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Katherine Moon
Katherine Isabella Moon
Meow, hello there, my name is Katherine, but you can call me Kat; because I basically am a cat. Anyways, I am a 26-year-old, lifestyle blogger, with an INFP-T personality type, from the United States. I love fashion, the color pink, cats, dogs, and spending all my time on my computer. I'm often seen wearing cat ears headbands.
The Kat Life
The Kat Life

how I'm choosing to live my best life

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

7 Signs You REALLY Need A Break

Relaxing with a hot beverage
Photo courtesy of Bogdan Glisik on Unsplash

I absolutely love being productive! The feeling of working hard and getting a lot done is just amazing. Whether it's something you kinda have to do or something you just want to do because you enjoy it, or perhaps a little of both if you've turned your passion into your career, nothing beats getting on a roll and crossing a lot of tasks off your to-do list. But sometimes, even if you're super passionate about something, there's likely to be a point where you hit a metaphorical wall and can't seem to get much done. Even though you just want to get it done so that you can be done with it because the task at hand is really stressing you out and your patience is fading fast. If you still have any patience left, that is. You may also find yourself questioning why you even started in the first place, as you've likely lost a lot of your original passion and motivation for whatever it is you're doing. It's not unlikely that your only motivation at this point is to get it done just so you can finally be done with it.

Okay, let's be real for a second, there are some tasks you just want to be done with from the start, such as cleaning the house, yard work, or any other task that you have to do but never actually want to do, but I think you get the idea. Regardless of whether it's something you have to do or something you just want to do, there comes a point when it's time to take a break. Or when it's well past time to take a break, let's be honest.

Signs You Need A Break

You can't seem to focus on what you're trying to do, no matter how hard you try

Looking out the window with feet up
Photo courtesy of The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

These days, it's easy to get distracted, way too easy. If you want a distraction, all you have to do is reach for your phone, and you can distract yourself for hours. If you don't have your phone within arms reach, all you have to do is open a new tab on your browser and do anything but what you're supposed to be doing. You could also just watch whatever is on TV, even if it's not really all that interesting. Distractions aren't hard to come by, especially in the digital age, they're really not. But if you've done everything you can think of to minimize or even eliminate distractions, such as staying off social media, turning off notifications, temporarily blocking distracting sites and apps, keeping the TV off, etc, and you're still finding yourself unable to focus, it may be time for a break.

I may have actually wasted more time blankly staring off into space or wandering around aimlessly than I have watching TV or even scrolling through social media. This isn't to say that I don't get distracted scrolling on Twitter for hours at a time, but that's not my point here. What I'm saying is, sometimes, I don't actually need a distraction to lose my focus and waste time. And as I'm sitting there, blankly staring off into space, I'm very much aware that I'm not being productive. Then I'm stressing over the fact that I can't focus, no matter how hard I try to get back on task. At this point, it would be better to consciously give my mind a break from it and purposely walk away from the task for a little while. Rather than continue getting nowhere with it, while I'm still trying to go at it; becoming more and more frustrated by the second. 

You're not satisfied with your work, and you're becoming more and more frustrated as you try to improve your work

Working at the computer
Photo courtesy of Karolina Grabowska on KaboomPics

You could probably say that I'm a perfectionist, at least when it comes to something I'm passionate about. Although the same usually applies to any task that I'm working on, even the unpleasant ones. I can't stand walking away from a task and calling it "done" if I'm not completely satisfied with it. But when I start getting tired or start losing my focus it's nearly impossible for me to get any work I find satisfactory done. I just want to be done, but I'm not satisfied with my work yet, so I'm nowhere near done. I can't just half-ass it, I know how annoyed I'll be with myself if I half-ass it. Even if no one else would know the difference, I'd still know I didn't actually give it 100%. I'll know I threw in the towel, and that it wasn't the best that I could do.

Thing is though, at this point, I'm too frustrated to be productive, and I'm not thinking clearly; probably because I've been at it all day. So maybe it's time to walk away from it for a few minutes and unwind a little bit. Or maybe even just call it a day (or night), and come back to it tomorrow with a clearer mind. 

You're easily irritated and quick to anger

Kitty with slightly annoyed look
Photo courtesy of Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Not having a balance between work and play is one of my worst mood-killing habits, so when my day (or week) becomes all work I may become a little testy. Whether I'm frustrated with a specific task, myself, my to-do list, or outside influences, it doesn't take much for the claws to come out. Little annoyances become major annoyances, and anything that stops me from doing what I'm doing can quickly send me into an ALL CAPS RAGE! Whether it's my computer being slow, the Wi-Fi going down, not having enough supplies (or the right supplies) to finish the task, or any sort of interruption it's hard to contain the frustration. But when you're starting to get snippy, and you have little tolerance for interruptions, it's probably time to take a break anyways. Seriously, stop and relax for a little bit so you can get your mood back up.

