Today, I gave myself permission to take a break. A real break where I wasn’t focused on or thinking about work, or what I needed to get done.
For as long as I can remember, I never felt like I could fully relax. My breaks were spent procrastinating while doing mindless activities such as scrolling through social media and the internet. In the back of my mind, I was listing everything on my to-do list, all at once, circling round and round. I didn’t write down, plan how to do, or schedule my tasks on my to-do list. I just sat there procrastinating, hiding, and avoiding them.
I never declared that I was taking a break or put a break on my calendar. I never gave myself permission to take a break. I certainly never gave myself permission to take a break, shut off the worry and fully immerse myself in the experience.
Last night, I made a plan to take a break today. First, I would do some daily chores and then I would go with my family and a family friend to a bakery on the East side of Detroit called Sister Pie and splurge on some tasty pies and cookies.
I had heard Sister Pie had great pies and cookies but I was especially interested in it because of its history. The owner of Sister Pie began her pie baking business in her parent’s home in 2012 and grew it into a wildly successful business in a relatively abandoned part of Detroit. One eager intern contributed to its success, working tirelessly in the early years and becoming manager down the road. I know it wasn’t easy for them to do the work and it took a long time…but they did it and that inspires me.
I made sure throughout my scheduled break to stay present as we drove into Detroit, parked and walked into the pie shop. We were greeted with yummy smells and a delightful array of pies, cookies and more behind the counter. There were so many unusual choices that there was no way I could have chosen one thing. So we bought a whole box full of treats to take home and try. Of course, we couldn’t wait till we got home so we started munching in the car on the way.
Not once during that break did I worry about what I wasn’t doing…or wasn’t doing right. My heart wasn’t pounding in my chest and I could actually taste the cookies and pies and be discerning about what I liked the best. I’ll admit, I did shovel the delectables in just a bit. Everything was so good. I enjoyed the time I spent with the people I was with and I even laughed a little.
Before today, I never realized I had never given myself permission to take a break. When I sat down to write this blog, I didn’t need to procrastinate to get my break. I was able to be more focused and the words came to me more easily than I remember.
We live in such a fast-paced world where we seem to judge people when they are lazy and give kudos for their accomplishments. From now on, I am going to make sure that I give myself permission to take a break, schedule it on my calendar and focus on being present so that I actually reap the benefits of the break. I’m going to let go of any attachment I might have about being lazy or not accomplishing enough and I’m going to give myself kudos for having the awareness that my scheduled breaks are extremely valuable to my well-being.