Stepping back is hard. Thoughts of failure, waving a white flag of surrender, and worse, letting other people down wrestle with the intuitive need to take a break.
The body talks
As I emerge from an extended break, I remember the choice was more than intuition. My body was fighting against me. It became exhausting spending hours on end sitting in front of a computer screen. Throwing out my back from a less than epic attempt to retrieve a canvas bag from the front seat of a car was telling. My mind and spirit weren’t too far behind. Family crises, racial and social unrest, and feeling the stagnation during the pandemic were heavy things to carry. It was time to listen.
Step back to move forward
Sometimes stopping allows one to accelerate where you most need it. As the vaccine was rolling out and visiting the doctors became less daunting, I learned there were a host of health issues brewing internally. A herniated disk and recurring condition that causes chronic anemia were the culprits. It was more than a call for self-care, it was a mandate for a lifestyle change.
Commitment has limits
Professionally, I was navigating a difficult balance of playing it safe or cultivating growth. I hold strong values when it comes to family, work and engaging with people reliably. I believe in showing up. Period. I also suffer from this unhealthy inclination toward “selflessness” and “peace /harmony” at all costs. Much of my adulthood was spent committing my time and motivations to my family and problem solving some rough patches with and for them. Inevitably, I bring that same self to work and my relationships therein. Although there are merits to what I have been able to accomplish with this motivator, it’s not sustainable and that became apparent during the pandemic.
Breaks are healthy. Take them. And most importantly: listen to your body and take care of yourself.