Why We Need to Take Time Off
Taking time off.
Since moving to the US, this is a conversation topic that’s come back often: among my husband’s French colleagues who don’t dare take their holidays (5 weeks(!!)) because no one around can take them; on social media with fellow entrepreneurs who don’t feel like they’re working (we are); with other fellow entrepreneurs who see others working hard and feel like they have to ‘hustle’ and never stop, too.
Over the past 7 weeks, I’ve been writing every week about a specific chakra (link to category: chakras explained). It’s challenged me both creatively & mentally as I set myself a goal to read 50+ pages of a dense book on each of the chakras every week… And come up with a topic that would both start what I believe is a necessary conversation and present said chakra (for example, discussing negative self-talk to introduce the heart chakra).
It was a self-imposed goal, the first time I set myself a creative challenge and the first time I realized I was going to go on a bit of a crazy journey (clearly, I didn’t know what I was in for).
And because no one was there to keep me accountable for that, apart from you avid readers of course, I often wondered if I should keep writing the word of the week every single week… Maybe I could just postpone the chakra of the week for next week? Once the chakra series was over, maybe I could decide to write every second week?
And then immense guilt kicked in.
But will I still look professional?
What does that say about my commitment?
How can I call myself a writer if I don’t write every week?
What will people think I do if I don’t put in the work to write the word of the week, just go on a writing holiday?
How will people see me if I take time off?
But who am I kidding, I don’t honestly think people don’t have the time to think about my professionalism when it comes to my writing. Besides, if someone came up to me sharing a similar inner battle, I’d reassure them and told them that if time off was what they felt they needed, then they should definitely go ahead.
As always, the person who’s hardest on you is
none other than… you.
One thing I’ve learned through writing heavy pieces like the past 7 is that I need to improve my organizational skills (guilty) if I don’t want to enter in panic when by Thursday I haven’t started reading about a topic that needs to be reflected on before I can write anything that’ll make sense.
But more than being organized, I need to make more space for resting… Which I did in the past. It seems like becoming my own boss has made me amnesiac and all of a sudden I need to be the ‘hustler’ and workaholic I’ve never (ever) been.
So why should we make space for resting, you ask?
Resting is a part of the creative process and a huge element for determining whether that piece of writing will be the one that needs to come out of my fingers and mind.
But science also says it: taking time off clears your mind, helps you be more productive, and that’s when creative flashes of inspiration can hit without you doing anything (like magic!). It also (and more importantly) helps you see clearly between what matters and what doesn’t: your friendships, love relationships, hobbies and all the things that feed your soul and that, simply put, make you happy.
When you’re resting, you’re storing energy.
You know how in cartoons, before attacking or putting others under a curse, a character makes a ball shape with their hands (a bit like the lotus mudra) and attracts the energy around and their hands fill up with light? The moment before the intensity, that’s the storing of energy.
How does that sound to get rid of guilt,
and all the (supposedly valid) reasons why you
shouldn’t take time off?
If you’ve been taught or told that taking time off is ‘wrong’ or something that ‘we don’t do’, then I invite you to think. How would you feel if you allowed yourself the opportunity to rest, to unplug, to simply be and let your mind wander? What impact would it have on your daily and overall well-being?