Taking small breaks during the day is essential to maintain a state of calm and productivity.
Essential to prevent stress levels from rising, to be able to feel that we are comfortable and that we are experiencing enriching moments.
However, for me, like many others who know this, knowledge is not enough.
Even with the knowledge, I don’t take all the breaks I need, I don’t stop every time I feel the need to. I’m not attentive enough to do that. Why?
Why don’t we stop?
I believe that one of the reasons has to do with the degree of importance, with the value, that I attribute to these pauses.
Despite rationally considering them fundamental, I still don’t value them enough to make them a priority.
Perhaps because, culturally, the act of pausing, of stopping, was not transmitted to me as having value.
On the contrary, our society values doing and speed.
Doing more and faster is still considered a sign of “productivity”. It is transmitted and taught, as something good and something we should invest in, something we should practice.
Only in the rare moments when we realize that a hasty action had bad consequences do we realize that we could have acted differently.
We could have acted in a calmer way to allow us to see the possibilities we had - the various attitudes we could or could not have adopted.
However, when we are very agitated it is difficult to be conscious enough to adopt this more thoughtful attitude.
The only way for this to happen is to develop a practice of facing situations more calmly. For this, it is essential that, during the day, we take breaks that create this possibility for us. The habit of stopping will create this ability.
We have to work on this capability so that it works when we need it. We have to acquire, through habits and practices of short breaks, a state of tranquility and openness that works as a reserve that feeds us, that sustains us.
It is this strategic reserve (physical, mental and emotional) that can support us when things go wrong. Or rather, when things turn out differently than we had anticipated and we find it difficult to deal with these events. When we resist the present moment.
In the same way that when we want to develop a physical capacity, like learning to run, for example, we start little by little, taking care of our well-being is also a task that is done little by little.
A few seconds, a few minutes, several times a day, are enough to reduce the accumulation of stress, to avoid feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders at the end of the day.
To know when we need to take a break, the best system we can turn to is the body’s signals, such as tiredness, exaggerated agitation, rushing thoughts, uncontrolled emotions.
If we learn to listen to our body, we will know when it, when we, need to stop so that we can then continue on our path with greater tranquility and well-being.
I have to remind myself more often to listen to these signals, I have to pause more when they make themselves feel.
What about you? Can you see these signs?
Do you take breaks frequently during your day?