Everyone needs to take a break sometimes. Yet, many people leave their vacation time unused because they are afraid that responsibilities will only pile up. Some people are always checking things on their to-do lists, but the list doesn’t seem to end day by day. And at-home parents who have little kids and no vacation time – can easily experience burnout. They have kids to take care of, meals to cook, clothes to wash, bills to pay, and the list goes on.
If you can relate, you have to take a break. Sometimes, taking time out can feel selfish and unproductive, but the truth is, without self-care, you’re not giving yourself a chance to give your best for every aspect of your life. If you don’t take care of your own needs first, you will find yourself burnt out and struggling before you know it. To live a truly happy and productive life, you have to give yourself a break from time to time.
Benefits of Having a Time Out
Giving yourself space from the demands of life can bring many rewards, such as:
- Reduced stress
- Rest for the mind and body
- Clearer thinking
- Increased productivity
- More stable emotions and fewer outbursts
How to Take a Break
Finding time to focus on your self-care can be difficult at first, especially as work and family life demands don’t stop. Often, scheduling time before you need it can help to ensure you won’t skimp on it.
If you need to take a break, you have lots of options. Here are a few ways to do so:
Go on a vacation.
A vacation is a real break, and taking a few days (or even weeks) off is important than many people realize. It doesn’t have to be far or in a popular touristy place – just search for an area where you can relax and chill.
The key to vacation with the intention of taking a time out and rest is to prioritize rest and recreation when you go. When you’re there, don’t overbook yourself with tourist activities or bring so much work with you that by the time you return home, you need a home vacation from your actual vacation. While going on a vacation may take some effort – as it will involve planning, packing, booking, budgeting, etc. – the health, well-being benefits, memories, and experience that you’ll gain will make up for these costs.
Have a staycation.
A staycation is becoming more and more popular, especially as people nowadays have a greater need to take a break, but with fewer means to take a full-blown vacation or an exotic trip. Going on a staycation is all about rest and relaxation and enjoying home – a place where you’re often too busy and stressed to really enjoy. Resist checking your office email, cleaning the house, or dealing with your regular responsibilities. Make it a point to rest at home.
While at home, you can even have a PlayStation – which is focused more on having fun! Have a game night with your family and play classic social games or board games together. Play some sports in the backyard. Take the time to play with your little kids, because before you know it, they have already grown up.
But if you’re a housewife or a remote worker who wants to take a break from being at home, you can go to a hotel or a glamping site to make it easier not to let work and responsibilities creep in.
Take short breaks.
Sometimes you just need to take a break from anything that causes stress long enough to disrupt the body’s stress response cycle. Then you can get back into action. Give yourself grace and take a quick break. Walk outside and take some time outdoors to breathe fresh air. Enjoy a movie, go to an ice cream shop, take a bike ride, or even have a five-minute meditation session.
Have a night to yourself.
Try to have certain weeknights just for you. Even if it’s just for a few hours, if others ask you to do things during those nights, tell them you have plans. Use the time for reading, exercising, watching movies, bingeing on TV shows, thinking, meditating, or the ultimate luxury of doing nothing!
Hire a babysitter.
Plan a day or a night so you can make time for yourself, and hire a babysitter you trust who can watch your children once a month or once a week. Take it a step further and make that a date night or a time when you can participate in a class or a hobby.
For busy people, it can be hard to make time for exercise, but it’s important to do so. It’s not just good for the body – it helps the whole being. New habits can be started with just one step. For instance, if you walk for 20 minutes in the morning, build on that success daily. Vary how you spend that time – for some days, you can listen to music, podcast, or simply thinking and daydreaming. But if you’re exercising for a while and usually listen to something, try to go without any input for a change and let your mind wander.
Treat yourself at least once a month.
Schedule a treat for yourself once a month. It could be on a weekend, lunch break, or leaving work early. Perhaps you can get a spa treatment, see a movie, get a haircut or a new mani/pedi, play golf or tennis, splurge at the mall, try a new restaurant, or whatever you’re always thinking about but rarely ever do. Schedule it in at least a month to make sure nothing gets in the way of that time.
Buy tickets in advance.
Buy tickets for a concert, baseball game, theater production, or any other event you would be interested in. Having tickets already in hand way in advance will force you to book them in your schedule and make it happen!
Leave work on time.
Many people stay at work late regularly. But this is the simplest thing you can do when you are craving personal time. If this happens to you a lot, make it a point to leave work exactly on time at least once a week, if not more. Then, enjoy that time by seeing an old friend or participating in your favorite hobby – not for taking extra responsibilities, whether at home or anywhere.
Join a group.
Joining a group or a club that revolves around a common interest of yours is a great way to socialize while you take care of yourself. It can be a book club, a bird-watching group, a breastfeeding mothers group, a photography club, a home bakers club, or a church group. It can be anything that helps you feel rejuvenated.
Instead of driving yourself, let someone else do the driving by commuting via public transportation. Use that time to plan your day or do some reading, writing, thinking, daydreaming, or even meditation. You can’t do these things if you’re busy behind the wheels.
Arrange to babysit with friends.
If you have a friend or group of friends with kids, arrange to share a babysitting service a few times a month so that you and others in the group can get some time alone.