give yourself a break

I used to pride myself on being a workaholic. Javacia “No Days Off” Bowser I called myself.

My work ethic is necessary if I’m going to do all the things I want to do: teach, write, and build a business.

But this “all work and no play” attitude makes Javacia a dull and crabby girl. And it makes me a sick girl, too.

These days I try to take off one day each week. I don’t always succeed, but I stick to this more often than not and it’s made a world of difference.

So, as we enter 4th of July weekend, I urge you to give yourself a break. Take a day off.

I’m actually taking a break from all See Jane Write business July 1-5 and visiting one of my favorite cities.

Here’s why you should take a break, too:

Firstly, it helps you avoid getting burned out. Whenever I don’t take a day off, I pay for it. I usually feel stressed and overwhelmed the next week. I feel discouraged and start losing sight of why I’m doing what I do in the first place.

Secondly, taking a day off is also good for your health. Before I committed to giving myself a break I would often get severe headaches — some even approaching migraine territory as I would feel nauseous and dizzy and have trouble seeing.

Thirdly, your day off can be great motivation. You can’t take your day off unless you get a certain amount of work done the rest of week. So use that day of fun and relaxation as motivation to tackle your to-do list without procrastination.

But, wait! There’s more!

I believe that taking a day off can even make you a better writer.

A colleague and writer friend of mine, TJ Beitelman, once told me that he believes most of the creative writing process happens away from the keyboard. What I think he meant by this is that the things that inspire great work happen when you’re out living life, not simply staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen.

So on my day off I’m not only doing things that revitalize me, but things that can re-energize my writing and blogging, too.

Here’s what I do on a typical day off:

Read, read, read. Your input determines your output and that’s why good writers read good writing.

Go for a long walk or run. Most of my best ideas come to me when I’m out pounding the pavement.

Have coffee or brunch with my girlfriends. My passion for empowering women drives nearly everything I do, so for me nothing is as inspiring as spending time around other women.

Paint my nails. As my mani dries I usually browse my favorite websites and blogs. Again, input determines output.

Catch up on my favorite TV shows. How can one not find Olivia Pope’s wardrobe inspiring?

When I return from my vacation, I plan to hit the ground running with new content for See Jane Write. So, please let me know what you would find most helpful.