I am notoriously bad at relaxing. Ask my husband, he will tell you. I blame it on years and years of go-go-go. Starting from a young age, I was up every morning at 4am to go to practice in a cold and lonely ice rink. I still remember getting dressed for practice the night before, so my mom could put me in the car and let me get an extra 30 minutes of sleep during the journey there. Bleary eyed, weary, and often frigid, I would awaken to a day that was filled with to-dos from the moment I opened my eyes, to when I would pass out (usually on my schoolbooks) in the evening. For a long time, this is the only life I knew.
As I grew older, I found comfort in the hustle. Even when I stopped skating, I never knew how to do just one thing. School and job, sometimes two jobs. Then I moved onto two or three jobs. I didn't know how to say no. And any moment that was still or silent meant I could have been doing something else.
And then, I had my son.
It is amazing what having to meet the needs of another human being does to your psyche. To your sense of time and space. And all of it not because of obligation, but born of love and commitment to a tiny creature who depends on you for all things. It wasn't until he came into my life that I started to appreciate what it meant to truly stop. To slow down. To learn how to just be in a moment without feeling like I had to be somewhere else.
Now, as a busy working mom to a busy almost 6 year old, I've learned that taking time out - not once in a while, not two weeks out of the year, not only on the weekends - but every single day is not only essential for well-being, but also for my ability to do anything else well. These breaks come in the form of lunchtime yoga classes, playing a few rounds of Mario Kart and getting beaten badly by my two best guys, or just sitting down at my desk with my monitor closed sipping a cup of blooming Peach Momotaro tea. I quit coffee a few weeks ago. And in case you're wondering, I'm still managing to get stuff done.
Breaks, sleep, rejuvenation, and time away from our to-do lists is a essential for maintaining optimal performance and staying at the top of your game. But why is it that we feel guilty about taking a time out? Why do we set goals for accomplishments, but not for breaks?
What can you do today to take a time out? What changes might you notice?