I’ve been struggling lately. I’m overwhelmed.

I’m doing what I’m passionate about, but it’s gotten out of hand.

I need to return to what I know to do.

Take a break.

I used to feel guilty. Uncertain of what would happen if I did take a break.

It was painful and heart-wrenching to even think about.

I had to keep going. But I got to the point where I couldn’t.

I ran out of gas.

I was slouched over in a heap of failure that I couldn’t do it all.

But I found that wasn’t really the case. I was doing it to myself.

I told myself a story about how I had to keep going.

How I would disappoint everyone if I stopped. How I wouldn’t achieve what I wanted so badly if I took my foot off the gas.

In reality, it was just that – a story I told myself.

And you know the great thing about stories we tell ourselves? We can make up another story that is the opposite and run with it.

[Tweet “The great thing about stories we tell ourselves – we can make up another one that serves us better”]

I learned to adjust using this one powerful trick. I can show you how.

It works.

I just shared my old story, but what if I told you I replaced it with this new one?

  • I can take a break. It will rejuvenate me.
  • When I take a break, I will be ready to tackle whatever I was working on with new energy and ideas.
  • Others will notice how fresh and energetic I am and it will be contagious.
  • When I take a break, the important stuff will still get done. The stuff I  shouldn’t really worry about – not so much!
  • The sky will not fall if I step away for a bit.
  • I will smile more.
  • I will sleep better.
  • Suddenly I will see things in the right perspective.
  • Nothing will be overblown in my head, so I can approach what I need to do with clarity.
  • The people around me can learn to wait – it will be good for them to learn patience and priority.

I don’t want to act like this shift created rainbows and unicorns in my world, but it did give me a foothold on reality. I had created an alternate reality where I was at the center and everyone around me would be compromised if I did not operate on hyperdrive. How self-absorbed was I?

I offer you this – 5 Ways to Tell You Need a Break Without Feeling Guilty:

  1. Who do you see in the mirror? – I mean really look in the mirror. Is she happy? Does she look rested? Are her eyes clear and bright? Is she someone with whom you would like to interact? If your answers are “no”, then it’s time for a break. You can abandon the guilt because you need this break. You need to be someone you want to be with before you can offer yourself to others.
  2. What is a “must do” on your personal to do list? – Do you have something that has been sitting on your personal to do list but you never take steps to make it happen? Is there a family vacation that needs planning? Is there a class you’d like to take? Is there an event that isn’t work-related that you’d like to attend? Is there a hobby that lights you up but you’ve all but abandoned it? Identify that “thing” that keeps nagging at you and make a commitment to “work it in”. Treat it as if if were a work priority – you deserve it and the break that will come with your taking action on it.
  3. How is your breathing? – Yes, I’m serious! When I am stressed, my breathing gets very rapid and shallow. Even if you don’t have time to take a longer break, you can certainly take a short one to adjust your breathing. You can close your eyes and focus on your breath. I use Andrew Weil’s breathing technique: (a) inhale through your nose to a count of four, (b) hold your breath for a count of seven, and (c) exhale fully through your mouth with a “whoosh” sound for a count of eight. You will be amazed at how much calmer you feel with a renewed sense of clarity.
  4. Are you overbooked? – Triage your calendar and your “to do” list – these are truly a window into how you are treating yourself. Is every entry a “must do”? Are there meetings you can shorten? Can you delegate some of your “to do’s”, or even eliminate them? Ask yourself this question with every entry – “if I didn’t tackle this particular item or meeting, what would be the worst that would happen? And be honest – your response may often be – “nothing tragic”…..
  5. What are you doing for self-care? – We have finally arrived at the “big one”. What are you doing for your own self-care? I’m not talking about mani/pedi’s or your massages here (although they are great), but all elements of self-care. Are you getting up and moving? Are you trying out new fun exercise classes? Are you staying current with your doctor and health screening appointments? Basically, how well are you taking care of yourself? This is a break worth taking so you can keep going – literally! A sudden illness or diagnosis of a disease can really impact your life. And when you have adopted healthy habits and are strong, you are in a much better place to bounce back.

Have I piqued your interest? Ready to start exploring? I’m right here with you, but first, take my free quiz below to get a sense of where you are today. It will only take you a few minutes and you will get your results right away!

Find Out How Ready You Are to Take That Much Needed Break!

I’m Tina Meilleur and a Leadership and Business Mentor, author and speaker. I am also the founder of Design Your Success and the Academy for Business Success. My mission is helping high achievers match their desires, skills and experiences with success on their terms. My “Next Chapter” program and CRAVE™ process are systematic approaches for making simple “tweaks” or orchestrating a total reinvention. I am the author of Your Next Chapter: Five Steps to Creating the Life of Your Dreams to help others build anything they want into their life. I have a CPA designation in the State of Louisiana and received my MBA from Tulane University in their Executive MBA program. I’m a highly sought-after mentor, coach, facilitator, and speaker. You can reach out to me at Tina@DesignYourSuccess.com.