There is a certain expectation in our world that I must protest here and now. This is that we, as a group of creatures roaming the earth, do not deserve a real break. We are not allowed rest or relaxation. We must always, always, always be moving forward.
Presently I am attempting to build a business. There are unwritten rules involved in this arena, some of which are very helpful, some of which are, well, bunk. One of these rules is that when you decide to take a break, your peeps should not know from your posts. You should work ahead and schedule posts, newsletters, what have you, even while you are gone, so that you are seen as a consistent and reliable source of information and value.
In the work world, it is the same. Taking time off is not supported in many places. For example, in one place I worked, I was not given any more than a few days off to deal with my mother's death. In another, I was given three days off to go to my brother's wedding. I was to stand up in his wedding. Three days is not enough. Luckily, I now work at a place where work/life balance is a priority. The powers that be at my job make it a point to make sure that employees do not overwork themselves and that they have access to vacation time and time off so that they can re-charge. It is such an amazing thing, really, but it shouldn't be.
I highly suggest that the next time you find yourself in a job interview, you make sure and ask about their time off policy, and how supportive the workplace is for you using your time off. Ask if there are times during the year where they do not allow employees to take time off. Many places provide paid time off, but it is not unheard of that your boss or whom-have-you won't give you the time off, as they believe that people will die or something if you are away for too long. When you take a job or work at a job, take care of yourself by leaving your work at work. No matter how long you are away.
When you rest, do yourself a favor and really rest. Let go of your concerns and your business mind. Envelop yourself in the goodness that is a true break from your responsibilities. How do you do that? Well, like anything else, you must make room for it. And when I say make room, I mean give yourself permission. You must be ruthless about your time off. You must also understand, on a basic level, that some people might not accept this. You must be prepared to not give a fuck. Yes. I said it. Be merciless. It is your time, you deserve it. Put your mind in this space and your body will follow. It will take practice, but you will get there.
I just took a week off to go to Portland and I committed myself to not working on my business while on a break. I needed the mental space, and frankly, I know my peeps would want me to rest. They believe in the restorative power of doing absolutely nothing productive. And now I am back and I am happy and productive and full of juice.
The next time you take time off, really take the time off. Give yourself a break. Do whatever you want to do. Your peeps, if they are truly your peeps, will support you. Hopefully, they will be inspired to do the same and give themselves a break as well the next time they have the opportunity.
Let's make this a world where everyone feels the courage to rest. The bravado to do absolutely nothing. The chutzpah to take real time off. Most importantly, let's make it a world where we support each other's need to chill. It is possible to replace the expectation of constant forward movement with one of stillness and reflection. One of rest and rejuvenation. We just have to believe we deserve it. Don't we?
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