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Three benefits from taking a break

3 reasons to take a break as an activist

We are not machines. I know you know this, but it bears repeating. We’re bombarded with messages about how to be more productive, do more with less, optimize our lives -- but we aren’t machines! We don’t run through perfectly coded processes that can be easily optimized with a few clicks of some buttons. We are messy, complex, organic humans. We have needs, and one of those is rest. Studies repeatedly show that when we push ourselves past our limits, our performance degrades. We need to rest; we need to practice self care; we need to recognize our humanity. 

When we're working hard to change our lives or change the world, it can feel like we can't stop. There's so much work to do! Who will do it if we stop! But we have to think bigger and realize that we're in this for the long haul. It's a marathon; not a sprint. You'll serve yourself and your communities better by taking a break to recharge before we keep going.

 Here are a few ways you’re likely to benefit from giving yourself a break:

  • You’ll come back with better ideas. We can’t get water from an empty well. Taking a break gives us time to refill ourselves, and we’ll find that we come back with a fresh mind and better ideas. (Consider how you’ll get great ideas in the shower after you’ve let your mind go quiet.) 
  • You’ll gain a better perspective on things. When we’re super stressed and frazzled, it’s hard to get a sense of perspective between things going on in our lives. We might find ourselves just as upset at the little things as the big things. We’re too tired to regulate our emotions and tell the difference. This doesn’t help us (or the people around us we might be getting upset with!) Getting a break lets us come back with a clear head, and we’ll often find that we’re much more easily able to tell what really matters. 
  • You’ll be able to keep going. We all need breaks. Denying that doesn’t change the fact. If we persist in not taking breaks, we will become less and less effective in doing our work and in living our best lives. So if you want to keep showing up as your best self, you have to take a break and recharge. Otherwise you’re likely to just hit a wall and realize you can’t keep showing up, whether you want to or not. Proactively taking breaks will ensure you don’t get there. 

  • It can be hard to give ourselves breaks in a world that is so “go go go,” but just like anything, it is a practice. The more you practice, the easier and more natural it will become. 

    Is it hard for you to take breaks? What do you do when you're taking a break? Let me know in the comments 💜

    Ways to avoid burnout as an activist

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