The Joy of Taking a Break – Exhale For Your Mental Health

taking a break

In our lives, we have tasks that we need to complete to be successful. We have projects and deadlines at work. We have papers to write for class. We have skills that we’re trying to strengthen, like learning a new language or playing an instrument. We put our heart and soul into accomplishing these tasks and reaching our goals, yet we forget that taking a break is a necessary step in the process.

I first learned about the joy of taking a break when I was in high school. I was working on my final paper and had already spent five continuous hours researching, reading, editing, and staring at a screen. I turned in my first draft, which I had written all at once, and my teacher wrote on it, “take a break. I can tell you didn’t since your ideas don’t make any sense after page three”.

I was confused. I had spent so much time and put so much effort into this paper, and she’s telling me it doesn’t make sense? So on draft two, I wrote until my eyes hurt and my brain felt like mush, and then I went for dinner with my friends.

Surprisingly, when I came back from dinner and started working on my paper, I felt more motivated to work and more aware of the feedback my teacher had given me. I needed to take a break to be able to see what I couldn’t before.

Taking a break allows you to have a fresh perspective, not just on your papers. When you’re too involved in a project or relationship or even on social media, you begin to have a stagnant mindset: you don’t see what’s right in front of you.

Especially with social media, we can feel the urge to post or compare ourselves to others, which can radiate some toxic vibes. Take a break to reset and refresh your mind.

taking a break

We also increase our happiness levels when we take a break. It’s incredibly straining to work at the same maxed out pace the whole time you work; it wears you down mentally and physically. It’s okay, and healthy, to take a break from anything you’re putting 100% energy into, from projects to developing skills to relationships.

Avoid burnout and watch that movie you want to. Go to that restaurant. Go for that run. Do anything that will get you out of the world of work and make you happy.

We feel guilty for taking a break since we don’t feel productive, but in actuality, that reset period where we watch a show on Netflix or go for a run makes us more productive. You’ll come back to whatever you’re working on with enthusiasm and a new mindset, which will help you get more work done than when you were just slaving away without taking that five minute coffee break.

If you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, take a break. It’s absolutely okay to just escape from the world around you and take some “you” time. The joy of taking a break is that you get to decide when you’re taking it and what you’ll do on your break. Find some stress management tips here as well.

Also published on Medium.