Taking a break
I think by now most of use have read that balance and taking breaks are a good idea. But it still hits home when you actually do it and reap the benefits. And this past holiday season I was fortunate enough to get the time to take a break, as my company closes down for the two weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year’s.
This is the first time I’ve had the winter break off since graduate school and, to be quite honest, it felt a bit strange at first. Two weeks off with no trip planned, nothing special going on, just able to be at home. But I knew I needed the break.
How did I know? I had absolutely no desire to do anything on a computer or related to the web at all as soon as I was done with work on December 18. I spent the first week of my break either baking cookies, cooking food for the holiday, or drawing with pen and paper.
I had put it on my list to watch some videos related to Sass, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I told myself I’d do it the following week, between Christmas and New Year’s.
And I came into the time off feeling some pressure to come up with things to write about related to the web, but I had nothing. I couldn’t think of a thing, and was actually contemplating not writing for a while.
By the time the second week rolled around, I still had no desire to do anything related to code, the web, or work. All I wanted to do was draw, watch crappy TV, listen to podcasts, do yoga, or go for long walks in the neighborhood.
So that’s exactly what I did. And then a funny thing happened. A few days before New Years I was asked to contribute a little blurb to something about what I was excited about learning in 2016 (web related). I let the email sit, unsure if I was going to respond and went on with my day. But the question nagged at me and as I moved through my day I was thinking about it, in the back of my head. The next day I sat down and wrote the blurb quickly, it was already kinda there in my head.
That night, as I was going to sleep, my brain was churning with the idea for a new talk or article based on some things I read in mid December. I wanted to think about them, I was already doing so underneath the other stuff that was occupying my time, things were percolating. I had at least one, and possibly more, writing ideas.
And the only reason that was able to happen was because I took a break. I stepped away, fairly completely, from what I usually think about during my work week and allowed my brain rest and relaxation, even boredom at times. And as a reward, ideas came began to form.