Today, I want to talk about something close to my heart: the importance of taking a break.
You might be asking. “What happened that made this guy talk about rest all of a sudden?”
Well… you see, I recently made the decision to make the most out of my time while I’m relatively young by taking a gap year:a grace period you take between high school and college. Kind of like being a bachelor, but for your education status. This usually lasts for a whole year, so it goes without asking that you need to have some sort of plan during your gap year.
Sure, I’ve had tons of plans. I have things on my list, like:applying for an internship, seeking out lots of varying experience, writing more songs (I’m a songwriter), make the best music yet, working with people more for audio-visual projects, learning how to cook, look for a nice college to settle in…
I’ve got a lot of things I wanted sorted out.
But there’s one thing I’ve put on top of the list to make sure I make the most out of this gap year: “Remember to take it easy and enjoy.”
A lot of adults were flabbergasted with my decision. Dismayed, even. Those adults include my parents, which I really love with all my heart. I actually understand why they would feel that way: they think I’m stopping school to take a lifetime vacation, and live off of a high school diploma.
This is the farthest misconception that mankind has given me so far. You can bet your life savings that I was confused when they explained why they detest my idea.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to explain why I took a gap year. I’m here to explain why taking a break helps.
If anything, I understood that my parents loved me enough to tell me they didn’t like the idea. Heck, even their officemates didn’t like me taking a gap year! (This helped me understand how I should explain to adults: clearly.)
But sometimes, the break you need the most wouldn’t make sense to most people. You rest because you need it, not because they do.
So how could you rest, and how does resting help?
Steps That Could Help You Ease Up
Now, before anything else, I want to clear up one thing: for me, resting is not an anti-stress method. I don’t think stress should be antagonized to an extreme, because stress is actually a good thing for our daily routine. An excess of it, however, is unhealthy. My definition of ‘taking a break’ is, simply put, a method which could help us recuperate from tiredness, and helps us handle stress better. If you’re looking for stress help, maybe you should consult an expert.
Again, this may not be for everyone. But maybe some of this could help you.
1. You Grind the Hustle to A Halt
One thing that resting could help with is walking you through a process of focus – including the focus to stop what you’re doing. Taking a break could be simple as that. It could be as essential as dropping everything and doing nothing. Or it could be as being in a state where your mind is blank and you feel at peace, even for a moment. Sometimes, people keep themselves pre-occupied to an extreme in order to produce as much as they can. As a result, the stress their body (and mind) takes on is huge.
If you feel like you’re drowning with work you’ve been doing or the priorities you’ve committed to, maybe all you need is to stop and clear your head, whether you take 5 minutes or 5 days.
2. You See What Worked and What Didn’t
Evaluating what you’ve been doing is a big, important factor of rest. You could take as many break as you want, and still be burned out each and every time you get back to your grind.
At the end of the day, it boils down to your priorities.
Is what you’re doing helping at all with what you want? Maybe why you’ve been feeling burned out and stressed is because you’ve been taking on the wrong priorities. In this grace period called a ‘break’, you can see how you can make the most out of your todays and tomorrows by doing what works and dropping what doesn’t.
3. You Take What You Need
Do you need a day-long coffee break on a weekend? A vacation to your closest mall to window shop? Or is it a post-work hour movie marathon? Whatever you think could help, take it.
People often forget to have fun with what they do.Remember to be honest with yourself. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing now, one thing you could ask yourself is “how can I make the most out of what I have?” Yup, ‘making the most out of it’ includes having fun. You can’t see the value of what you do if you don’t value what you do. I guess this is what taking what you need means: to get your groove back.
4. You See Things That Matter – Big and Small
I’m against the idea that things that matter should be big. I mean, it’s good that you recognize that big things matter. But I really believe that if you see and appreciate even the smallest things that matter, you’re a step closer to being a person that is happy.
The same applies for rests and breaks. You can’t always afford to hop on a plane on the way to another country just because you’re overworked, especially if you can’t afford to take a break. So after taking what you need and doing what works, you get a clearer picture of what could help you get closer to your goal – big and small steps.
And oh, being grateful helps in seeing small and big things that matters. Trust me on that.
5. You Take One Step Back to Take Ten Steps Forward
I think this is the biggest thing for a break: you see things in a wider, clearer perspective when you step back. If you feel like you can’t step forward anymore, take a step back. It gives you an advantage of a familiar first step, and in turn, you’ll be more confident in taking the next step, and then the next. With that one step backwards, you have all the time you need to plan the next ten steps.
And all it takes is a shift in perspective.
Speaking of perspectives… you really have to make a shift in how you see things. You could either see rest as a blessing, or a curse. You can take all the breaks you need and still feel horrible, and maybe it’s because you worry about tomorrow too much in today. Maybe it’s that, maybe it’s not. Who knows? (Hint: it’s you.)
I basically learned all of these by experience in the middle of my current gap year. (That’s right, folks. I pushed for it!) I knew that all the opportunities I can take today won’t be there when I wake up tomorrow. This is the only time I could make something like a gap year count.
If it weren’t for that, maybe I would’ve rushed my decision in picking a school to study in and missed out on my dream school in disguise. Maybe I would run out of time getting to know the people I’ve yet to meet because the academe requires my full attention. Maybe I wouldn’t be pushing for making better art. Maybe I would’ve let my circumstances cripple me if I hadn’t taken this break.
I’m not endorsing the idea of a gap year, but what I am endorsing is the idea that the rest we need isn’t for everybody else. I recognize that you would be crazy to take a gap year, but I knew how to make it count, and I’m still making it count.
What I plead is that whether this article helped you or not, make the break you take count, too.