How To Give Yourself A Break

Sometimes, it feels like the only speed we modern humans are allowed to travel at is 1 billion miles per hour. 

The art of being busy isn't necessarily on par with being productive. Having so much to do that you can't find a moment to call your mom back or take your dog for a walk around the block is honestly the fakest news we ever tried to fake. 

No one is *that* busy. Filling up our calendars with seemingly important tasks is just another way we stroke our own egos. Our time is so valuable that there is literally none to spare — and especially not enough for a nap (even though we all could probably use one). 


As it turns out, Americans tend to see busyness as a status symbol. Somewhere down the line, we stopped looking up to luxury cars and designer handbags and started idolizing the hustlers; the seemingly self-made entrepreneurs chasing the dream and living on an IV of coffee. 

Researchers at Columbia University found that people who talk about their "hustle" are more relatable than people who talk about their downtime, even if they're in the same socioeconomic circle. 

That means that people are more likely to talk about being busy then they are taking a break because working till your head pops off is more socially acceptable than taking an afternoon siesta. 

All of this information is just giving me more and more reasons to move to Spain, but, I digress. 

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Despite all the research that proves working harder and longer doesn't guarantee results any faster, we still put in those long hours. And really, we're only doing it to impress our Instagram friends who are #hustlegoals and to make us feel better about ourselves. 

Even though we're not necessarily achieving anything, it still feels good to work hard, right? 

Uh, no. 

As a person who has never really had a realistic sense of what they can or cannot handle, I've often found myself in situations were I overcommitted. Too many jobs, too many social plans, too many writing projects; it all sounded good in an ideal world where I had 56 hours to give, but alas I didn't. So I always burned out. 

And the thing about a burnout is, it takes a long time to recover. 

So if you find yourself running on empty more often than not, quit before you're ahead, and take these three steps to give yourself the break you deserve.

Wave Goodbye To Your Unnecessary Commitments

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Take a look at your schedule for the next month, and write in everything you've committed to. Work, school, social activities, birthday parties, all of it. 

After you've recovered from the shock you're sure to feel from seeing all your calendar so full you couldn't squeeze a coffee break in there if you wanted to, it's time to cross some things off. What on your list *absolutely* needs to be done, and what could wait? Are there any things you said yes to, but you really don't want to do? Is there something you signed up for to be nice, but honestly you just don't have the time?

Saying no to these commitments means you have to face your own humanity that you, sadly, cannot do it all. But sending a quick, though slightly embarrassing email that you overcommitted yourself and can't take on this project like you thought you could, will be soooo beneficial in the long wrong. 

Set A Legitimate Work Schedule

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Chances are, you can accomplish everything you need to accomplish in an eight-hour workday (especially after you've let go of some of those extra commitments). 

If you find yourself the first one in the office and the last one to leave — or if you're constantly taking your work home with you — make a promise to yourself to change. Work is important (because meaning and bills), but it's not everything. 

Don't let the maniacs on Twitter who are working till 3 a.m. every night make you feel like 40 hours a week is an unacceptable standard. In fact, science suggests that giving yourself less time to finish work makes you more productive and efficient. 

Schedule Yourself A Damn Break

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If you've been working like a dog, chances are you haven't slept like one in a while (I know this isn't a legit saying, but have you ever seen a dog nap? Pretty impressive stuff). 

I want you to schedule an entire day — gasp — to reset your brain. Whether you're going to finally use one of those built up vacation days or you're going to forgo your little cousin's birthday party this upcoming Saturday (remember she's two and she really won't care), you deserve 24 hours to yourself. 

So what are you going to do with all this newfound time? Relax. 

Tell your inner circle you're out of touch for the day and turn your phone off. This is crucial because you're just going to feel like you have a million things you have to do if you spend the day scrolling through Twitter. 

Then, decide on some activities that take you out of your head. Go for a hike or even a long drive. Spend the day at a spa. Binge on a Netflix show you've been dying to watch. Do a craft you've been eyeing on Pinterest. The activity itself doesn't matter as long as you give yourself permission to fully enjoy it. 

I promise you, once the day has set you'll find yourself relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to get back to work (but only for a realistic time period). 

Emily Blackwood