Life is busy. Crazy cray busy. Between the constant repetition of work, family time, nurturing friendships, projects, birthday parties, fitness classes, grocery shopping etc, it’s easy to get caught up in the vortex of the “I-must-always-be-productive” mindset. I sometimes catch myself saying, “if it’s not in my Google calendar, it doesn’t exist” or “I wish there were more hours in the day.” What the eff is that?! For me, that’s a sign its time to unschedule, to turn off the phone, take a deep breath and de-clutter my brain. There comes a critical point when doing more doesn’t lead to more; happiness, success or productivity. That’s when it’s time for a break. Here are 6 signs you need to step away from the madness, for your own sanity!
1) You hate your alarm clock: When the sound of your alarm clock induces feelings of dread and anxiety, and all you want to do is stay in bed.
2) You can’t fall asleep at night: When your mind is spinning with all the tasks still left on your “to-do” list, sleep is slow to arrive. Restless, broken sleep and nightmares are also a sign that your mind is trying to cope with overload.
3) You’re on a short fuse: When everyone is irritating, no matter what they say. When you find yourself snappy and low on patience, it’s often a sign you’re coming to resent all the demands put on your time.
4) You avoid your fav things: When you find yourself skipping that yoga fusion class, brunch with the girls, and saying no to your good friend’s party because “you’re too tired”.
5) Your diet starts to unravel: You start eating food you know makes you feel like crap. When green smoothies become too much effort and you revert back to drive-thru bagels, life has gotten too crazy.
6) You mentally check out: You stop caring about the things that used to matter – you space out at work, flip mindlessly through TV channels at home and ignore messages from friends, all in the name of “downtime”.
So how can you give yourself the break you need, even if you don’t have any more vacation time? Try turning off your devices and explore a new part of your city, take a day trip, do a local weekend retreat, laugh at a comedy show, or plan something to look forward to.
Remember: if you sacrifice yourself to make others happy, you won’t have any meaningful energy, the energy that matters, left to share with those around you. Taking a real break and putting your needs first again is truly the best thing to do if you want to show up as your most powerful, productive self.