What I Mean When I Say

“I Need A Break”

Unfortunately, to a lot of people a 24-year-old recent college grad with no specific 9-5 office job doesn’t need a break from anything. No break from working out, I’m young. No break from writing because it isn’t “a real job”. No break from anything because let’s face it, I just sit around and do nothing all the time, right?

I can’t even begin to argue this loudly enough, but this is wrong and it doesn’t happen just to me.

There are many of us out there who see other people’s efforts and perceive them in a specific manner. We don’t see any of the behind the scenes. We don’t get an inside look into their brain. We don’t feel what they feel. But because we do see something, a small fraction, we are presented with a situation where we will have those facts go into our brain, be processed, and turn into a perception.

So you see someone who is young, “jobless”, works out frequently, and ten thousand different assumptions are already flying around. You hear them say, “I need a break” and you lose your mind.

From what? You’re wondering. Let’s talk about that.

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When I say I need a break, I’m not meaning anything fancy by it. I really just mean I need a break. Not a two week vacation. A break. Today I need a break. I just need a nap. I’m exhausted. Sometimes it’s just clearing my afternoon schedule. Sometimes it’s taking a day or two off everything. Sometimes it’s removing one workout, taking another super lightly, or not writing for a few days. Bottom line, it doesn’t mean a vacation. It just means a break.

Now, why would I need a break?

First of all, it’s never anyone’s business to inform you of why they need to take a day off or a break from something especially if you aren’t their boss. More often than not, it’s not what they’re doing in a day that is wearing them out but some other, outside emotional stress like a sick family member or dysfunctional relationships.

If someone just says, “Man, I need a break”, instead of trying to analyze what makes them deserve a break, take a step back and respect that they are trying their best.

The second thing is, if you find yourself thinking someone doesn’t deserve a break, ask yourself why? Why don’t they deserve it? What assumptions are you making about them?

Maybe you’re assuming they sleep enough every single night and they sleep in all day. Replace that assumption with this one: they’re an insomniac and still wake up at 5:30 to get going on their day even though they don’t have a typical 9-5.

That makes things different, doesn’t it?

Now, instead of assuming they are in perfect health, figure that they have some injuries, maybe a cold or allergies too. Or figure that they know their body’s limits and won’t break themselves.

Also changes some things right?

We are unfortunately quick to assume that because someone doesn’t do exactly what we do, they don’t need a break. They’re dogging it. They aren’t really tired. They aren’t really working hard. They’re working half as hard as I am.

That’s a real nasty attitude to have towards anyone let alone people you know personally. You aren’t better than anyone and they aren’t better than you. We all need to look at ourselves and others on an individual basis. No comparisons. No battles. Just working to better ourselves every day.

And that might mean taking a break.

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We need breaks when we need them. Only we will know when we need to take a chill pill and sit for an afternoon. We can’t tell when a person can push for longer or not. Sometimes enough is enough and down they must go.

Age isn’t a factor. 24 or 44, a person can be exhausted and need to go take a nap. 14 or 54, a big life event, insomnia, or anything can make you need to just take a knee.

Now that we know anyone can need a break, it’s important to understand that just because you or someone else refuses to take a break, you are not better than the person taking a break.

This is something I’ve run into quite a lot in my life already. Since I’m young and I’ve worked hard to listen to the advice of people older than me, I know that rest, recovery, and listening to your body when it protests is top priority. Pushing through an injury won’t make you better, it’ll weaken you. It’s better to take a day of rest when things are hurting than push and really knock yourself off your feet for awhile.

I want to teach martial arts my whole life. I want to be mobile my whole life. And I intend on living a long life. That means I can’t blow out my knees by the time I’m 30 or need a hip replacement at 40. I have to be healthy, limber, and be in control of a happy body and clear mind at any age. 24 included. If I expect to take great care of myself at 74, I have to take great care of myself at 24 because those habits are hard to cultivate.

If you are a person who pushes through injury, ignores messages from their body, or anything like I’m not bashing you. But don’t bash other people for choosing to take a day off and keep themselves as healthy as physically possible.

Another thing is that some people just need more rest for whatever reason. Maybe they’re on their period or slept terribly last night or are just having a bad body day. Whatever the reason, there’s no reason to look down your nose at people for taking time to recover.


On that note, if you need a break take one. There’s no weakness in it. You aren’t any less tough for it. You aren’t weaker for it. You aren’t lazy or unwilling. Taking time to recover and all that jazz is as much of a job as anything else you’re doing. Keep that in mind and keep learning to recover.

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