Time to Take a Break: Why Escaping Reality is important
Written by: The Bat
The workload is piling up, you have a list of things that need to get done and you are super stressed out. You are staring at the list and wondering which thing to tackle next, and each one seems more insurmountable than the last. What should you do?
Take a Break!
I know it seems counterintuitive, but personal experience, psychological studies and the internet have told me that taking an escape from reality is one of the best ways to help you conquer the challenges that reality brings on. Stepping away from the work and the issues that you are trying to conquer can actually help clear the fog in your brain and help you go back to them refreshed and energized.
Dragon: Don’t forget the “reasonable” element in “Taking a break.” Although if you are considering what some might call unreasonable then please seek out help. Sometimes there are bigger issues there, sometimes underlying things we don’t realize at first.
What do you do with it?
But what type of breaks and escapes should you take? While not everyone has to watch a horror movie or scream at a haunt like me, almost all of the experts agree that you should find something that is a step away from what you are stressing about. It should also be something that brings you peace and joy. Unless you like gardening, stepping away from doing the dishes to mow the lawn probably won’t make you feel like you have escaped from the reality of your messy house. However, deciding that letting the housework rest for a couple of hours and losing yourself in a book or a movie or going to an escape room with your family or friends can allow you to start over refreshed afterward. (Experts also say that a mind-sharpening or mood-boosting activity can help, as well as an active one. Two more points for escape rooms.)
Don’t have time for that? Give yourself something to look forward to!
If you don’t have time to actually go play a room or watch a movie, possibly even preparing for a future event can be a fun break. Go do some research for that upcoming vacation, find the perfect escape room, and send out some invites via text or social media, so your companions can answer when they can. Or research the movies in theaters and figure out who would want to go with. Don’t want to get dressed and go out? Pull up your streaming services and pick what to watch after work that night. That way you can control the break time, still let your mind escape for a bit, and have the happy feeling of a future event to carry you through the rest of your work.
Another fun fact. You can plan for your breaks ahead of time. If you assess your stress level at the beginning of the day, or even the week. Depending on how your life is going, you can plan micro-breaks or fun events for when you will need them most.
Big presentation due Friday? Plan to finish the initial write-up by Wednesday or Thursday, so you can give yourself a few hours to do something fun. Then go back to finish the final edits with fresh eyes. (By the way, taking a break before you edit something is a very good habit to get into. The Dragon told me this and she is sooo right. She ended up writing an article about it for her own blog.)
Little breaks can be planned too! Do you know you have a call with a difficult customer? Schedule it right before lunch so you have time to decompress. Or do it in reverse, schedule for before a time you want to be sharp and ready. Maybe a Starbucks treat before that big presentation, for example, with some good music on your headphones.
Only You can Decide When and How to Escape!
While your close friends and family can probably tell if you are super stressed out, you are the only one that can truly decide when you need self-care. Cause that is what a break truly is, a form of self-care. If you think you’ll spend the whole movie thinking about that unfinished article, then maybe finish the first draft with a planned break right after. Or if someone wants (but not needs) you to finish a task and you are just too stressed or tired, be firm with them and insist on putting yourself first.
And of course, pick your own escapes! (Of course, sometimes they are more fun if shared, but that is your choice). Just because your kids think you should spend your whole afternoon learning about Ninjago doesn’t mean that will relax you at all! Tell them to go play with their legos and open a good book! Your escape is and should be yours!