Take the break you need or you will break

Many times I chat with people their busy lives becomes a topic of conversation. Each day is filled with activity, doing something, taking care of this or that. It almost seems like each waking moment is taken up without a spare chance to reflect, pause and relax.

I noticed that today I was equally as busy. My day had planned activity from 6:30am - yes on a Sunday - through to 9:00 tonight. Every minute was commited.

This type of day is typical if you are in a network of people who value you or need you. In my case today was both.

What I question is how much we lose out in the negotiation of our time we give to people who value us and need us. When is it ever enough? For some we can always keep trying as the pain of the guilt is far worse. For others it simply is a matter of feeling good about helping and making others happy so we put their needs first.

Of course the ideal is equality of meeting needs, balance in choice.

Commitment equals choice

Well today I realised that each commitment is a choice. We have a choice in whether we commit to ourself or someone else. On the surface this may seem selfish to some. However I think that deep down the choice we make to look after ourself is ultimately to the benefit of those who value us or need us.

So for example not getting time for regular exercise will put some out of sorts. For others it is lack of sleep. And for others it is simply the lack of 'down time'.

Warning signs

To me there are a few warning signs that you need to put in some me time to balance out the equation. Do you:

1. say out loud to others that you need a break

2. feel pangs of jealousy when someone takes a holiday without guilt

3. wonder how others do it when they fit in a lunch time run or exercise before work.

4. get cranky over little things that get in the way of your plan or schedule

5. resort to dictatorial orders to get others to follow your requests

6. look arond nervously when you take 5 minutes to read a book or magazine

7. accrue annual and sick leave even though you know you should take it

8. always say yes when people ask you to to do something

9. fill your diary with appointments related to other people's needs

10. take forever to organise basic self care - eg doctor, dentist, hair, beauty

These are just a few of a possible many indicators. Consider your response to these comments. Then consider your feelings. If you start to resonate with the above then maybe it is time for you to take a break.

Responding to the challenge

Depending on the scale of your reaction you may need to respond accordingly. For example if you scored quite heavily on all 10 comments then a solid period of time allocated just for you is in need - eg weekend away, holiday, mental health day.

If only a few are pushing your buttons then perhaps an adjustment of your priorities and schedule will help.

If nothing resonates then fantastic. If this is the case I applaud you for setting the example for others. Please choose to give back now and mentor someone else who could benefit. Clearly you will balance this decision with the right amount of time to recharge your own batteries.

Enjoy getting back in balance.

Let's go there...