We are constantly reminded of the degree to which we all work hard. In Western culture it is common to hear people talking about how many hours they spend working. To this note, we are seen as less productive or lazy when we think in terms of how long it has been without work. My recommendation is to start taking time for yourself. It seems we need to take a break in order to “work” on us. However, I am proposing that you take two different kinds of breaks. First, personal development breaks are always important to me. Second, everyone should make time for a “disconnect” kind of break.
Personal Development breaks are a necessity for me, personally. I am of the mindset that if I’m not growing then I am failing. I frequently read books on development and use daily e-mail lists to help me in this adventure. Additionally, if you have never done this, it certainly helps to run through some kind of test to identify your personal strengths. This could be something like the test offered by VIA Institute of Character and will provide you some insight into where your strengths lie. Next identify what you would like to improve on and then begin to seek out sources for this improvement. This may require some creativity, but there are books available on nearly any topic you can think of. However, books are not your only resource available. Think of people in your life that exhibit the qualities that you are interested in. Reach out to them and ask for their help, or maybe take them out for lunch/coffee.
In this blog, I have mentioned the importance of developing your team. If you have not started fostering relationships with potential mentors then I say there is no time like the present. I have multiple people in my life that I can call on for a mentoring session, and some of them are the best people I could ever hope to have in my life. You may already be able to think of some, and maybe you could reach out to them right now. Finish reading my blog first, please.
The second break, a disconnect, is something that is also very important. We live in an extremely connected world, and I know that I benefit quite well from opportunities where I can shut my phone off. This is further enhanced when I have no electronics around at all. Makes me miss the days when I went camping. This may be too drastic of a step for some of you, and that is okay. Baby steps will get there, and it can be as small as starting with 15 minutes of your day where you step away from your computer and phone and go do something else. For those of you working in jobs that are less relaxed on this idea, you still get a 15-minute break during your shift. You can use this opportunity to walk around outside, or find a spot where you won’t be interrupted. Allow yourself to just stare off into space, or watch the world around you.
There are so many times where we stress over not getting work done, but we sometimes do this at the expense of our own health. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and without attention and care, we all suffer. Take a break for you, on your terms, and then get back into your work feeling a little more energized and that much more in control of your life.