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Taking time off, taking a break from work or any all-consuming task keeps us mentally healthy. A break also ensures that our work gets the best “us” that we are. After many years of writing, I’ve come to understand that there’s a point I reach where nothing good will follow. I know my productive times, and how, in a crunch, to extend those times. But none of us runs at 100 percent all the time. There comes a time, too, when taking time off needs to extend for several days—or more.

People backlog stress; we more or less store it up with the aim of de-stressing later. We’re good at compartmentalizing tension. We store our stress in our bodies and minds without draining it away in a healthy manner. Being able to do this is great for the very short term. It’s crucial, though, to learn to manage and let go of stress or stress, without doubt, will make us ill. Stress makes people ill physically, it contributes to emotional and psychological illnesses, and it makes existing emotional problems far, far worse. The number one contributory factor for burnout is stress.

Daily practices like meditation and yoga are ideal for stress relief. Exercise, dance, indeed most hobbies that call for us to be active, not passive, are great for releasing stored up stress. However, when we’re crunched for time when everything on our “to-do” list demands to be number 1, the first thing people drop are self-care activities. I admit, it’s hard for me to stay involved in my daily meditation routine during unusually busy times. That’s ironic, as meditation would help me get more done by helping me be less stressed.

Knowing how to rid yourself of stress, both daily, accumulated and long term, is a vital survival skill in today’s world. We don’t get much in the way of true relaxation education in our lives. That’s a shame, as shedding the accumulation of psychological nicks, dings and scratches that build up over time brings a fresh, energized perspective to our lives. We can’t generate new mindsets and fresh ideas when we’re burdened with the baggage from the past.

When we do take time off, I think it’s a good idea to completely detach from our stress filled environment, including all our digital ties to a universe of information. We’ve become accustomed to being connected to the digital world. Unfortunately, a lot of our stress comes through that medium. Taking time off sometimes means taking time away from the places and things that aggravate us.


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