“I just need a break.”
Have you ever said these words to yourself only to continue doing whatever it is you needed a break from? Work, obligations, stress; it adds up. Lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with all of the things I keep telling myself I “have” to do. So much so that I realized that because of that stress, I wasn’t actually getting anything done. I needed a mental break and I decided to take one. In fact, I’m still taking that break and I’m going to extend it for the rest of 2017.
Taking time off can mean many different things to many different people. I am a habitual worker. I don’t feel daily purpose without a job to do. So needless to say, people sometimes look at me perplexed when I say I’m “taking a break” but still working. That said, this mental break will mean that the work I take on for the rest of the year will be on my own terms; and that includes Happily Audrey. I’ll continue writing but it may be weekly or even monthly. The posts I share from here out will be meaningful and evoke conversation around topics I find myself discussing with friends, family and colleagues. Style and beauty will also have a place but in an effort to bring greater quality to my posts, they’ll be written with the same thought and purpose as my more personal articles. No more pressure to post three times a week for the sake of posting three times a week.
When I decided to take a break, I told myself I just needed a week or two. Those two weeks have passed and I realized I approached my “break” with the same stress as I do my daily life. “During these two weeks you’re going to do all of the things you’ve been putting off because of work.” Really, Audrey? That’s not how a mental break works. Now, I’m giving myself more time off and putting my mental break into actual motion. Here are the four ways I plan to make the most of the rest of this year and get back on track.
Our daily lives are filled with distractions and with everything happening in the world, those distractions aren’t always good ones. The newsie in me usually loves when I get pushed a headline notification but lately I grow more anxious with every ping from my phone. Between the news, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (don’t even get me started on Instagram) and every click-bait video that pops up in my feed, I find it easier to get distracted with each mindless scroll. I love social media but it has become a burden for distraction and that’s something I want to eliminate. I have no intention of giving up social media entirely, but I am taking steps to regulate how much time I spend scrolling so I can spend more time doing.
Another distraction I’m eliminating is expectation. This is definitely a mental flaw of mine where I expect everyone else in my life to prioritize me the way I prioritize them. (Show of hands: Who else can relate?) This is not only ridiculous and impossible but it also results in me spending more time feeling disappointed and frustrated than time feeling positive and motivated. I’ve always said you can never control the behaviors of others but you can control yourself. Time to take my own advice and focus on me and my personal goals and interests. I’ll always have time for friends but it’s time to put myself first. I feel like this sounds familiar… Have I said it before? 😉
Make Time For Meditation
Meditation is a practice I have always said I would make time for but quite honestly, never have. I also use the term “make time” rather than “find time” for an equal purpose: I have to make time for the things that are important to me. If I continue to wait for the time to present itself, it never will. People make time for the things they want and can’t seem to find time for the things they don’t want to do. Dedicating time every day for an hour or ten minutes to meditation will help me become a more focused and motivated person. I plan to use meditation to clear my mind of daily distractions and set forth the changes I want to see in myself moving forward.
Lately, my priorities have been all out of whack. There are just so many things I want to do and then I convince myself that I can do them all in a single day. This typically results in me only partially completing anything and often times leaving those projects incomplete. This is not a habit I like to have but it’s become one and I’m ready to fix it.
I graduated from university in 2008, which means I entered the workforce during the worst economic recession of our generation. Multi-tasking was a skill you had to have to not only get ahead but get the job, period. That mindset is still true today but when it comes to this mental break, I’m taking it one priority at a time. It’s time to train myself to slow down and think of my actions with purpose rather than efficiency.
Do What Makes Me Happy
Happiness has become such a loaded topic and everyone seems to have the key to achieving it. Since my blog is called Happily Audrey I’ve even had people ask me if I ever have unhappy days and I’m like… Of course I have unhappy days. Have you read my blog? That’s why I named my blog what I did; because happiness takes work and the way I achieve that happiness changes everyday because I change everyday.
With this break there’s one question I’m going to ask myself before I take on anything new: Will this make me happy? If the answer is yes, I’ll think it through. If the answer is no, it’s not worth the time. Sure, we all have to do things we don’t want to do in life but when it comes to the choices you can make, make sure you’re doing things because it will make you a better, happier person in the end and not because you feel obligated to do so.
Sometimes I worry that these types of posts can come off negative or even discouraging. By admitting I’m struggling must mean there’s something wrong with me and in today’s picture-perfect blogger society, it’s easier than ever to set unrealistic expectations for oneself. My entire purpose in giving life to my mental and emotional challenges is to shine light on the fact that I, like you, am far from perfect; and sometimes, we all just need a break. Have you ever felt this way or overcome something similar? I’d love to hear anything that’s worked for you in the past and how you’ve grown from it.
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