Learning to take breaks is something that is hard for many of us. We go and go and go. Taking a break can feel lazy or selfish. Whether we’re taking a long vacation or learning to step away from work for a few minutes, it’s a crucial skill to learn in recovery. Research has actually found that there are many health benefits from taking vacations.
Ways to Take a Break
As the above article mentions, vacations are incredibly healthy for us. They’re often expensive, but perhaps you can choose somewhere cheaper. Go with friends, and split a vacation rental. Instead of going somewhere like Hawaii, go to Mexico instead. You can read the post the 13 Best Places to Visit in Mexico This Year to learn more about ideal vacation spots. We also wrote a post recently about Five Ways to Take an Awesome Vacation in Recovery with some ideas you can try!
Another, more approachable way to take a break is to find time during your day to stop what you’re doing. Don’t eat lunch at your computer or over the kitchen sink. Take time out to actually sit and eat. When driving, don’t talk on the phone. Just drive, listen to music or the radio, and take the time to yourself. We can all find these little times during the day to rejuvinate our minds and body by taking a break.
Breaks in Early Recovery
During my early recovery, I was spending quite a bit of time working on myself and cleaning up the wreckage of my past. I did stepwork, was in outpatient treatment, and had a therapist. On top of all this, I had a new job, was in night school, and had a girlfriend I was absolutely obsessed with.
With the chaos of early recovery, even if your life isn’t as hectic as mine way, we absolutely need to take breaks. Our minds and bodies are used to checking out from our drug and alcohol use. So, take the time in eraly recovery to take a step back. We don’t need to allow ourselves to be stagnant, but it is important to remember we don’t need to be moving forward every single moment of the day.
Why Breaks are Necessary
There is a lot of research to suggest breaks are helpful. Whether you’re taking a break from work, or truly checking out from life with a vacation for a while, breaks allos us quite a few opportunities. First, it allows our mind, nervous system, and hearts to reset. We often just get going and amped up during the day, not even realizing we’re doing so. Taking a break can greatly reduce stress, heart rate, and blood pressure.
Also, taking a break leads to more clarity and insight. When we do not take breaks, we are more prone to fall into autopilot. We do things automatically, react without thinking, and tire ourselves out. With breaks, we can learn to respond, and see things more clearly.