Give Me A Break

Do you ever get that tired feeling? You know what I’m talking about.

That feeling that you can’t go on. You’ve consumed enough. Or you’ve done enough work.

It’s just draining.

Image By Pedro Ribeiro Simões

“These guys work pretty hard, so if they need to take a break we let them take a break, especially this time of year when we are really really busy.”
–David Berry

That’s the feeling I had today while going through my daily blog reading.

My eyes started to hurt. I felt exhausted. I didn’t want to keep reading.

And you know what?

I stopped reading. I closed the browser tabs. I changed what I was doing. I went from reading blog posts to creating a new blog post.

The best thing about this? I felt better. Energy returned. I had a renewed vigor.

Today, I’m giving you the permission to stop.

It’s okay to take a break.

To stop doing that which makes you tired. That saps your energy. That bores you.

Once you stop the activity that is draining you, enter into an activity that renews you.

That activity could be writing a new blog post, going out and exercising, or spending time with a good friend.

Whatever it is, take time to do that. Let it reinvigorate your energy.

But remember…

Once you’ve taken the break, you’ve got to get back to work.

When you return to that task that was draining earlier in the day, it won’t be nearly as bad.

You’ve taken the time to tend to yourself. You’ve given yourself a shot of energy. You can plow through that task.

“We believe by breaking these talks into phases, we will achieve better results. People can take a break and come back refreshed.”
— Kong Quan

Question: Do you ever have activities that you need to accomplish and just feel drained? How do you respond to these draining activities? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • If the activities are required, I try to do them in my “brain dead” time, afternoons or evenings. Mornings are my best work time so I try to use them for the things that bring me life.

    • That’s a great way to fit them in. Do you still find them draining, just not as draining? Or do they become more tolerable during this time period?

      • Yes, some are still draining, but if they need to be done, why not do them at a better time. That way, I am giving my best time to the life giving activities.

        • Great point Chris. Getting them done during less productive hours would be a benefit.

  • How timely–I need to study for an exam, work a case study, and do four chapters worth of problem sets by tomorrow night! Unfortunately I don’t really have time for a break, but it’ll all be over by Thursday night!

    • I hear ya! I have two summer classes going right now, and I have had to write 5 essays just this week. On top of that, take exams and work on a research project for each of the classes. It has been a lot, but it will pay off.

      What class do you have the exam for?

      • The class is called Managerial and Manufacturing Decisions…basically a project and supply chain management course. This is actually the last week of the class, because I take them in five week blocks.

        • Oh ok. It sounds like you make lots of decisions in that class! haha. Good luck on the exam!

    • Lots of activities you’ve got to stuff together Rob! Make sure to find time for a break on Friday or Saturday.

  • A great reminder, Joe. There are many times when I feel drained and just want to avoid all that needs done. Many times, unfortunately, I avoid it until another day. Sometimes, I push through it. I like your suggestion to walk away (which I am taking literally). I rarely just walk away for time to think and refocus. That is a great reminder that I should just stand up and take a walk around the building, outside, somewhere to refocus. Thanks!

    • Nick, walking away literally will help. Taking a walk can reinvigorate and give you new, creative ideas.

  • DS

    There are times when I just have to stand up and walk away – especially if I’ve been staring at the computer all day.

    Do something that energizes you – I wish more people would say that.

    • DS, doing something energizing seems to be a foreign concept to people nowadays. They feel it should be work, work, work when we weren’t designed for work all the time.

      Have you found any activities that energize you?

      • DS

        A couple of things fire me up:
        Talking to people about their potential, the opportunities that are available to them, as well as the fact that they can overcome and persevere regardless of circumstances.

        The other one is reading success stories. How people left a corporate job and start a business. How people overcome obstacles. I love reading about ordinary people who do extraordinary things because they keep on trying.

        • Speaking of success stories for those that have started their own jobs, have you checked out the new book $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau? Supposed to be filled with fantastic stories of people overcoming to create new work.

          • DS

            I’ve added it to my list of books to read. Right now there are so many, I’m really trying to prioritize what I’m reading.

  • Joe:
    Thanks for the reminder to stop and take a break. I have a hard time saying no sometimes- I always want to help. This can put a tremendous strain on my body and my time. I agree that reenergizing is the key! You will actually accomplish more if you stop and reenergize then get back at it! Thanks for your work Joe! You are a scheduled stop on my blog reading routine!

    • I have had a hard time saying “no” to things as well. I am getting better about it. When I know that I don’t have the time to give my full attention, I do not commit to it.

      • A lot of us do Brandon. It’s been ingrained in us for so long it’s hard to break. But there has to come a time of no.

