Taking A Break

Taking A Break

Everyone needs a break sometimes, so don't be afraid to take one.

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Every now and then, you need to take a break. Some people view "taking a break" as reading before bed to wind down, talking to friends or family, or going on a vacation. However, if you choose to take breaks from life, be sure you do them from time to time because they are very important.

If you're very self-motivated and a bit of a perfectionist like myself, sometimes taking breaks can be hard. Sometimes you don't even realize you need a break until everything catches up with you. I have a hard time taking breaks or taking time for myself if I know I have things to get done. If I know I have an assignment due date coming up, I am going to work on that rather than doing something fun with a friend or even reading a book by myself in my room. Being self-motivated is a good quality to have, but you still need to be aware of your limits and not push yourself too hard.

Sometimes you don't realize how much you needed a break until you get one. For instance, my spring break ended not too long ago and I think it was exactly what I needed. I didn't realize how stressed and tense I was until I saw my family again, saw the familiar buildings in my town and especially when I laid down in my own bed. Everything just melted off of me; I felt refreshed. It was truly amazing and I didn't even realize how I was feeling until I got home and really unwound. Living away from home and dealing with the responsibilities of school work can be a lot to handle and it wasn't until I went home for spring break that I realized how much I needed to take a break.

For me, taking a break can mean many different things. I take breaks by listening to music, watching Youtube videos, talking to friends and family and reading and writing. Breaks come in all forms from the smallest to the biggest, but all they can help a person relax when they need too.

When I was home for spring break I mainly used that time to see friends and family. Hanging out with friends that you haven't seen in a couple of weeks or even months is an amazing feeling. Being able to really relax, laugh, and be yourself around your friends is truly a great feeling. I also really enjoyed visiting family members. Catching up with family is always nice and it's important to know what's going on with your family even when you move away from home.

Seeing people I cared about was such a breath of fresh air for me. I didn't worry about homework or deadlines. I just spent my time living in the moment and enjoying myself. Everyone needs to do that sometimes. It's great to be productive and get work done, but it is also important to see the people you care about and talk to them. As you get older, it becomes harder to see friends and family and be in the loop with everyone. That still means you should try though. At the end of the day, when you've stopped doing homework or when you have come from work, you want to have your friends and family to talk too.

All in all, taking a break can mean many different things to different people, but however you take a break, be sure to do it sometimes. Everyone needs some downtime to themselves or time to laugh with friends or family. The experiences you have with people is what you will really remember in life, so be sure to take a break and make time for the people you care about.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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