STOP! Take a break!
Yes, sometimes you do need to push the pause button in life to reflect, re-evaluate and reassess. Taking a pause doesn’t mean it’s a time of inactivity. Planning your pause properly will help you emerge from it feeling revived, refocused and ready to face the next round.
Signs that you need a break
- Hating your preparation
- Poor performance
- Excessive use of technology
- Important changes and decisions
You must identify these signs and take the necessary steps to mitigate it. You might have started off loving the studying that you are doing but somewhere down the line, there might come a time when you feel that you have lost the fun and enthusiasm for it. This is a sign that you require a break. Lack of interest in the work ultimately leads to poor performance and discontent. If you are also glued to technology and allow it to get in the way of simple pleasures in life or your social life, it calls for a pause. Sometimes there might be big decisions that require time and attention, either for you or for someone close to you, and in those cases too it’s wise to take some time off to concentrate on it.
Discover your yearnings and plan accordingly
A break can be relaxing but it can also be made productive and meaningful as you can explore new opportunities that interest you. For this you need to understand your deeper desires:
Take stock of your resources
Before you finalize on your plan, make sure you check the three pause dials:
The money dial makes you question whether you are going to take a paid or unpaid leave and think of any other sources that you can generate money from during the break. This could be anything from baking to freelance writing.
The time dial will tell you the duration of your break. It is important to have sufficient time or else you won’t be able to accomplish your goals during the pause.
The activity dial helps you assess what you can take up for these available resources. These three dials are interrelated and it’s vital to balance all three while planning to have an enriching break.
Get rid of limiting beliefs
A teacher telling you that you aren’t good at something can lead you to doubt your skills in that field. Such experiences are often deeply rooted in our brains. These are limiting beliefs which can often prevent you from following your passion or fulfilling your goals. The author calls these old thought patterns fear tapes. They are negative thoughts stored in us in different sizes and shapes like loss-of-control tapes that involve the fear of not knowing what will happen next and lack-of-approval tapes that make you always question your worth..
However, thanks to neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to create new neural pathways; it is possible to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. To change the very structure of your thoughts and activities, you have to first notice and understand such limiting beliefs and then start changing them. Develop the habit of mental flossing and a key part of it involves learning how to TASER:
It requires time, effort and consistency to bring about a change.
Pointers for a more meaningful pause
- Don’t slip into habits of wasting time and to avoid it, set some ground rules for yourself.
- Don’t stop with efforts to ditch bad habits; try to adopt healthy ones.
- Reflect on your habits and adopt the good ones with a long term perspective.
- Practise self-care to feel motivated and nourished.
- Use the time to identify your hidden skills and talents.
Once you return from a great pause it’s vital to reflect on what you have learned and gained. Creating a list of your strengths will guide you with your future plans. Growth is a part of this process and once you have a good overview of your growth and progress, you need to decide whether you want to return to your pre-pause life or embark on new adventures. Thus taking a pause and reflecting makes you more self-aware, giving you a better understanding of your true desires and needs!
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