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Welcome to my island of sanity and serenity. I'm Sandra Pawula - writer, mindfulness teacher and advocate of ease. I help deep thinking, heart-centered people find greater ease — emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Curious? Read On!

Breaks: The Best Way to Avoid Stress and Exhaustion

Sleeping Lion I teach one or two online courses each season, write on my blog, connect and share on social media, and learn via the internet.  That’s a big chunk of time online.  Sometimes, all the connectivity becomes too much for me.

Whether you're working online or off, overworking leads to burnout.

I’m relatively good at taking breaks, easing stress, and meditating regularly, but I still hit my edge at times.  I'd like to share what I've learned and continue to learn so you can avoid burnout too.

Know Your Warning Signs of Burnout

We're all very different when it comes to the signs of burnout, but these are the ones that appear for me, and sing out "danger" loud and clear:

  • I suddenly feel like I want to hide in a cave, and never see the internet ever again.
  • I close my computer and warn others I want to be left alone.
  • If they don’t leave me alone, I become thorny.  I know, very enlightened!  I’m less thorny than ever, but it can still happen.

You need to know and heed your own warning signs so you don’t keep going and burn out.  If you don't, your body steps up the game to get your attention.  Here are just some of the signs that indicate stress may be overtaking your life:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Gut distress
  • Feeling agitated, frustrated, or moody
  • Aches and pains
  • Inability to focus
  • Worry
  • Forgetfulness

What are your warning signs that it’s time for a break?

Short Breaks Mean More Ease

As a preventative measure, be sure you take regular, short breaks.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Hugging your partner and saying, "I love you"
  • Sitting in the sun
  • Eating a healthy snack like an apple
  • Taking a bath
  • Putting your hands on your chest or belly and feeling the breath flow in and out
  • Practicing mindfulness meditation
  • Playing with your dog; petting your cat
  • Taking a walk
  • Chatting with a friend
  • Exercising
  • Enjoying a cup of tea
  • Looking out the window

Take 5 minutes every hour.  Or 20 minutes to really rejuvenate.  Or a mix of both.  And, don't forget that lovely lunch hour.  They must have called it an "hour" for a reason! Experiment and find out what works for you.

Do you take regular breaks?  What are your favorite breaks?

When You Need a Bigger Break

Even when I take regular, short breaks and the weekends off, I sometimes still get to the “it’s all too much” level, especially after a long project.  When that happens I need a bigger break:  1 or 2 days off.

I definitely listen to the call, and enjoy simply being or mindless activities for awhile, like:

  • Indulging in quiet
  • Sleeping
  • Meditating more than usual
  • Catching up on the small practical things that I’ve put to the side like scheduling a dental appointment or decluttering
  • Engaging in what enriches me like reading a few chapters in a book, visioning an element of my business, or journaling

If you don’t want to burnout for good, it’s important to take a bigger break when you’ve reached your edge, or at the end of an intensive project.

Do you take bigger breaks?  What do you do during a bigger break?

Is There Something Blocking You from Taking a Break?

If you’re not able to pause for a short break or take a few days off, chances are something deeper is keeping your nose to the grindstone.  And, this could really lead you to ill health or burnout if left interrupted.  Could it be:

  • Perfectionism
  • Feeling driven to meet other people’s expectations
  • Fear in one of its many forms:  insecurity, fear of the future, financial fear, fear of loss, etc.
  • Competitiveness
  • The need for affirmation
  • Busyness

Or another long-held habit or belief?

If that’s the case, the first step is to recognized where the blockage is.  This could feel painful at first, but it’s so very worth it to be honest with yourself.  We all have challenging patterns so you're not alone.  And, you'll feel so much better when you start to break the habit apart.

Once you know the challenge, you can begin to undo it bit by bit.  These articles will help you understand how to change deceptive brain messages, and employ willpower to make a positive change.

Start small.  Just try out a 5-minute break at first.

Objections may arise in your mind like being too busy. Tell yourself:  “I really do have time for a break.  It will actually help me be more productive and stay focused.  Working non-stop will only decrease my effectiveness and dampen my spirit.”

Whatever the objection, create a positive antidote of your own.

Falling into your bed exhausted every night is no way to live.  You deserve to take relaxing and rejuvenating breaks  Breaks are one of the best ways to ease your stress, and jump start your joy.  Are you ready to begin?

Where do you stand when it comes to taking breaks?  Have you been chained to your work, or do you release yourself now and then?

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, SandraSaveSave

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