That is usually what pushes me through my day, coffee….LOL. No seriously, now, I live for breaks, but I never used to. As an entrepreneur who works full time from home, the lines blur when it comes to falling into a work rabbit-hole. In the past, I used to not even look at the time on my laptop and I wouldn’t realize how much time went by before the headache, achy eyes and stiff shoulders came over me. Then, I would peel myself off my chair and realize that the entire evening went by and I didn’t even take a 5-minute breather away from my screen. When I block my time, I get really focused and stressed out about making sure my work gets done and I tend to forget about how important it is to take breaks! Especially if my time block is at night (which is often since I work after my son goes to bed). When I would finish, I would head straight to bed and then of course…came insomnia from wayyyy too much screen time and work in my thoughts.
Everything changed for me when I went to the UK for 3 weeks in April. We stayed at this amazing Airbnb with a beautiful balcony and we could hear the birds and the owls all day and night, and let me tell you…it was like therapy for me. I would wake up early, get my work done (my clients in the US were still sleeping which worked so well for me because I could catch up on all my work with minimal distractions from Facebook messenger) and then I would take a break every 30 minutes to go out on the balcony and listen to the birds, or go for a nature walk, England is so green and there are flowers everywhere!. When I came back home to Canada, SO many health benefits came of that trip, just from changing my working pace so I will break them down for you and maybe it will encourage you to take breaks too!
Getting out in nature and taking a breath of fresh air, away from screens and artificial lighting significantly reduced my headaches. I used to get 2-3 headaches per week and now I get 2-3 per month! The reduction in stress from being in nature and mentally shutting work out for a while does wonders for your stress levels! Less stress = less headaches.
I make sure that I do not work past 10 pm (I go to bed at midnight). I put my phone on night mode and I turn off my laptop and go rest on the couch. I’ll be honest, I watch TV so I don’t turn off all screens, but TV never actually prevents me from sleeping. In fact, I often fall asleep in front of the TV since it calms me down. Thinking about work and working until midnight DEFINITELY DOES prevent me from falling asleep. If I have something on my mind or a task that I didn’t complete I would not fall asleep until at least 2:30 or 3 am and my son is an early riser so that would always mess up my day the next day. Now I close my brain off to work after 10 pm and I just say to myself “it will get done tomorrow….this is not the end of the world”. I have way more restful sleep now since I have prioritized my rest time before bed.
The more time goes on, the more I realize that my body and brain NEED and CRAVE time in nature. I think it’s because my work involves so much technology and nature time provide the exact opposite of that, it just slows things down and forces you to be in the present moment. I try not to bring my phone with me when I go on walks, or when I sit out on the balcony. My anxiety has really become more manageable since I leave my work behind and get outside. I try to take a morning and an evening walk ever since we came back from our trip. When I come back I always feel calmer and in control, and I am better able to focus and be less distracted by the thoughts in my head.
BETTER BUSINESS GOALS
I always get the most clarity about where I want my business to go when I am taking a break from actually doing tactical work. I NEVER get business ideas or map out my strategies when I am busy getting work done for my clients. I will take a coffee break and step away from my desk about 3 times per day. I usually sit outside but if it’s not a nice day, I will just move to a comfy spot, bring my notebook and map things out and now I have a way better direction of where I would like things to go, and what my current and future goals are. Always write things down so you can go back to them on your next break and see if you can add anything to them!
GET MORE READING DONE
I know what you’re thinking…how much reading can I really get done in my 15-minute break? My answer to you is…SO WHAT?? Are you really going to let that stop you from picking up a book? Even if you have a short time to read, it all adds up! I used to be super lazy about making time to read, I literally used to think, “what is the point?” but then I gave myself 20 minutes to read during my morning coffee every day for a month and I got through not one, but TWO personal development books! If you want to know what they are: You’re a Badass and Making Money and Girl, Wash Your Face. Look them up…my two faves! You won’t regret reading them!
I’m telling you, I am a changed woman since I incorporated more breaks and time in nature into my days! Think about what you love to do, and make time for it every day even if you have 15 minutes! It will make you feel clearer, better, and more focused towards your goals and your self-care.
Ellenie is a wife and mom to one amazing and spirited little boy. She is a social media manager and virtual assistant. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a special focus on generalized anxiety disorders and OCD. She has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks her whole life. Ellenie has been finding positive ways to conquer her mental battles every day and would love to share them with anyone who also suffers from an anxiety disorder. She also has Crohn’s Disease and has written about living with its struggles and raising a young baby. Ellenie lives in Montreal, Quebec, but is planning on traveling a lot in the near future. She loves to stay active and eat healthily, a few of the key lifestyle changes that have helped her with her mental and physical health struggles.