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How to (Effectively) Take a Break

Yesterday, I took a day off from my day job. I had recognized in the week prior that I was starting to show the signs of being overworked: anxiety, over-thinking, fatigue, the appearance of little gnomes after work with signs that only I could see that said things like, ‘FAIL.’

I believe in super effective days off. Many people might say, ‘Why would you plan on what to do on a day off that’s not already being taken off for a specific reason?’ And let me start by saying that I have no problem with the idea of a crazy-go-nuts free day. You want to just do nothing and stay in bed all day watching Netflix? Hey, man, go for it. Sounds like a good time.

For me, however, if I don’t have some sort of plan, I find myself falling over my own feet when I take time away from my day job. Here are some pointers that are particularly helpful for me in getting the most of my time off:

1. Make a list: I don’t look at this as a to-do list. Instead, this is an AWESOME list. Often, I make a list of *all* the things I want to do, from singing and dancing to watching certain shows I’ve been meaning to get caught up on to actually cleaning my office. Then, I check things off as I go. It keeps me aware of the ‘whys’ around my reasoning for not working that day.

2. Get dressed: remember when I mentioned a while back that whole ‘put your bra on’ thing? That counts on days off too. My PJs are great, but often times if I stay in them all day I end up looking at some point and wondering if I’ve actually done anything at that point, because my headspace is still sort of post-pillow.

3. Take care of yourself while treating yourself: there was a time when I used to insist on sleeping in on my days off and competing to see how many times I could incorporate chocolate into my meals. Yeah, that always sounded good, but then I found that I was spending a portion of my day off feeling…not good. And that went into the next day, too. So be good to yourself. Just not too good.

4. Don’t overcommit: it’s easy to believe that you can get anything and everything done while riding that beautiful free-day unicorn. But most of the time, that’s not going to work out for you. Use your list from #1 but just remember to be realistic. Which brings us to #5…

5. Relax: it’s your day off. If it doesn’t work out like you originally planned, it won’t be your last free period. Learn and move on. Love your life. You only get one. I dare you.

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