Most of us are busy with our lives – our work, our personal lives, our domestic chores. If not in the real world, we are busy on our phones, our social networks, our virtual world.
It’s good to be busy; it’s a way to keep your mind and body active. But, what if that mode of perpetual busy-ness turns into an endless, at times a pointless race? When staying productive becomes the only parameter for measuring success, and taking a break means wasting time, dragging along, or a loss in revenue?
- Are you feeling exhausted with your daily routine?
- Do you consider taking a rest break will hamper your to-do list?
- Do you feel guilty for chatting with a friend in the middle of a super-busy workday?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes, you are not alone!
The hustle culture we live in propagates even celebrates this “reality” – where being in a continuous state of flux is desirable, being charged-up is looked up to, being productive is equal to top performance.
In short, busy-ness deserves high status, and taking a pause is equated to laziness or a lack of persistence.
Why do we need to pause?
This may sound absurd, but stopping can actually help one to move forward!
Things are happening at such a rapid pace around and within us; anxiety levels are rising; energy levels are dipping; pausing in certain situations is now a necessity for preserving our physical strength and inner peace. Else, our body may not give us the option when we badly need one.
Take a pause, when in doubt.
Take a pause, when you are angry.
Take a pause, when you are delivering less than your best.
Take a pause, when you are tired.
Take a pause, when you are stressed.
Take a pause, when you are under the weather.
Take a pause, even when you are doing fine!
We can take a cue from these real-life examples – a sportsperson needs to rest to get in form for the next game, a doctor has to relax before performing the next surgery, an employee must upskill to move up the corporate ladder.
Hence, a pause is crucial to reflect, recharge, refocus and finally, resume!
How to pause?
The type, length, and frequency of the pause depend on one’s personal working habits and lifestyle.
Make sure to take a breather every day, compulsorily. Extended breaks are mandated when you‘re drained out, have been feeling unwell, or are grieving and require emotional healing.
These are some ways in which I hit my pause button:
- Writing – I find solace in writing. It’s my go-to zone to express myself, it takes my mind off things.
- Watching a movie or reading a book – indulging in a hobby to relieve one’s stress.
- Shopping – Enthuses and excites me though but only some times.
- Catching up with a friend – hanging out with friends, reliving memories.
- Taking a vacation – a change of scenery to relax self and rejuvenate the mind.
- Sleeping in – a cat nap in the noon or a good night sleep works wonders on a fatigued mind/body.
- Spending time with self – you don’t need to be surrounded by people always, me-time is necessary for reflection and relaxing, undisturbed.
- Meditation – practicing yoga and meditation to remain in the present moment provides me a fulfilling experience every time. In fact, a simple exercise of watching your breath can bring instant calm to a hyperactive mind.
Sharing a personal experience when I hit the pause button!
I had 2 decades of Human Resources experience when I thought of taking a career sabbatical. People around me, including colleagues and family, were both surprised and shocked. It wasn’t that I was unhappy or in need of a change; it just felt I’d completed a circle in my career, and it was time to do something else. What that something was, I wasn’t sure but completing my MA (English) was definitely on the cards.
Finally, I quit the company I was an integral part of for 14 years to spend time with myself and my family. It was, no doubt, a tough choice to make considering I was performing well, and the pay was good, yet what I learned in the last few years, I couldn’t have achieved with a full-time assignment.
I successfully completed my MA and went on to do a creative writing course to spur me into writing. Within 2 years of my break, my former company called me for a freelance writing assignment; I accepted, thinking the timing was just right to explore my passion further.
This has been the most fulfilling phase of my life. It gave me an opportunity to dabble in writing while being able to spend quality time with my daughter, who’s growing up so fast. I could focus on her all-around development other than academics. It gives me boundless joy to find her motivated, enthusiastic about the activities I engage her in, reading is one of them.
The phase has taught me to live life in the moment; very unlike my earlier self, I‘d let things unfold organically. I don’t regret leaving my full-time job. In fact, taking this break to reflect, recalibrate and rediscover myself turned out to be one of the best decisions I took in my life.
Life is whizzing past us, to savour each moment fully, hit the pause button, intermittently – you’ll probably find a brand-new version of yourself when you decide to restart!