In our fast-paced world, taking a break can seem counterproductive. We often feel the need to constantly push forward and stay busy to achieve our goals. However, sometimes it is necessary to step back and take a break, even if it is forced upon us. These forced breaks can put everything back into perspective and help us gain clarity on our priorities and goals. I wrote about this already; about a much-needed break before my mind and body fall fully sick again. Well, guess what. Too late. One surgery later I am in full on recovery mode. This is a not planned, month long recovery. I guess the price I had to pay for knowing I need to stop but ignoring the signs for too long. I saw (and felt) the signs so clear this time but put off resting and told myself, if I finish this and that then I finally start resting. I wanted to finish everything (absolutely impossible) before I am allowing my self to rest with a clear conscious. A mind game you can not win, because there will always be something you have to immediately take care of. Stupid, but I guess pretty much human, at least if you live in survival mode.
Forced breaks can come in various forms, such as an unexpected illness, a family emergency, or even a global pandemic, like we all have experienced. Although these situations may feel overwhelming at first, they can provide an opportunity for us to slow down and reflect on our lives. When we are constantly moving forward, we may lose sight of what is truly important to us. A forced break can help us reconnect with our values and priorities.
When we are forced to take a break, we are forced to pause and evaluate our situation. We have the chance to look at our lives from a different perspective and identify areas where we need to make changes. This break can help us identify what we truly want or need in our lives, and what we can let go of. We may find that we have been spending too much time on things that are not important to us, or that we have been neglecting our health or relationships. And eventually it´s a chance to reconnect to yourself, to your gut feeling and start hearing your inner voice again.
For me, after the surgery it was so hard to sit sill, get out of this non-stop-go-habit and give myself the time to heal. I wanted to keep going, do something, get at least some things done, even though I was in severe pain. Sitting with the pain and accepting that I have no control over this situation felt like a living hell. Now, weeks later, I have the feeling I can finally rest, let go and listen to the pace of my healing process. And guess what, since I let go of the pressure, I can see the small steps I am making and they feel so good, even though it´s still not a linear process and there are annoying fall backs.
But normally we do not have all these weeks to slowly get to this point; to the point of acceptance. What helped me getting there, even though it took a bit this time, were my routines. In January, when I was writing about the daily routines I meant every single word, but for my body it was already too late. However, for my mind it was so so important to have it at least a bit stabilized for this unexpected new reality. I don´t want to think about how worse it would have been without this. Don’t get me wrong, I still had a mental breakdown and had to deal with depressive episodes and was so mad with me and the world. But what having developed these routines had done, is that I came out of these episodes faster and handled them way healthier than I did in the past.
These breaks force us to finally rest and recharge. When we are constantly on the go, we may not be giving ourselves enough time to rest and recover. A forced break can allow us to slow down and take care of ourselves, which can ultimately make us more productive and focused when we return to our work or other responsibilities.
More important, exactly these breaks can also bring clarity, if the path we are on is actually the right one, or let´s say the one that feels right atm.
Something that felt right for a long time, doesn’t necessarily have to be always right and will most likely not. We are allowed to change without having to justify it on the outside. We just don’t take enough time to step back from everything and evaluate, how are we feeling and where are we standing right now.
So, besides the fact, that I gave and still give my body a final break from not resting enough, exercising a lot and running around nonstop, it´s more the mind questioning some habits, questioning my job, questioning the way I thought I wanted to go; my path. It’s crazy, I thought I have figured it out (at least for a bit longer and then in a few years I can naturally reevaluate were to go). Well, no. It’s no news that we live in a constant change and I do like change (at least a bit of it to feel alive). But for God sake, give me a fucking break. Do I really have to figure it out again and make major changes or is there any other way, a fast lane, to feel aligned again?
I guess we (or at least I) tend to wanna change everything and if possible fast to get rid of the feeling of discomfort, being stuck and not feeling right where we are. But I guess most of the time we do not need these crazy changes. It´s the small things that can have such a huge impact. We can not always change the job, the career or we are being stuck in one place because of family or for any other reason. So there has to be another way to feel better again and in flow with whats right for us. Spoiler: I haven´t found a model solution. But there was one thing that changed at least my look at everything.
Gratitude. Writing down every damn morning three things I am grateful for. Thinking about these positive things and actually feeling them, took away the pressure to change everything within me and around me.
Because of the stress and the pressure I put myself under I stopped seeing that there are already so many good things in my life. We tend to focus on everything that is not working out the way we wish it would, focus on the negative and uncontrollable. We start feeling uncomfortable and question everything because this negativity slowly takes over every area in life. We forget that there might be already so many good things, the small things that are so important.
It´s exactly these forced breaks that can help us appreciate what we have. When we are faced with a difficult situation, we may realize how much we take for granted in our lives. Our health, our friendships, our cosy home and so much more. These breaks can help us develop a sense of gratitude for the people and things we have in our lives, which can improve our overall well-being and happiness. And exactly after this change of perspective, from negative to positiv, we can slowly start changing the things we are still longing for.
In conclusion, forced breaks can be challenging, but they can also be an opportunity for growth and reflection. By taking a step back and evaluating our lives, we can gain clarity on what´s already there, our priorities and goals. These breaks can also provide a chance for us to rest and recharge, appreciate what we have, and ultimately put everything back into perspective. So, the next time you are forced to take a break, embrace it as an opportunity for personal growth and renewal. And don´t forget to see and enjoy what’s already there. Gratitude is key.