You're mentally, emotionally, and/or physically drained

Feeling tired
Photo courtesy of twinsfisch on Unsplash

While working hard and being productive feels amazing, it's no secret that working hard without giving yourself a break can be physically and mentally draining. It can also be emotionally draining. As I mentioned before I'm quicker to anger or get upset when I don't allow myself time to relax. When I start working on a task for hours and hours without taking a moment to relax, I tire out quicker, sometimes to the point that it's difficult to drag myself through even the most simple of tasks. And I'd be lying if I said that I've never given in to the temptation to take a nap right in the middle of a task. Sometimes I'll even nap right at my desk. Oftentimes those naps end up being unnecessarily long ones. Or I'd take them so close to my bedtime that I should have started getting ready for bed, and gone to bed an hour or two early. There have also been times that I felt tired because it was past my bedtime, but I was still working on a task that I could come back to the next day. I know that screwing up my sleep schedule like that brings down my mood, and consequently my productivity, but I still find myself doing this from time to time. 

Oftentimes, when I'm starting to feel physically drained, I'm also mentally drained already. As a matter of fact, I should view my increased stress level, loss of focus, and other signs that I'm becoming mentally drained as a sign that I need to relax. Before I start feeling it physically. Especially given the fact that I'm not getting much done if I'm tired or I can't focus anyways.

Your body is actually telling you to rest

Sitting down to take a break
Photo courtesy of Jernej Graj on Unsplash

Not only do I start feeling tired after going too long without a break, but sometimes my body will start begging me to rest. Whether it's a headache, belly ache, muscle ache, or any other ache, when my body is telling me to stop, it's past time to call it a day. Oftentimes, this actually forces me to take a break, because pushing through it will only make it worse. 

You're feeling uninspired, your passion is fading, and you're losing motivation

Kitten sniffing a cup of coffee
Photo courtesy of Supremelysab on Unsplash

I rarely take on a task if I'm not passionate about it unless it's something I have to do, like cleaning the house. And when it's a passion project, I'll go into it with so much passion and inspiration that I'll give 1000% to it. I'll feel practically unstoppable in my productivity, and I may be enjoying myself so much that I don't think I actually need a break. But eventually, whether suddenly or gradually, I'll hit a metaphorical wall. My creativity will start to leave me, and I'll lose that initial inspiration. I may even lose sight of why I actually started the task in the first place. Either that or I'll only be focused on the end result, not the process. Since I'm not exactly enjoying the process anymore. My motivation is to just get it done. It's no longer about the fulfillment I'd get from it, or the value it adds to my life.

I often find that this happens to me when I allow my good habits to get away from me, and allow bad habits to creep in. Mostly I'm not taking breaks to maintain my healthy habits. I'll be honest too, it's way too easy for me to justify blowing off my own self-care when I'm being productive. I mean, I'll get more done if I don't take that 15-minute break I promised myself hours ago. Right? Or if I stay up until 2:00 AM writing a blog post, I'll be able to post it sooner. Who needs to sleep? Then there's the classic "if you don't get this done now, you might forget this amazing idea later" thoughts that creep into my mind five minutes before bed. As if I couldn't quickly write down the idea and come back to it the next day.

You've forgotten that it's not only okay but important to take breaks

Taking a coffee break
Photo courtesy of Anthony Tran on Unsplash

In a way, this ties everything on this list together, because forgetting that it's okay to take breaks and that you need to take breaks, is a sign in itself you need to take a break. Seriously though, there is no sense keeping at a task when you're having a hard time focusing on it, causing yourself further stress and frustration. Especially when you're not getting much done anyway. It's important to take some time to relax for your mental and emotional well-being. As a matter of fact, it's actually not a bad idea to schedule in some breaks throughout the day and even set a timer if you know you'll forget to take them. Or you'll find a way to put justify putting them off, eventually skipping them altogether. What you decide to do with your break is completely up to you. As long as it has nothing to do with the task at hand and allows you to give yourself a little time to unwind. Whether you choose to scroll through Instagram, watch YouTube videos, meditate, or get a glass of water, just allow yourself to really take a break and enjoy a moment to yourself. 

As great as it feels to be productive and get a lot done, we're all only human. We can't give it 1000% all the time. And if we try to give it our all 100% of the time, we're likely to burn out at some point and stop actually being productive; becoming frustrated that we can't seem to get anything done no matter how hard we try to focus, or that our to-do list just seems to be never-ending. Sometimes all you want to do after a long day is sit down with a cup of hot chocolate and watch something on Netflix. Or maybe you just want to literally do nothing entirely. And you know what? That's okay. It's okay to take a break. It's necessary to take a break. And not only that, but it's also necessary to set boundaries, and even cut out tasks that aren't adding anything positive to your life.
Thank you for reading, and I hope the rest of your day is wonderful!
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