the lessons and benefits quite honestly surprised me….
If you need permission to take a solid break, or take a holiday or a deeper pause from pursuing anything new, this is a must read for you.
***Spoiler Alert: With this downtime, I’ve really been able to dive deep and play with my creativity…….with this time off, I’ve decided to press GO on launching a podcast which I’m super pumped about.***
Could I please ask a favour?
Could you please spare a few minutes to share with me your biggest challenges and desires around doing work you love, living life fully, navigating transitions? Basically all the things around womanhood, career and life? You can share more OVER HERE. Thank you soooo much!
Now into the blog post…
3 Unexpected Lessons Learned Taking An Extended Break
Before we dive in, I want to acknowledge that it’s not always easy or possible to take an extended break. Sometimes we gotta work, put in the extra hours, and do more.
If this is where you are right now, please honour that now is not the season to take an extended break BUT there will come a time when you need to properly rest and restore.
When that time comes, I encourage you to take it and give yourself the space you need. This is deeply important.
It can be so easy to default to just keeping on going but as I share in this blog post…there are reasons WHY we want to take extended breaks from time to time.
If you need a little convincing…read on 🙂
Unexpected Lesson #1:
Easier to identify what needs to go = more energy
With a focus on doing just the bare essentials in my work, I was able to step back and see what I didn’t miss or need to do anymore.
For me this the most obvious thing that needed to go was my habitual borderline obsessive checking of social media….
Because I wasn’t posting on Instagram or Facebook during this break, I was able to see what a time suck that it really was.
Social media would invariably take up more time than I expected. It would make me feel worse about myself. And felt like a “to-do” to keep up with and stay updated.
I deleted the Facebook and Instagram app off my phone (I’m just keeping FB messenger for where I sometimes receive messages).
I feel infinitely more happy and present.
My usual looping check in on whatsapp, email, instagram and facebook has been reduced just to whatsapp (and email when it’s essential) and I have infinitely more energy.
If I want to check on social media, I login from my laptop and make it a conscious thing. Going forward my plan is to do this with posting for my business too.
Unexpected Lesson #2: Problems were resolved on their own
Before I took a break, I felt like I had a list of “to-do’s” as long as my arm.
It felt like there were always a million problems to solve and my brain would be fried by the end of day.
When I took a break, a lot of problems didn’t need resolving (that’s always helpful).
But I found myself having more space and time to ponder the real and more important “problems” that I was facing.
1) actual dedicated time (which for me looks like journaling but could be time at the beach, in the garden, having a cup of coffee)
2) in between time – whilst getting groceries, having a shower, baking in the kitchen
Unexpected Lesson #3: Genuine gratitude and appreciation
With less distractions on all the “to-do’s” and “gotta get done’s” I was able to slow down a bit more. Not going to lie – this took a little time.
In those pauses, I was able to be more present and genuinely be grateful and appreciative.
In those spaces I realised:
- All the things I DO have, rather than what I DON’T.
- What MATTERS, rather than what I still feel that I NEED or WANT.
- The importance of real genuine connection and the gift of time (which social media and my phone is quick to take)
- Greater compassion for past mistakes or not being further along and deeper appreciation for where I am
I could go on…but in a nutshell: The break helped me spend more time reflecting on what’s really great.
And now over to you…
Some questions for you to ponder:
- Is it time for you to take an extended break?
- How can you plan for this and make it happen?
It’s not always possible to just stop, drop and take a break. Sometime we need time to coordinate. And that’s OK! The time is now.
A final note:
Personally, I thought that taking a break would set me back. Make me further behind on my goals. But the truth is, I feel more inspired, aligned and energised than before. I’m even more committed and excited about what’s next. And I’m 1000% grateful I took my friend’s advice and just took a blooming break.
Before you go:
Leave a comment and let me know which lesson surprised you the most? When will you take your extended break?
Remember there’s no one in the world who can do what you do, the way you do it.
P.S. With this downtime, I’ve really been able to dive deep and play with my creativity…….with this time off, I’ve decided to press GO on launching a podcast which I’m super pumped about.
Could I please ask a favour?
Could you please spare a few minutes to share with me your biggest challenges and desires around doing work you love, living life fully, navigating transitions? Basically all the things around womanhood, career and life? You can share more OVER HERE. Thank you sooo much!