    • My pleasure Joe. You bring up a valid point when you mention always saying yes puts a strain on your body. It creates constant pressure and a need to continue to push on and on.

      Have you found a way to take a break that works for you?

  • Joe, This is what I needed to hear after my post today. It seems like we’ve always got so many irons in the fire. We need to give ourselves permission to breath from time to time.

    • That we do. I’m often reminded even Jesus needed that break time.

      • My dad has shared with me a couple of times about the important practice of regular sabbaths. 1 minute of sabbath every hour… 1 hour of sabbath every day… 1 day of sabbath every week…

        • That’s great your dad shared that with you. Makes a lot of sense to break it down into smaller segments as well.

  • Great post! What do I need to break from? The worship band and I are taking a month off to practice more and get refreshed. We have been leading worship every week without stopping for almost a year and a half now. It has been draining.

    Sometime, you have to step back and be refreshed. God doesn’t want you running on an empty tank of gas.

    • That should produce great results for your worship team Brandon. Your congregation will come to appreciate it more too.

  • I read this at the wrong time, I’ve only been up for an hour, I don’t need a break just yet 🙂

    • That’s a good one Tyler. Though there are days when I need a break within that first hour!

  • Absolutely on target. A good recipe for burnout is to not allow yourself time for creativity or flexibility, and to stay stuck in a routine. I love it, Joe.

    • So true Stephen! How do you work in breaks to your routine?

      • A lot of the time, it happens just like the moment you described in this post. I’ll realize that the life is being sucked out of me and I need something to switch up my scenery/routine and have a creative “knock on the head.”

        I’ve learned a lot from @lifeofasteward about having planned seasons of busyness, and also planned downtime.

  • I can’t tell you the number of times when I felt really tired writing! I totally am with you with taking a break. Maybe also walking off and streching. Maybe throwing some music on might also help. Great thoughts today Joe.

    • I bet Kimanzi. With having written two books and a manifesto that’s a lot of work! I agree music can be nice for a break. Throw on some relaxing, calming music and you’re good to go.

  • Joe, right now, am on a break – from working on my new self-hosted wordpress site.

    Am no techie and I’ve been trying to fix and tweak things for hours. I’ve installed and re-installed WordPress like 4 times! The theme is not just picking up well. Plus got waay to go.

    I feel that frustration..!

    Then your post is the first thing I read 🙂

    Am not really looking forward to going back to it, (to be honest). But I will, ofcourse – got no choice. And am enjoying learning all the new (however frustrating) things on wordpress. Blogger was easy!

    • Sorry to hear the transition isn’t going smooth. Hope it goes smoothly when you return to it. I’m not a master at WordPress but I’d be willing to give you a hand with what I can.

      • Thanks Joe!

        Am breathing easier now :). Decided to go simple, not get so caught up with design and all. So long as the site is working, am good!

        • Glad to hear that. I can only imagine how difficult it can be getting things switched over and redesigned could be.

  • I totally understand with you on this. At times I start reading blogs but just need to stop because I know I would not give my best to reading or responding to the post. Taking breaks is important but it’s essential like you mentioned to get back to it at a later time.

    Great post and reminder.

    • Glad to hear I’m not alone on being overwhelmed with the constant flow of information. What do you do to break away from the flow?

      • I take a walk or nap. At times I just need to stop doing and come back to the task later.

  • I think the key is scheduling regular breaks.

    • That would help a lot Larry. Being intentional so you get to it before it gets to you.

  • This means your just taking on too much and you get overwhelmed. Take little points and tasks and break them up. Always works for me.

    • Sounds like a great way to do it Lincoln.

  • You know i was getting bored while searching for some good stuff to read but once i reached here on your post i found it very interesting blog… sometimes we should continue the work that drains us we might get something new and interesting while doing that work.

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  • I found this article through your “you may also like function.” I might have to add that to my blog. I often blog about taking a break on As a writer, I intentionally break things up, write and read different things at different times. I don’t have a specific schedule, but a general one. I can just feel it when it’s time to change things up. I often add music and exercise into the mix. Also, if you don’t mind, what WP theme do you use? I’m considering changing mine.

    • Glad to see it’s helping people find other posts that they may be interested in. The plugin is actually called nRelate Related Content. If you decide to install it, let me know how you like it.

      That’s a great way to create change and giving yourself a break from a normal routine. I bet it’s quite refreshing to change it up?

      Don’t mind your asking at all. I use Standard Theme 3.0 No modifications were done other than plugins.

      • Thanks for sharing, Joe. I like the “link to comment” on this theme. I’m using 2011 and it’s hard to see the link to comment.

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