It’s OK to take a break!

Published on
April 21, 2020
Time to read: 
Tea cup and saucer sitting on wooden table
Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels, an image of a china tea cup, on a rose coloured saucer, on a wooden table, with purple and white flowers to the right side.

A lot of people are finding it difficult to deal with the extra challenges that COVID-19 has sent our way.  For some it’s balancing “home-schooling” with working from home. For others it’s the added stress of not knowing if the job they’ve been laid off from will still be there when we reach our new normal. For high school and post secondary students it’s wondering what sort of jobs will be around, when and if they get to complete their education.

We’re living in a time of turmoil. It’s tough. I know people who are: scrambling to do things to help others like sewing masks, fundraising for charitable organizations that support the vulnerable in our communities, and struggling to keep their small businesses afloat.

One of the teachings I’ve embraced is that it’s important to take care of yourself. To look after your own mental and physical health needs rather than making sacrifices to help others. If we work so hard that we burn out, then we are of no help to our families, our communities or our organizations. That’s why good leaders everywhere are telling their teams to take care of themselves and their loved ones, to do the work they can from home, and that it’s OK if they’re not quite as “productive” as they would be working from the office. Having small children and pets pop into business video and phone conferences is becoming part of our new norm.

Some of us are out there putting their lives at risk to help the rest of us stay home and #FlattenTheCurve. These are the heroes keeping our society running, helping us feed our families, get medication, and performing other essential jobs. I am grateful for all that they do.

No matter what you’re doing to get through these times, I need to tell you something. It’s OK to take a break. It’s OK to go back to bed for a nap, or to sleep in. It’s OK to stop sewing facemasks for a day to rest and refresh yourself before carrying on. It’s OK to grab a shower after a long shift, grab a bite to eat, and then collapse into bed for some much-needed sleep.

It’s OK to feed yourself and the others in your household simple meals. It’s OK to enjoy a few moments of introspection rather than doing your normal exercise routine. It’s OK to reminisce over a photo album rather than creating another visually stunning Facebook ad for your business. It’s OK to listen to a podcast before answering another job posting. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself.

If you, and the others living in your household are safe and fed, it’s OK if they haven’t had their nightly bath, or spent hours submitting resumes to potential employers. It’s OK if your teens wake up at noon, and do their homework between 9 pm and midnight.

I set myself a goal of writing and publishing a weekly blog each Monday. Yesterday I took the morning off. I thought about what I wanted to write but the words weren’t flowing. I did some other “productive” things that were in my calendar and on my to do list, a few were “work” related, most were in support of my volunteer roles, like the virtual Foodbank Board meeting last night. I didn’t write my blog.

This morning I woke up early, ate breakfast, and sat at my laptop. I was tired, and unmotivated. After telling two people on Facebook to take care of themselves I decided to take my own advice and laid down on the couch for a nap. I woke up at 9 am and felt better. I started with a few household chores, then sat at my desk and responded to email.

​I noticed I was still logged into Facebook and spent a few moments sharing what I’d done yesterday and this morning with Carole, a high school friend. That’s when I realized what my blog should be about this week.

I gave myself a break. Please, take care of yourself, and allow yourself to take a break too.