If You’re Feeling Overwhelmed, Step Back

We can only get so far by beating our heads against a wall.

Spencer Sekulin
Jan 26 · 3 min read
Photo by Tonny Tran on Unsplash

“The opportunity to step away from everything and take a break is something that shouldn’t be squandered.” — Harper Reed

Life moves at a ridiculous pace — and every day we’re tempted to keep up constantly.

Days fly by, and in them, we try to cram so much, get so much done, and to such specific ends, that when we don’t do that, when we “fall short” of our plans, we feel like we’re sinking.

Or at least that’s how I’ve felt as of late.

When you take it upon yourself to accomplish great things in life, when you set goals and take action, it’s easy to go to an extreme and to expect yourself to go, go, go all the time, like a machine, and produce results.

But we’re not machines. We’re not meant to go 24/7, even at things we like to do. We have to learn to step back.

We have to be disciplined about creating space between constant “productivity” and the rest of our lives.

How Breaks Can Enhance Prodictivity

Want to actually get more done? Take breaks.

There’s an inverse relationship between hours worked in a week and your actual productivity — and if that’s the case, the same might be said about the time you put into constant work in a day. When you’re slogging away, never leaving your desk, ticking off that prison of a to-do list, it wears you down. It feels like no matter how hard you work, more things to do just pop up, and you’re never good enough, fast enough, efficient enough, and suddenly the day’s over.

When this sort of inner chaos starts to flourish, it’s a signal to stop what you’re doing, step away, and do something else.

Step back.

What does that mean? It’s different for everyone. It could be going outside, spending time with your family or friends, exercising, playing an instrument, watching a show, listening to music, taking a walk, petting a cat, who knows!

But no matter what it is, it’s a step back from the chaos of to-dos, goals, expectations, and self-criticism. It’s a reminder that you’re here, you’re now, and you’re in control — not your list, not your tasks, not your laptop. you.

There’s a lot to be said about stepping back and taking breaks. Not only does it help rejuvenate our creativity, it ultimately helps us achieve more — in a sense, distancing ourselves from our work periodically, rather than going hard at it for arduous stretches of time, helps us get more done better.

“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.” — Russell Eric Dobda

So today, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, step back. Your work will be there when you come back — and when you come back, you’ll be refreshed, and more in-tune with your best self, and that’s where your best work is done.

Want to get more done? Want to be happier and healthier? Want to be more creative in your daily tasks?

Want to retain your sanity? Take a break, and choose to just be in the moment, whatever that moment is.

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Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Spencer Sekulin

Written by

Writer | Creator | Work In Progress | Contributor for The Startup, Mind Cafe, and more. Let’s learn and grow together. https://spencersekulin.net

Mind Cafe

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

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