The Art of Taking Breaks


forceAs entrepreneurs, we often feel that we need to “strong arm” our business, “make” our marketing happen, and “push” through blocks to get to the finish line.

I understand this feeling. In fact, I had an experience recently where I had been trying to make myself sit down and brainstorm about a group I am planning to offer later this year.

But the more I tried to make myself do it, the more difficult it became, so I took a break. I practiced openness. I went out into nature and did some things that help me feel peaceful and spacious.

A couple days later I sat down to write – and it only took 20 minutes to lay out the whole thing! And to think, I had been banging my head against the wall about this project.

Step into Open Space

There’s such a sense of closed-ness when we over-focus to the point of trying to force things to happen. When we push situations that aren’t flowing, we feel stuck. It’s so easy to say, “This is about me. This is because I’m not working hard enough, or I’m letting myself get distracted.”

And sometimes, that’s true. Sometimes we do need to simply set a timer, write for 20 minutes then take a break, and repeat the sequence until something comes.

This is when we’re developing more effective work habits.  When we’re training our minds and bodies to focus and take our next steps.

Often, though, the reason we’re blocked or things feel forced is because we’re trying to make an apple ripen, when it’s simply not time yet.  At those times, taking a break can make all the difference.

And that’s not to say that you should take a break for weeks upon weeks – unless that’s truly what is called for.

It’s also not that you should take a break to do things that aren’t really taking a break. Sometimes we use television or exercise as a way of not doing work… but it’s still not a rejuvenating break if we don’t allow ourselves to fully enjoy it.

Tweet: The next time you take a break, seek spaciousness: spaciousness is where creativity happens and where inspiration can come in. 

What Has You Fully Relax?

Having an awareness of what helps you fully relax is important. If it’s lounging in bed reading a book, going for a walk, soaking in the bathtub, having a long conversation with a friend or working out… all these things are wonderful when you fully engage in them with relaxation and joy.

When we don’t fully engage in and allow ourselves breaks, we need more of them because we’re not truly getting the rest and the break we need.

It’s as though your body is craving protein, so you eat a few nuts and a lot of other stuff instead of just sitting down to a 4 oz. steak or tofu pattie – what your body really wants!

The next time you take a break, seek spaciousness. The spaciousness is where creativity happens and where inspiration can come in. You’ll feel yourself transition from a closed, small sense of “forcing” and “trying” into a space of openness and freedom.

Eat well, have fun, connect with people you care about, move your body. When you do this, you’ll feel rested and ready to come back to work. And then you’ll no longer have to force or push or strong-arm your business in order to see changes begin to take place.

Is it time to take a break? What sorts of breaks do you enjoy taking, and when is the next time you will take one? Leave a comment in the area below to share your ideas.

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