Does life seem to be passing you by in a blur? With the soaring heights of technology, time has become a very limited commodity and we think that the only way to make the most of it is to ensure that every second, minute, hour and day is valued and utilized to maximum capacity.
The other day, I was walking down a jam-packed street, becoming one with the crowd, my gaze happened to land on a young man who was loaded with a large back-pack, hands brimming with books and ear buds nestled deeply in his ears. He was walking, chewing and talking all at once, and in all his hurry, he managed to collide into a road sign. Within seconds his books were strewn over the sidewalk, his backpack fell to the ground and his ear buds were roughly pulled out of his ears by the intensity of the crash. Of course the young man hurriedly grabbed his books and bags and made a dash for his destination. This encounter, however, left my mind in a state of chaos and turmoil. People have become systematic robots in their very essence, trying to achieve as much as they possibly can. It is important to slow down and take a break every now and again.
The Impact of Never Taking a Break
This hectic and over-powering routine is in fact draining you of life faster than you can even imagine. The most notable side effect of living such a hectic lifestyle, without ever taking a break, is stress.
Health psychologists define stress as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Leading a hectic life can be compared to inhaling toxic air. It slowly deteriorates you physically, psychologically and socially. Researchers have demonstrated that excessive stress decreases the strength of the immune system and can lead to the following reactions:
And many more…
Signs of Being Too Busy
The following behaviours will help you determine where you can take a break to help clear your mind and get back on track to being more productive.
Does every day become a blur?
Are you constantly forgetting where you have placed your keys in the morning? Skipping important appointments? Misplacing important files and folders? Or simply missing out on quality time with your family? If the answer to any one of these questions is yes, then you are probably too busy. Scientific researchers have suggested a very strong relation between stress and memory impairment. Your mind is so over burdened with worry that you begin missing out on the finer points of life. Take a break. It will improve your memory.
Do you always feel worn out?
Being too busy means having a life brimming with excessive activities. If you are tired all the time, you are most likely leading a very busy life. The added strain and stress that accompanies a chaotic routine incapacitates you. You are constantly trying to catch up with your daily activities, so much so that your body does not get the time it requires to recuperate. This endless cycle affects your health behaviours such as, eating and sleeping. Take a break. You’ll sleep better.
Are you becoming too emotional?
Living through a crammed and frantic schedule often leaves you vulnerable and exposed to heightened emotional reactions. Aggression and mood swings become your constant companion. Your walls of patience are eroded by the sweeping wave of being too busy. If you are leading a fast-paced lifestyle, you may become short-tempered and flare at things that normally never bothered you. Take a break. You’ll feel better about your job and be happier at work.
Are you experiencing strained relationships?
Being too busy has a detrimental effect on your social relations. In order to sustain and develop social relations you must give them time and attention. Relationships that have broad communication gaps become difficult and problematic to nurture. When others realize that you prioritize work above them, they will begin to drift away. Take a break. Your coworkers will thank you.
Are you constantly multitasking?
Do you eat your lunch while compiling reports? Do you answer calls during designated family time? Do you plan tomorrow’s schedule while trying to sleep? This constant battle of trying to do multiple things at once wears you down and has negative consequences on your efficiency and productivity. Humans are not machines and can only do so many things at once. Take a break. You’ll actually get more done.
Do you dread tomorrow?
Once your mind catches up with your body, you’ll realize how full your days are, oftentimes bringing dread right along with it. You may begin to dread tomorrow and it’s tiresome, repetitive and over-whelming routine. Being in a constant state of anxiety is very harmful for your physiological wellbeing. Take a break. You’ll be able to relax.
Make an Action Plan to Take a Break
Once you realize how over-worked you are, the desire to take a break will be overwhelming. Remember too, that a little bit of stress can be a positive motivator to be more productive. The key, however, to living a healthy and fulfilling life is to find the right balance.
The major work of the world is not done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people, with balance in their lives, who have learned to work in an extraordinary manner.” – Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something
When the overwhelm becomes too much, you’ll either get sick and be forced to take a break in your bed or you can plan ahead and take a vacation. You can plan a short 3-day weekend getaway or a full week-long trip. Either way, do something fun. Relax. You deserve to take a break.
If that’s not possible right now, go ahead and plan a trip for a time that’s right for you. In the mean time, you can take a break at work every couple hours simply when it’s time to use the restroom. Take a few extra minutes to also eat a snack and walk around for a bit. Oftentimes, this form of break taking has more lasting effects and keeps you more energized for the long haul.
So, go ahead and de-stress…take a break today!
Where are you planning your next vacation? The Cayman Islands? Hawaii? Lake Tahoe? The Grand Canyon? Yellowstone National Park? The “Big Apple”? We’d love to hear your plans! Share in the comments below.