I have been called a workaholic. I was not sure if that was a compliment or insult. I just didn’t feel like taking a break. I was raised from the perspective of one life, one job, one income. That’s why I thought that if I worked really, really hard then I would be rewarded.
What makes you want to work all the time and not prioritize breaks? Some of it comes from being a perfectionist where everything has to line up. Some of it comes from imposter syndrome so people don’t think you don’t know stuff. Most of it just comes from not learning to step away.
Recently, when I saw some of the posts on LinkedIn talking about not glamourizing the long hours and not taking breaks, did I realize that being called a workaholic was not a compliment. Burnout is real. I know I felt it myself but I never knew that’s how it’s called. Maybe it was the mom in me always doing something. Or maybe it’s the woman of color in me that did not want to look like I was slacking, even though I was not.
Maybe it was the lack of mentors and sponsors who could have advised me. Whatever it was, it was not good. After seeing people at work/friends under the age of 50 literally fall at their desks of heart attacks and die, I realized that life is short. The work will never stop, money cannot buy you good health or happiness and you got to have fun otherwise what is the point of it all?
Seeing death at close quarters can change a person. I know. It changed me. I realized I cannot wait for what I want in life, I had to go get it myself. Once I hit that realization, my perspective changed.
I wanted to do things now and not wait for the perfect moment, to make changes instead of waiting for others to change. I needed to take a chance on myself and trust my own instincts instead of someone else telling me what to do. And I wanted to take breaks when I wanted to take breaks. So, when I got an opportunity to get away for 24 hours and be in nature, I jumped at it.
It was a truly rejuvenating experience, like a meditation. The mind slowed, the hustle-bustle of crazy deadlines faded. Sleep comes quickly and deeply, and all I hear are the sounds of nature. What I also realized is a short break away brings you back with more ideas and creative juices.
Some of the things that you can do to take a break include:
- Going outside
- Take a breath of fresh air
- Get exercise
- Take the time to literally stop and smell the roses
- Sleep in to feel rested
- Make yourself a healthy meal
The more we normalize discussions about depression, anxiety, and mental health, the easier it will be for us to not feel guilty to take a break. And we’ll realize that being called a workaholic may actually not be a good thing.
Think somebody in your life might need to learn how to take a break? Share this on Facebook and help your friends out!
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Malini Sarma © 2021