Is Taking a Day Off a Fail?

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When you are your own business, the pressure to constantly produce can be overwhelming. Practicing, creating, accomplishing, moving forward – we expect all of these things out of ourselves, and yet there are times when we experience setbacks, high amounts of stress, or we just feel exhausted. Work, travel, and/or performance can lead us to desperately need a break.

But can you afford to take a break? There’s no one to do your work for you, so if you’re not being productive, nothing happens. You know there are things you should or could be doing, but you feel so tired or stressed out that you’re not doing them. You’ve got to keep going or things won’t get done – you could be jeopardizing your future! Even if you think you might just take part of a day…enter feelings of guilt, shame, and frustration…

Sound familiar?

This is a common dilemma for the entrepreneur, of course. But what becomes of those who refuse to take time for themselves, always pushing from one task to the next, insisting that more will lead to more – do they really get ahead?

The results are typically the opposite of what one would want: that constant pushing can increase stress levels and lower one’s immune response to the point of breaking, and that can lead to illness. The body shuts down since you won’t do it yourself – and that usually takes you out for MUCH longer than if you had just given yourself some recovery time.

To avoid this, factor break time into your schedule. Whether it’s from a long day, intense work, a gig, or a project, usually after a certain amount of time a break is needed. And oftentimes if it’s an extended job/project, factoring breaks into the process makes for a higher quality result. This has been proven – it’s why companies like Google provide a work environment filled with the ability to take breaks and de-stress. People who work in such a way that allows for stress levels to be periodically relieved are more productive and create a higher quality body of work.

Now, it should go without saying that you can’t just take breaks all the time, particularly when something is hard. You have to put the time in. And if you’re not, that actually might be a sign of something else – avoidance is usually an indicator of fear, and sometimes it can be an indicator that you’re not doing what you want to be doing. Be sure you’re checking in with yourself if this is happening to see if you can find out why.

Mindset is also a factor here – you need to recognize that taking a break is not “bad” – in fact it’s not only necessary, it’s actually beneficial to your business. When you schedule breaks, you have the ability to clear your mind and keep yourself moving forward.

So next time you need a break and you start to feel guilty for even thinking about it, realize that you’re probably doing yourself a favor if you take that break – you’re ensuring that what you do afterward is going to be better than it would have been if you had continued to push yourself. There are certainly moments when that can be a good thing, but constant pushing usually gives way to breaking down. Give yourself a hug and relax…you’ll be better off for it. 🙂

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