Taking a break – How easy is it for you?
It may be that, like me, you actually don’t find it easy to take a break.
When I was a full time employment law solicitor I used to struggle because it was hard to fit in holidays or days off. Time used to whizz by, and trying to get clear weeks between all the tribunal deadlines and urgent matters was a challenge. It was also stressful. If I took time off, it usually meant longer hours and high levels of anxiety organising everything before I went away, and I knew that much of what had come up, whilst I was away, was waiting for me when I got back.
I also began to suffer from a deep lack of confidence. On the surface I was fine, and despite there being no evidence to support my concerns, I used to worry about what might happen when I was away. What if someone complained, or I had made a mistake, and I wasn’t there to defend myself or deal with it? I used to work whilst I was away to keep on top of everything. Over time, taking a break was also a worry for me since the dread, associated with going back to work, got worse.
There were many reasons for why this all came to pass, and in the end I decided that being a full time employment solicitor wasn’t for me. The very nature of the work was that sometimes I would take time off, and suddenly a Tribunal had cancelled a hearing, the other side made new demands, or some other urgent matter had come up. All thoughts of relaxation, or plans, were out of the window, and I was dealing with work. Eventually I felt I had had enough of litigation work, which was intrinsically reactive. I had also always had a passion for personal development (of myself and others) and hadn’t had the opportunity to do as much of that as I had wanted.
However, during all of that time, I always felt I had earned any break, so the question of entitlement never came up.
All that changed when I started my new businesses. The combination of working at home, changing my working hours, and the fact that I was doing business development or administrative work, versus client delivery work, meant I suddenly felt that I hadn’t ‘earned’ a break. Today I noticed that this view was still lingering.
This morning I realised that I need to let go of the belief that I need to ‘earn’ a break. By this, for me, I mean working consistently long hours (or working non-traditional hours), pushing myself to the point of almost exhaustion, or carrying the guilt of taking time out to do something for me on a working day (and still take the weekend off). I appear to think of a break as a reward.
At one point I even considered completing a holiday request form to myself, to alleviate the guilt. My logic being that I would then be giving myself permission, and recording the number of days holiday I do take. I may still do this, as it could be a useful tool to start an initial shift of this block.
If any of this resonates with you, then feel feel to join me in dropping the guilt, and dropping the idea that we need to earn our breaks by some sort of level of tiredness. Time to enjoy breaks simply for what they are, an opportunity to enjoy all areas of life, and take them for the sheer fun of doing so.
How good would it feel, how much lightness would there be, if you felt free to take a break?
One Life.Your Life.Live It
Simona is a professional leadership trainer, coach and speaker, working with motivated individuals to create successful professional lives and purposeful personal lives. Her focus is on mindset and strategy.
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