In the era of hustle culture, toxic productivity and seeing everyone’s filtered accomplishments on social media, it’s tough to take a break. As wonderful as it would be to be Superwoman, have a time-turner to maximize the number of hours in a day and have a dozen arms to juggle a million tasks you need to do, in reality, we all need a break every now and then.
The influence of toxic productivity sometimes even seeps into our break time. I find myself thinking about how I can make the most of my break. Should I deep clean my room while listening to a science and technology audiobook to maximize how productive my break is? Or should I take reply to all my pending emails and finish all my extracurricular tasks during my break from school work so I can tick off the items on my to-do list? When I scheduled these tasks as my “break” I find myself being drained and just as exhausted as I was before the break. Of course, every person finds different things relaxing, so these examples might be your optimal break. But for me, the issue was not being present during the break — I wasn’t able to detach from my never-ending to-do list.
Now I am more intentional with my breaks. For example, if I want to spend my break period reading a book. I don’t try to complete my course readings, but instead, I opt for a sci-fi fiction that I’ve been meaning to read. Your breaks are not supposed to be productive, they should be a time where you can rest, relax, and recover, and, ideally they should be enjoyable. Try to change up your environment when taking a break, so you are not reminded of work. You may also consider changing your phone to do not disturb when you’re scheduled for “me time.” If you would like to hear more advice from the experts, I would recommend the book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily and Amelia Nagoski.
In our fast-paced environment where we are constantly pushed to achieve more and more, it is extremely important to prioritize your mental health. Take Simone Biles for example, a four-time Olympic medalist who decided to opt out of a gymnastics competition to prioritize her own physical and mental well-being. Take this blog as your reminder to take a nice, long intentional break today! You can either plan out a fun activity, take a nap or literally do nothing, whatever floats your boat. Friendly reminder that you deserve a break and doing nothing is in fact productive if that’s what helps your rest.