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Note to Self: It’s Okay To Take A Break

I’ve always been on the go.

From social events in my very large family, to schoolwork, to work work, to dating, to traveling, to freelancing, I have always been busy.

Well, busy… and connected. It’s a blessing and a curse in the 21st century to have everything at the palm of our hands, isn’t it? If you feel this way, you’re not alone.

In fact, a 2016 study shows that millennials think about work too much. Additionally, an earlier study showed that most people enter their twenties with a “feeling of being locked in to a commitment at work or at home.” The feelings of constant obligations, both in personal and professional lives, can lead anyone to the point of burnout. And it’s important to address this before it happens.

The good news? You can prevent burnout from happening. It’s extremely possible with a bit of self-care, and remembering your own happiness.

Yes, work is important. Yes, familial obligations are important. And yes, every other aspect of life we’re all currently dealing with is important. But sometimes, you just need a break, from all of it. And that is okay. Honestly? It’s necessary. And we shouldn’t have to feel guilty about it either.

It’s okay to leave your desk for five minutes and go for a walk.

Whether you’re at home staring at your wall or sitting in your cubicle, it’s okay to get up and go for a walk. We all have those times while working where we feel overwhelmed. Pushing yourself to stay at your desk staring at the same document is going to get you nowhere. Stand up, and go for a walk. If it’s nice out, go outside and get some fresh air. Try not thinking about your work for a few minutes, reset your mind, and come back with a fresh perspective. It may sound like a small thing to do, but it can make a big difference.

It’s okay to put your phone down.

This may be the hardest for us twenty-somethings, and I don’t mean that in a stereotypical way. I mean it in the sense that we feel like we have an obligation to always answer right away, whether that be a text message, a Snapchat, an email, etc. This in turn can take away from our happiness or peace of mind. Try leaving your phone in another room when you’re at home, try not using it for an hour before you go to bed, try silencing it more — you may just notice a difference in your peace of mind.

It’s okay to take a social media cleanse.

No, there’s no rule that you need to check your accounts every day. There’s no rule that you need to post on Instagram every time you’re out. And no, there’s no rule that you need to accept every person that wants to friend you. It seems kind of silly that I even have to say all of this, right? But I’m sure there’s some of you nodding along as you have obliged to at least one of the scenarios I mentioned. Taking a break can be as simple as not checking your profiles, and instead being fully present in the real world.

It’s okay to escape.

Yes, it is okay for you to get away, especially if you’re feeling really overwhelmed and like you need to click the reset button completely. We’ve all been there, and it happens to everyone. It’s okay to take off and go somewhere else, whether it be for a long weekend or a full week.

Sometimes the best medicine is just pure relaxation, where you don’t need to worry about all of life for just a little bit and you can focus on you. Everyone needs “me” time. Always wanted to go hiking in Arizona? Book your trip. Just want to sit on a beach with a drink in your hand? Go for it. Just want to start driving with no destination in mind? Fill up on gas and go. Don’t just sit around putting more and more pressure on yourself.

It’s okay to stay.

You don’t necessarily need to get away to get out of the stressful routine of everyday life. Don’t feel like going out this weekend? Don’t. Feel like you need a mental health day from work to just lounge around at home and binge watch Netflix? Do it. A day or weekend of just doing nothing really can work wonders and help put you in a new mindset for the next day or upcoming week. Plus, if you really want an escape without all of the travel, pick up a good book, and immerse yourself into that world and take a break from the current world. Sometimes a staycation is the best kind of vacation.

Burnout is real and happens to everyone, no matter how strong or great at handling stress you are. Everyone needs a break, and it’s up to you to remember that you need one too. No matter how small, or no matter how large, give yourself me-time to do what you want to do. Your body will thank you. Your mind will thank you. And your soul will thank you as well.

About the Author

Michelle Ioannou

Michelle graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Arts '13 and a Master of Arts '14. She's currently working in corporate America with a side of freelance writing. She wants you to learn from her experiences and mistakes so your 20s can be your best decade. When she's not working, she's likely planning her escape to a tropical island.