Do you need a break from life? Does it feel like you are always on the go with no time for yourself? Are you struggling to know what you need because life is too overwhelming right now? You’re not alone.
There’s not a person in the world who doesn’t need a break from life at times, including me. The difficulty comes when you’re trying to figure out when you’re going to have time for the break you need.
That’s the hard part because if you had time when you need, then there wouldn’t be a problem. The other difficulty when you need a break from life is knowing what you need for yourself if you get the break.
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Need a Break from Life
Before I tell you the signs to recognize when you need a break, I want to first explain how to understand what your needs are so that you can meet them when you’re in need of a break. As a psychotherapist, I am often asking my clients, “What do you need?”
Typically, the answer is “I don’t even know.” They know they need a break, but if they get it then they don’t know what to do with it. If you relate to this, my post Struggling to Get Your Needs Met will help you.
As with just about everything I write, I will use a recent example of myself to help you identify your needs. The past few months have been the most chaotic, stressful, and busiest months I’ve ever had in my life.
Almost every aspect of my life got flipped upside down. I had multiple employees who had to leave my practice, while also preparing for three new employees to start. My husband got laid off. I had to take over all of the billing for my practice, which was a total nightmare due to how messed up things were from the person who was not doing her job.
Unmet Emotional Needs
My mind, body, and soul were screaming, “I need a break!” I was working twelve to thirteen hours a day, seven days a week. It took me a while to settle into the chaos to listen to that scream and take action.
I didn’t think I had time to pay attention to my needs for the first few weeks. Does that sound familiar to you? Have there been times, or even years, when you felt like your needs had to be put on hold?
How did/does that work out for you? I’d be willing to be that you had/have unmet emotional needs that are being buried because you don’t think you have time to acknowledge them.
That was the case for me for the first few weeks of the chaos. I am typically pretty good and recognizing what I need and getting my emotional needs met. However, life got so crazy that it was like I forgot that I needed to take care of myself.
Well, guess what happened? My body responded to my stress and shut down. I got a terrible stomach virus that knocked me out for a few days.
There’s not a person I know who has not had that happen. We have all fallen victim to the “I don’t have time to be sick” struggle. If you know what you need AND give that to yourself, most of the time your body isn’t going to force you to slow down. You’ll stay healthy usually.
So, what are your needs that you ignore when you need a break from life? Mine are extra sleep, connection with others, listening to or watching something that has nothing to do with my life, feeling heard, and time to relax.
Most of those are unmet emotional needs. As I’m sitting here and writing this, I just realized that most of those unmet emotional needs are the same ones I had from my childhood.
That’s what happens when we have unmet emotional needs from childhood that we never learn how to meet. They follow us right on into adulthood and continue not being met, especially in times of stress. If that sounds familiar to you, read my post Emotionally Needy? (Emotional Needs of Children Aren’t Met).
What You Need When Life Is Too Much
Now, back to identifying what your needs are when you need a break. Do you ever ask yourself what you need? Probably not. Most of us are never taught to identify our needs. We just continue ignoring the fact that we even have needs, for the most part.
The needs I said I needed are usually the same needs everyone has when they need a break from life. It is human nature to need connection with others. We all need adequate sleep. We all need to feel heard. We all need to step out of our life from time to time to give our minds a break.
If you don’t think you have any of those needs, I want to ask you to reconsider because you are probably wrong. Now, we are all different and have needs that may vary, but those needs I named are typically the ones that are often not met.
Typically, most people function on autopilot just to survive and don’t take breaks. When we get to that point, we have missed the early signs that we need a break from life. The key is to recognize the signs early on, identify your needs, and get them met in healthy ways.
5 Signs You Need a Break from Life:
- You wake up tired and/or feel tired throughout the day.
- You can’t remember the last time you enjoyed something.
- You don’t want to be around others or talk to others at all.
- You struggle to know where your time goes.
- You think you don’t have time to take a break.
Our minds and bodies work together. When one doesn’t rest, the other will suffer. When you are spending all day running non-stop, your body often doesn’t know how to do its job of fully resting while sleeping.
That’s why you wake up tired and/or feel tired throughout the day. That is your body giving you a sign that you need a break from life. You aren’t taking care of yourself and it’s like your body forgets how to do that too.
During the first few weeks of the chaos for me, I don’t think I did anything that was fun or enjoyable for myself. I told myself that I didn’t have time. That was not true. I chose not to take time to have fun when that is what I needed more than anything.
Many people struggle with this sign because they think that having fun has to be a grand event that consumes a lot of time. That is not the case and I’ll give you a little more guidance on that in a bit. For now, just know that you ALWAYS have time for fun if you choose to create the time.
