As you may or may not know, I took a “brain break” last week, which, if you were wondering, is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of coming home and running to the gym or, yes, writing this blog, I just didn’t. I came home, I watched Jeopardy!, I read a bit, and then promptly feel asleep. Every night.
And I h a t e d it.
But the saddest part? I thought I needed the break from my writing. I thought it would help me to reduce some stress and exhale outside of the paper bag I was hyperventilating into. I thought if I sat cross-legged in my room and wrote in my journal (just for me) I would achieve some sense of calm because I wasn’t under pressure. But strangely enough, it only made me miss writing even more. It made me miss the sheer panic I always experience when I don’t have something to write about and the irony that washes over me when I do encounter something so strangely perfect during the course of my day. Writing this blog awakens me to the little nuances and coincidences in life that I wouldn’t be reflecting on if I didn’t have a platform to express them on. I’m not really sure why I thought pushing away my passion would be a good move for a week, but I can tell you, I felt even more burnt out without it.
So, how is that possible? How does exerting more energy give you a better quality of life? Well, it depends on what you are investing your time in. Are your ventures decidedly fruitless but you continue with them as if they aren’t? Do you find yourself wishing for more time to do other activities, rather than the things that are on your plate? Am I starting to sound like a poorly scripted infomercial?
Well, if you answered yes to any of those questions, then your first reaction is invariably, “I need a vacation.” Time away from the office, the kids, your family, even your significant other. All I need is a girls’ night, you exclaim as you let your hair out of that matronly bun. I could really do with a night with the guys, you think to yourself as you pass by the bar in the daytime. But you don’t need any of those things. What you need to do is stop taking life so seriously.
We only feel that we need a vacation or time away when we feel like we are having trouble coping with all of the stressors in our life. But if you just admit to yourself that not everything is going to have your full, undivided attention, that not everything is going to go perfect, and that you are (believe me, I’m an expert) going to make a mistake and make a fool out of yourself, then every day of your life will feel like a vacation. The sooner you acknowledge this simple fact, the sooner you can stop scouring blogs for the answers to why you feel so empty and tired all of the time (but keep coming back to my blog. I’ll stroke your ego anytime.) The sooner you can take a bite of all that and swallow it down, the sooner you can start laughing at yourself (but don’t choke), which everyone, absolutely everyone, needs to start doing. Even if your laughter turns into uncontrollable sobbing. That’s cool. This is a judgement-free zone.
So, play when you want to. Work when you have to. But do not believe that the two are mutually exclusive. Poke a little fun at yourself, and see how fast you can shelve that 2-week getaway to the Bahamas. You deserve a vacation, but before you spend the money, try taking one from yourself.