Take a break.

posted in: happiness 1

Organize your attitude #48

No matter how much we have to do, we all need to take breaks. Our bodies were not meant to be go-go-go all the time.

Sleep is crucial to our health, to our ability to go at all.

Meals are for us spiritually, culturally, relationally when taken sitting at a table rather than on the go.

Sleep and meals are the basic breaks built into the rhythm of our lives, and we’d do well to heed them and build upon them rather than ignore them and try to push passed them.

Build breaks into your day.

Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Each day has its duties, its tasks to be accomplished. There are children to parent – and that can’t be scheduled – towels to fold, phone calls to make, and any number of other things to be done.

Let the natural pit stops along the way be true breaks, and allow yourself to take a few minutes to visit with another when the opportunity arises.

Meals should be respites. Don’t just throw food at the kids. Put your own lunch on a plate and either sit with the children or pick up your own book while you eat rather than trying to do a hundred things between bites.

Bedtimes should be regular. It’s so easy to want to stay up long after the kids are in bed, because it’s quiet and there are no little eyes following our every move. But sleep is one of the most important kinds of breaks we take. It’s essential to our health and capacity. Find the right bedtime and waking time, and try to stick to the same rhythm – a rhythm that will regularly provide you with adequate sleep.

Even nature calling presents the possibility for a small break. Close – even lock – the door. Use the bathroom farthest from the action. Take deep breaths. Pray a quick prayer as you wash your hands before you return to the fray. There are seasons in the life of the mother where not even these times are alone times, but watch for the time when training can return privacy.

Keep a day of rest.

Better than small daily breaks, better than a vacation, is honoring the fourth commandment and taking Sunday as a day of rest.

On it, don’t worry about the laundry piles, even if you have to wash wet sheets. Don’t look at last week’s to do list and try to fit in just 5 more things or worry about crossing off the last annoying task.

If you really want a different kind of break, try keeping Sunday as a phone-free day. Perhaps calendars have to be consulted as you read the bulletin announcements or invite a friend over, or a recipe needs to be looked up, or you have to check for a text from someone needing a ride, but one kind of break that is good for us to take is a social-media, always-connected break, and the day of worship is a fitting day to shift our focus from our self-made worlds and live fully in God’s.

Pay attention to your breaks.

Sure, there are coffee breaks and water breaks and snack breaks. I have a child who always needs a drink and to use the bathroom whenever the words “Time to EHAP” are spoken.

Let us not be like that, taking breaks when we’re supposed to be digging in.

Sometimes, we have the opportunity for breaks but miss them not because we aren’t taking them, but because we don’t recognize them.

That quick morning walk? It’s a break as well as exercise.

That 2 minute bathroom break? Enjoy it like a break instead of mentally passing it over.

Often the time that we do take as breaks are not refreshing – or even noticed – because we aren’t paying attention and crediting them or enjoying them. Someone who is intentional and attentional about breaks will derive more rest and rejuvenation from less time than the person zoning out and not even realizing a break is being taken.

A change is as good as a break.

Your husband is washing the dishes or folding the laundry? Do it or another job alongside him and chat while you work. It is refreshment woven straight into work.

Have you been weeding and raking and doing physical labor outside? Maybe come in to make a phone call. Have you been doing things at the computer? Get up and take a walk or fold laundry or mop the floor. Changing our setting and our movements helps us feel lively again.

We can get more done in a more relaxed, cheerful, productive way if we alternate the sorts of tasks we do, not sticking at one long, tedious job well beyond when our attention and energy have given out.

When attention wanes and energy droops, before taking an extra break, try changing your task and doing something completely different.

In doing so, we might find that we require fewer breaks than we had previously assumed.

  1. Good points here! I’ve been “run ragged” in the last month because I’ve been up working late on a project each night and have developed a sleep deficit. I’ve always been bad about not having a consistent bedtime schedule, but I’m working on establishing one this week. Thanks for the reminder that we all need rest.

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