Connection with Others and Time Flying
Now, if you read Sign Number Three and you’re an introvert, please know that it still applies to you. If you find that you want to completely isolate yourself for more than a couple of days, recognize that you need connection with others.
It doesn’t have to be a social outing or a huge event. For me, it’s having a phone call with a good friend of mine. It doesn’t even have to be a long conversation. Figure out what works for you, but please don’t dismiss this sign when you notice that you don’t want to be around or talk to others.
Let’s look at the next sign. How often do you get to the end of your day and can’t figure out where your time went. Do you sit and think about all of the things that you didn’t get done and wonder what exactly you did do?
Struggling to remember where your time goes each day is a sure-fire sign that you need a break from life. It’s like you were so busy that your mind was on autopilot, and you don’t even know what you were doing. You just know you were busy doing stuff.
The final sign that you need a break is the biggest and most important one for me. Yes, life can get chaotic and crazy, but you always have time to take a break.
Your break doesn’t have to be for half a day or even a couple of hours. That’s amazing if that long of a break can happen, but it’s not always possible. Be realistic.
So, take a break for a small amount of time. Even if it’s just ten minutes, take the break! Go outside, eat a tasty snack, listen to a few of your favorite songs, call a friend, or even lay down for a few moments.
Again, we all can create time when we need a break from life. Most of us just don’t do it. It took me a few weeks to recognize the signs before I was able to create breaks for myself. That’s okay if that happens because you’ll probably recognize it sooner next time.
Use Your Time Wisely
If you’re like me, you can be a little stubborn and ignore the signs. That’s why I got sick. However, it was just a lesson to me that I need to recognize the signs more quickly and take the breaks my mind, body, and soul need. Be kind and loving to yourself if that happens.
I gave you the 5 Signs You Need a Break from Life for you to be aware of, but I want to talk about how to use your time wisely. When your time is very limited, you need to be very intentional about how you use it.
There are things you do throughout your day that you can use as breaks. Might be too much information, but I use my time in the bathroom for a short break. I’ll turn on a song I love while I’m in there just doing my business. That fires off my “feel good” hormones to shift out of the chaos for a moment.
When I’m driving, even if it’s a short drive, I will pay close attention to things I typically don’t notice. For example, there’s a house outside my neighborhood that always has a bunch of flags up.
I’ve never paid much attention to them, until I needed to create a break for myself while I was driving. Please know I am also making sure I am driving safely when I do this! What I noticed about the house was that they change those flags out often depending on the season or I suppose, whatever strikes them. Now, I will be more aware when passing and get a mini break.
Breaks Can be Peaceful Trips Down Memory Lane
Recently when I was taking another break while driving, I noticed a really cool tree. It took me back to a fond childhood memory with my brother. There was a tree in our neighborhood that had a huge opening where we created our “Clubhouse.”
I had a lot of childhood trauma, and our “Clubhouse” was how I took breaks when it all got to be too much for me at home. The older we get, the less time we have for breaks, but the need for those breaks is often larger.
My mind needed that little break from a happy memory! We all need little breaks with happy memories, but we just have to allow ourselves a few moments to get them.
When you use your time wisely, you never know what you might gain from it. I had not thought about happy childhood memories in a long time because there just aren’t that many I remember. Now, every time I pass that tree, I will get another little break with a happy memory.
Relaxing and Short Exercise When You Need a Break
I have another tip to use your time wisely. This is an exercise that I do that gives me a break and resets my mind and body every time I do it.
I close my eyes and imagine a white light shining above my head. I envision that light slowly pouring down my head, face, jaw, and all the way down my body.
It slows my breath and my mind. Not only that, but it also relaxes my body. There are times when my mind starts wandering off to all of the things I need to get done.
When that happens, I just refocus and imagine that light coming right back to whatever body part I was on when my mind wandered. This exercise also works wonderfully to help you get to sleep. When I do it, I usually don’t get beyond my shoulders before I am asleep.
I have been using that exercise for many years. So, it may take you a bit of time to get there. It’s also great to get yourself back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night.
You don’t have to use this just for sleeping though. You can pause during the middle of your day to do it. This exercise can take just a few minutes or a lot longer if you want or need it.
I promise that you have time to take a few breaks throughout your day if you use your time wisely and recognize the signs that you need a break early enough before it bites you in the @**!
This site is only intended for people who are truly willing to look at themselves with an open mind and have the ability to truly be vulnerable with themselves and others. Please understand that this site is in NO WAY THERAPEUTIC ADVICE. However, this site can be very beneficial in learning the causes of your Not Good Enough Stuff. This site is not intended to provide or replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Mary Beth HIGHLY RECOMMENDS finding a licensed therapist to help you process the information from this site and all that you learn about yourself. Visit Psychology Today to find a licensed therapist in your area.