When is Taking a Break a Good Thing?

I feel like there's this stigma around stopping something that you do regularly. Like, if you're in the habit of reading a book a week and you stop reading for a couple weeks or a month, your friends might ask you when you're going to "get back on the bandwagon." Or if you're in the habit of exercising 3 times a week and you stop for a few days, there's this guilt around breaking that "streak" you had at the gym.

At the same time, no one can do the same thing all the time without fail, so taking a break from anything can be a positive thing. You need time to process or you need to dedicate those hours to something else, or you just need a change in routine to mix things up a little and make them fresh.

But then, you might ask, how can you know the difference between taking a break for good healthy reasons and taking a break just because you're being lazy? If you feel guilty about it either way, how are you supposed to know which is which?

That is an excellent question, and I think I can answer it (sort of, at least) with a couple questions:

1. Will you benefit from this break (reduce stress, gain time for a necessary task, etc)?

2. Will this break from your habit of choice make returning to it easier or harder?

This is, of course, assuming that your habit is something that you want to keep, and not something you're trying to discard. If this is something you want to go back to after your break, you must know why you're taking a break (because "I just don't feel like it today" is probably one of the worst reasons you can give) and how hard it will be to get back to it afterward.

If it's for a good reason and you know it'll be hard to get back to it afterward, then you know why that effort is worthwhile. If it's not for a good reason, but it'll be easy to get back to it afterward, then you might say it's okay to take a small break now to refresh yourself and get back to it with more vigor tomorrow. If you don't have a convincing reason and you know it's going to be hard to get back to it - maybe now isn't the best time for that break? It's all up to you, of course, but I find those two questions very helpful in figuring out when taking a break is really okay.

How about you, Inklings? Do you take breaks, and if so, do you feel guilty about them afterward?

#Habits #Break

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