15 – It’s OK to take a break sometimes

Tune into Episode 15 – It’s OK to take a break sometimes right here in your browser, find it on your favourite platform (head here for the links) or keep reading for a transcript.

Hi hello and welcome to this episode of the Rules Are Made Up.

In this episode I want to talk about something that I’ve been noticing in my own life and we need to talk about it because we don’t talk about it often enough and ‘it’ is rest. Resting, taking a break, taking pause, just letting ourselves be, letting ourselves relax.

In my own personal life, I’m navigating quite a few things: I’ve got work, I’m coaching, I’m studying and if you’re new around here and this is the first time you’re listening, we recently introduced a puppy to our family, about 7 ish/8 weeks ago so he is very much top of the top of the list and the boss around here and as I was doing a check-in with one of my clients the other day I was realizing something.

Which is that I have not let myself rest lately, and I’m not talking about rest days from workouts or anything like really letting myself rest without doing anything, like purposefully not doing shit.

At the moment it feels like when I’m not studying, I’m working even for my employer or myself, when I’m not working, I’m playing with a puppy or studying like I’m always doing something and I’m sure a few of you can relate, right?

There’s always something to be done if it’s none, if it’s not work or the pets, all the children or whatever else there’s chores there’s, there’s always something that needs sorting out, that needs doing.

And while a lot of us, including myself, probably schedule time to be able to spend it with our loved ones or to maybe even try to have time to ourselves.

We probably don’t truly focus on that, right, we’re not truly present because either we’ve got shit going on in the back of our minds that is hard to turn off right, or even if we’re doing something together, like in our household some of our family time includes watching TV together, right watching series or a movie or something like that – and most of the time when we’re doing that, I am either on my phone scrolling or reading something, or I’m actually doing some back-end, not, you know, not really focus work, but I’m doing stuff for my business or I’m checking emails or I’m planning my week or I’m making some other kind of list or I’m writing content and I could just go on and on and on, right?

There’s always something to stay on top of something, to some due dates to be mindful of all those things and the other day I read, I think it was an article or maybe it was an Instagram post, I can’t remember, but I’ll try and find it and I’ll put the link in the show notes.

But anyway, in that article or whatever it was, it was a psychologist that talked about that humans can be divided into do 2 broad groups of people when it comes to how we navigate stress.

And a good chunk of us goes into overfunctioning mode when we get stressed and the other into under functioning.

And what that means is in overfunctioning, we literally just, you know, do all the things and we just need to keep staying busy and keep you know, “being productive”.  And if we’re underfunctioning, we literally it’s almost like the freeze response right?

We just like give up, we don’t want to do like we’re just like – eh what what’s the point?

I think we all know where we fall into, I’m sure you know by now, have figured out which camp I fall into – although according to that article, whatever I was reading, we can swing between both like it depends on context and the situation.

But because of this tendency to over function, most of the time – I don’t like taking breaks.

I don’t like to rest.

Because my brain is telling me – shit won’t get done if I take a break or if I decide to, you know, not do anything for the rest of the day.

Sometimes that is a good thing, right? Because if there are deadlines involved, or if I really need to get something done, it helps to keep pushing through. Not going to deny that, that is a very valid thing.

Like for example, recording this podcast right now, part of my brain was like “eh do you really need to do that?” but I’m like, “yeah, yeah, no, I do actually I do”.

But there’s probably other things that I’ve got on my list for today that I could reschedule if I wanted to, because it is time to call bullshit on the story that my brain is trying to tell me that I have to stay busy all. The. Time. That I cannot ever take a break, rest – because that… it’s just fucking bullshit. It’s fucking bullshit.

Because I do NOT have to be busy all the time. I do NOT have to prove productive all the time and neither do you.

OK, let me repeat this. You do not have to be productive 24/7!

Mean, for starters, we will sleep, right – so that’s a bit of a misnomer anyway, but you do not have to have all of your waking hours be geared towards something. Right, it’s OK to rest. It’s OK to take a break, no matter how freaking tiny and short it is, right?

It could be a fucking minute while you’re watching TV, to just put everything aside and literally just sit there, right?

It doesn’t have to be this big “Oh my God, you’re going to have a spa day” and you know like this mammoth thing, it can be as little and is basic (for lack of a better term) as you want.

You know, like how workouts or workout programs and specially the “good ones” – they have rest says built in right? You do not work out seven days a week.

Because that is how your body adapts, like how strength workouts work is that you break down your muscle fibers and then you rest which is how they rebuild themselves and recover, and then that’s how you get strong.

Right and even within maybe not necessarily most workouts broke, especially lifting kind of workouts.

You’ve got rest periods built-in, right? Like 90 seconds, 2 minutes. Heck if you’re like apparently or weightlifter and you’re lifting some serious some serious weight that period goes all the way up, right because it puts a strain on your body and you need to be able to recover from that before you go again.

And we all understand that concept of rest days and rest periods within workouts.

We cognitively understand it. Yet we do not seem to understand it when it comes to our brains, we don’t apply the same concept to our brains or just how we navigate life, right?

We think, well, maybe it’s you know we’re resting when we’re sleeping… True, but also that’s when your body is trying to do a lot of other stuff.

It’s OK to also rest outside of sleep. Right, I would argue actually, sometimes it is the best thing to do to purposely not do something, even though you know it kind of needs to get done, but to actually that that is how you can really embrace that it’s OK to take a break.

Because you don’t have to get to breaking point, or to burn out before you take a break yet so many of us, that’s exactly what happens because we just don’t, we don’t want to let ourselves take a break.

So for this week, I’m going to challenge myself to take more breaks. And it might look like a quick walk in between my meetings, or even just heading outside for a minute and you know, sitting in the sun or whatever, I will probably take some hot baths or jumping in our spa pool – but I’ll listen to music instead of the usual podcasts that I listen to you ’cause they’ll still get me thinking. Not that the point isn’t to not think but the point is to just focus on the present and be OK with taking a break and not having to try and still do multiple things at the same time, right?

And I think one thing that I’ll also experiment with is just sitting in silence and actually focusing on my breath slowing down my breathing to tell my brain and my nervous system that I’m safe. That it’s OK for me to take a break and to take some rest. And that I don’t have to be going at a 100 miles an hour 24 fucking 7 ALL THE TIME.

Maybe I’ll even cheat you some days off, maybe I’ll do that after my report is due though ’cause no due dates are important when you’re at university [laughs].

But I hope you get what I was trying to say in this episode, it went a bit all over the show it kind of feels like, but I do also have some homework for you this week if you are keen.

And if you are able to, because I do fully recognize that I do hold a bunch of privilege by being able to take breaks, right? Like if I got sick or whatever, I could literally take a sick day anytime. I work also for myself and I have control over what that schedule looks like, so again I can take breaks and I do acknowledge that not everyone is in the position to either do that because of their work situation, their financial situation or all your parents out there and I’m not just talking about the fur baby parents, but actual human parents – this may or may not apply to you, right?

Take from this what you need and if that is the fact that it’s OK if you sit on the toilet a minute longer and you just have a minute to yourself and you just focus on your breath for that minute or you do some box breathing for that minute.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s what rest and taking a break looks like for you, maybe it is letting yourself have a good five minute cry because everything feels fucking hard.

But it’s OK to have 5 minutes to let all the tears out and to then keep going again.

Whatever works for you, whatever taking a break or having a rest looks like for you, see where you can do that this week and wherever we connected – on LinkedIn or social media or whatever, I’d love to know what taking your break or getting some rest looked like for you this week.

Until next week, stay curious everyone.

Links for you:
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