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It’s OK to take a break

October 19, 2021

Hello Friends,

I just returned from a few days away. If you’re like me, it feels like you pay a high price to take a vacation. You’re swamped with work prior, organizing kids, creating order in your home, and checking to be sure clients/patients will be ok. Then, after your return, you can anticipate hours of catch-up, returning emails, putting out fires, and diving back into work.

But you know what – it doesn’t matter as long as you have extended moments of relaxation and disconnect. For four days I went to bed when I was tired. I woke up when I was rested. I worked out as long as I wanted/needed and ate food that sounded yummy. I read books and felt the sun on my face. I had date nights and ate nachos with margaritas for lunch. It was glorious.

If I’m honest, I had a couple of meetings that could not be put off. And you know what? I showed up refreshed, recharged, and full of ideas. There was no resentment or fatigue. I was funny (I think!) and offered great ideas – it’s amazing how much more clearly we think and how we contribute when we’re not exhausted.

I know it can feel impossible to find the time. I know we can feel guilty to leave kids or co-workers behind. But I promise you – you’re a better partner, parent, co-worker, helper, provider, sibling, and friend if you take a break. We cannot continue to put off taking care of our mental and physical health. I know organizations are overwhelmed right now. I know the message is “we need you” and “we’re short-staffed.” You cannot help anyone if you are spread so thin that you are overwhelmed and exhausted every day.

So, maybe you don’t have a week to take off. Here’s what you can do:

  • In a week, get out of town – go somewhere that’s calling your name. For me, that means warm weather and sunshine. Or enjoy a staycation – explore your city/town with new eyes. Go to the museums and shops that have suffered during shutdowns and support local businesses.
  • In a few days, drive away – get out of cell service, visit a new town, spend a few days downtown, and site see in your own city. Camp, explore, hike. Try one new activity while you’re out that you’ve never done before. Pot throwing anyone?
  • In a day – drive somewhere for a beautiful hike. Spend the whole day watching TV or reading a book in bed. Order food in. Walk throughout your neighborhood and breathe. Don’t tell anyone…
  • In a half-day – turn off your phone for a few hours, garden or plant something that regenerates, tap into your creative brain through painting, sewing, or drawing. Explore a bookstore. Meet a friend for lunch. Go to the movies by yourself and eat the whole bucket of popcorn.
  • For an evening – make what YOU want for dinner. Have someone over in your backyard and listen to music. Call friends or family that you haven’t spoken to in a while. Disconnect from everyone and sit outside or read a book with a sign on your door that says, “do not disturb” for an hour.

 

We want to create a life that we don’t have to escape from AND at the same time, we all need breaks from the monotony and stress of it. It’s ok to take a break. It’s ok to ask someone to look over people you love or care for while you’re gone. Give yourself the compassion that you give others.

With kindness,

Dr. Amy

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