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Go ahead and take a break

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

I think that sometimes in life, it is difficult for some of us to be OK with taking a break. We don't want to feel as though we are being lazy, we concern ourselves with others' expectations of us, and many times we are just plain too hard on ourselves.

We care about what we do and how we do it and so we spend a lot of time working to get things just right. Helping others and being all that we believe we should be in the many roles we occupy as mother, father, teacher, son, daughter, friend, partner, wife, husband, person of religious faith, boss, leader, the oldest child, the youngest child, the mediator, etc. consumes our lives.

It is like you are the star player in the game of your life and with that role there is enormous pressure for you to be "on" at all times. Not only do you draw up your own plays to execute, but you are constantly trying to execute the plays others want you to run.

How exhausting that must be.

Give yourself permission to take a timeout. Sit on the sidelines for a bit and just catch your breath. It is OK to need a timeout from being in any of the many roles you may have. While you may not see that as a possibility for yourself, I would like for you to think about an alternative possibility. That possibility is that you become so overwhelmed and burned out that you are not even being the best that you can be in the roles you are so desperately trying to occupy.

Without taking a timeout and taking care of yourself, you cannot be any good to anyone else. It is simply not possible to give the best of yourself, even to the people and things you love, when you haven't given the best to yourself.

Exhaustion doesn't only affect your body; it affects your mind as well. You can feel tired and worn down from the effects of mental exhaustion just as you would from physical exhaustion. Once you realize that this is the case, you can begin to pay attention to signs that you need a timeout.

Because of the connection that exists between mind and body, what you experience in your mind is likely to manifest itself in or through your body and vice versa. Your mind and body are strong and resilient. They can take a lot, and it is easy to continue on and on ignoring your need for a break and denying yourself a timeout. So, then it is up to you to schedule regular timeouts so you can keep things in balance as opposed to waiting until you are at the brink of burnout or worse.

It is not always easy to take time off from being the star player, but a part of being the star is knowing how to make good decisions that includes knowing when you need to come out of the game and knowing how to use your teammates. As crazy as it probably sounds, you do not have to always be "on." Learn how to enlist the help of others in your life so that you can allow yourself to be "off." You'll be better for it when you're ready to get back to it.

Go ahead ... take a timeout.

Be encouraged.

Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at ln_dunn@yahoo.com.