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Days Off

BURNOUT!! When you hear that phrase what thoughts and feelings come up for you? Work starting to feel like a grind? Kids and housework seem like a never ending whirlwind of need? Wash, rinse, repeat!! Your relationship lacking the spark it once had, and going a little sour? Even the dog getting on your nerves? Maybe it's time to look for a new job, or find a new romance, sell the house and get rid of the kids? Ok so that might be a bit extreme, but when burnout hits our thoughts do tend toward the overdramatic don't they? Or is it just me? When in this mode we need to hit the pause button on all major decisions, and simply take a day off.

Oh come on you can't take a day off from life. It's not responsible to play hooky like an adolescent. But I submit to you that at times it may be irresponsible NOT to. When we are worn down physically or emotionally, we cannot give our best. We get sluggish and cranky. We're not doing anyone any favors to carry on that way out of a misguided sense of responsibility or martyrdom. Truly. Europe seems to understand this better than we do here in The United States. They take LONG lunches, sometimes a couple of hours long, and no one thinks that's weird other than the American tourists who find it annoying. Many employers there not only offer 3 week to month long holidays, but quite a few actually insist on it. They know they will have healthier, happier workers with far higher productivity if they allow them to take breaks now and then. Americans on the other hand rarely use all of the vacation time their companies allow. Why on Earth not? Could we possibly be addicted to burnout? Does it make us feel important somehow? Something to think about. 

Where does burnout come from anyway? Of course there are exceptions, but by and large most of us CHOSE the life we live and the people we share it with for a reason. Overall we really wouldn't want anything or anyone else. So why then do we sometimes feel so crabby, boxed in and irritable, when the truth is nothing's really wrong? Because as human beings we crave, and actually NEED, variety. This phenomenon is very real, not just all in our heads. Did you know that if you eat the same food exclusively, or too often, you can actually develop an allergy to it? Did you know that if you do the same workout program all the time, it will lose much of its effectiveness? Plant the same crops year after year, and the soil will not be as fertile. So why would we be any different? Sometimes you just need to shake things something out of the ordinary. Burn IN for awhile, fill up the well so to speak. Then go back to the norm refreshed and invigorated to start again. Your favorite shampoo that makes your hair so shiny and luxurious stops working as well after a few months. Salons recommend switching it out on occasion, and using another brand for a week or so. Then go back to the old shampoo, and it will work beautifully again. The same holds true for work, spirit or relationships too. NO I am not suggesting trying out other jobs or relationships to spice up our current ones. That would be counterproductive to say the least. I'm only suggesting taking a break to do something different. Just a day off. That's all it usually takes to recharge and send burnout packing.

What do we do on our days off? That all depends on you. On what the source of your burnout is, and what works best for you personally to combat it. 

If you don't have a full day you can spare, maybe just take the afternoon off and go get a massage, or go for a long walk around the pond to feed the ducks.  

Turn off your phone for a day, and wander through a bookstore. Have lunch with a friend you haven't seen in awhile. Go to a movie, and order extra butter on your popcorn. Try out a zip line for an adrenaline rush. 

Write out your bucket list, pick one to do and schedule it. Sometimes just anticipation of a future day off can turn the tide. Go sit on the beach and do nothing, absolutely nothing, for awhile.  Some people will find energy in physical activity. Hiking, parasailing, repelling. Some prefer to relax with as little exertion as possible. Go to a concert, check into a hotel to watch movies and sleep. Glorious sleep. There are no rules to this. Just a physical and mental shift from the usual routines. Something you feel excited about, whatever that may be. Include anyone you want to include, or spend the time totally alone. That's up to you. This can work for couples too when things have gotten on the stale side. You may agree to take separate vacations so you each can have some alone time, or go somewhere new and exciting together away from the pressures of daily living. To get out of your comfort zones, to reconnect and create some new memories together.  Yes it may take time that you feel you don't have. But if you come back ready to work more effectively, you'll make up that extra time in spades. Yes it may take some money you feel you don't have. But it's cheaper than a total meltdown that leads to a layoff or divorce right? Your mental health is worth the price. Your happiness is worth the effort. So feed your spirit...take a day OFF now and then. 

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