Picture from Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina
(7 min read)
In my journey of travelling and interacting with people (hello from Uyuni, Bolivia), I’ve realised that many times, the idea of “taking a break” from the normalities of our daily lives scares the majority of us.
Why? Perhaps, we are doing something that is against our comfort zones, and that unpredictability and lack of security make us uncomfortable. Or perhaps, we feel guilty about leaving the responsibilities we have behind and feel that we cannot “afford” that break.
But the most interesting reason I’ve come across is that taking a break is subconsciously deemed as a sign of weakness – that we are being counter-productive, that we are wasting time, that we aren’t doing something effective and value-adding with our lives. Because our lives seemingly come to a standstill, we feel embarrassed to take breaks that we feel are “too long”.
First and foremost, as someone who has gone down this path and has gained an inordinate amount of learnings from it, I fully disagree with all that. And secondly, when did we become so critical and hard on ourselves?
Obviously, not everyone is in need of a break. I’ve met people who are so in love with what they do and work is really not work for them. There are also people who love the fact that they are indispensable from their responsibilities and it gives them a great sense of self-importance. The idea of a break doesn’t value-add as much for them.
On the other hand, I’ve also encountered others (people like me) who weren’t fulfilled with their previous ways of lives and had mustered/are mustering the courage to seek alternative ways of living.
In the middle of the two extremes, I’ve met a ton of people who were simply on a long holiday, a sabbatical, or any form of activity that is unconventional from their normal ways of lives.
I’m not here to preach that everyone quits their daily life and do radical things. No, the idea is not about doing radical things for the sake of it. The idea is about doing things that you really feel like doing without any fear, guilt or regret. Eventually, you know that is something you will be happy and proud of yourself for doing.
It is surprising that something as simple as taking a break is strangely difficult for many of us to do.
I understand that not everyone has the privilege to take long breaks. But what I mean by taking a break could be anything from taking a sabbatical to a day off from your daily life, whatever that may be - work, family, or any other responsibilities that you feel that you are being engulfed with.
But here’s the thing: when I say take a break, I mean fully switch yourself off from the rest of the things surrounding your life and focus just on yourself.
No work emails, no phone calls from your kids asking you where their favourite toys are, no need to be answerable for anything.
It is a moment dedicated to yourself, for yourself and to be with yourself.
And trust me, no one will blame you for disappearing for a while. Because those that truly love you will trust that you will come back stronger, fuller and most importantly, happier.
And if that is not enough, read on...
6 reasons why taking a break from your daily life will be your best decision ever:
1) You enrich yourself with new knowledge, energies and ideas
In the 1.5 years since I’ve left my corporate life, I have to say that I’ve gained so much more than I could ever imagine. I’ve picked up a new language (I’m now conversational in Spanish, yay!). I’ve learnt a new dance that I’ve fallen greatly in love with (Tango, if you are wondering). I’ve started this website and have steered my career towards a new dimension. I’ve met countless like-minded individuals with tons of potential work collaborations. I’ve learnt to be on the roads alone for extended periods of time and have learnt to be much more street-smart, careful yet trusting.
That’s a lot for 1.5 years. I have become much more enriched, in all extents of the word. And I could have never gained all that had I not given myself a break and did what I wanted.
2) You learn to truly love yourself
Like most of us, I had a prolonged debate with myself before deciding to leave my job in Singapore and move to another continent. I was worried for my parents and my beloved grandmother. I was worried for my future. I was worried about money. I was worried about being useless. I was worried about what others would think of me. I was worried that I would be deemed as an unfilial daughter and an irresponsible human being. I was worried about the 1001 things life could throw at me.
But when I decided to let all those fears go and went with the break I felt I deserved, I never felt more empowered. I felt that I was finally making a choice for myself and I had nothing to be guilty about.
More importantly, I know that I am not ditching anything behind; I just needed the time to myself to do the things important to me. Is it selfish? Totally. But is it important to love yourself? Absolutely.
3) You get to know yourself a lot better
In the past 1.5 years of being with myself, I’ve gotten to know myself so much better. I’ve learnt what I dislike, what I adore and love, what I value and what I will not tolerate anymore. I’ve gained an incredible amount of clarity to how I want to live my life, without the influences of what societies and the people around tell me. I’ve learnt to let things that aren’t important go, instead embracing and focusing on things that are important to me.
I could have never discovered all these if I had not allowed myself to spend quality time with myself. To embrace moments with myself, to enjoy company with myself, to become a best friend to myself.
4) The people who truly love you will love you even more
Often, we fear doing abnormal things because we fear that the people we love will disapprove of our actions. As a result, they might reject us of their love. That is a terribly painful experience.
However, here’s the question – do you want to be loved for who you really are or do you want to be loved for the image others have of you?
If your answer is the first, trust that the people who truly love you will love you even more after your well-deserved break, simply because you have given yourself the space to fully blossom into who you truly are and should be. And this is the person that the people who truly love you will fully embrace you for, and have always wanted you to be.
5) You end up giving back more to others
Taking a break is rejuvenating. It recharges our spirits and gives us energy to go further. When our hearts and spiritual tanks are full, we have so much more to give.
As such, the people around you will experience so much more from you – more inspiration, love, kindness, positivity. In short, you end up giving more hope and life to another, something you can never achieve if you haven’t given yourself the chance to recharge your being.
6) You become the best version of yourself
When we spend time with ourselves without intervention from external factors, we are able to fully embrace ourselves for who we are. Along the way, we will realise that it doesn’t matter if we aren’t the perfect person we had hoped for ourselves to become, or if we aren’t the most popular person we had desired to be in our community anymore.
Taking the break allows you to accept and embrace who you are wholeheartedly. And when you are truly comfortable in your own skin, you inevitably become the best version of yourself.
How do you envision your life to be when you are unapologetically you?
Let's work together to unleash the powerfully beautiful life you are deserving of.