It's Okay to Take a Break

Written by Cynthia Z., Penn GSE

Art credits to Steph Edwards // @toyoufromsteph


“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” ― Hermann Hesse


When was the last time you really took a break? I don't just mean a 5 or 10-minute break before you continue to complete the work you have been doing non-stop for the past few hours. I mean a good break. A break that gives you the relief of thinking to yourself, "oh wow, I really, really needed that."


I've realized that the world doesn't stop around us nor does it stop for us. But that doesn't mean that we can't pause for a moment to take time for ourselves.


The hustle culture praises productivity. It tells us that as long as we are being productive, we are rewarded with satisfaction. But how true is that? By definition, the hustle culture is an active lifestyle where you are constantly working in order to be 'successful'. Yet, how can one define 'success' in the first place? Is it really effective to only work, work, and work? These are some of the questions worth asking and considering.


Research shows that overworking can lead to several negative consequences such as burnout and anxiety. Overworking can also affect one's sleep and ultimately, job performance. A study by Pencavel showed that while working for long hours may lead to more productivity, it is only effective to a certain extent. This study also showed that when working past 50 hours per week, the level of productivity goes down. Therefore, there is an optimal level to working. Once someone goes past that level, the rate of efficiency decreases. When comparing those who took rests during the week against those who did not while working the same number of hours, it was shown that those who took rests were, indeed, more productive. Thus, more working hours does not necessarily always = more productivity.


Don't get me wrong - I love the idea of working hard. I admire those who work hard to achieve their life goals. Their resilience inspires me to work hard, too. I just do not love the idea of overworking to the point where you do not take proper care of yourself. I am a firm believer that it is important to put yourself before your work. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.


Only in your best can you work your best.

So, if you are reading this and find yourself needing a break, please do it. It is okay. Whether it is taking yourself out on a picnic, baking those cookies from a secret recipe you have been wanting to bake for the longest time, or simply sleeping in... do it. I will be here cheering you on!


You are also more than welcome to come to our club meetings as a form of relaxation, hehehe. We would absolutely love to have you join us!


Meanwhile, I will soon be putting my phone on silent mode, ruminating over the words of a book I have been meaning to read for a while now, and finally, cozying up in my own bed under the blankets while I devour those chapters.

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I will talk to you later!


Sincerely,

Cynthia Z.


References:

Maudud, O. E. (2021, May 7). The hustle culture is a lie, here's why. The Daily Star. Retrieved February, 2022, from https://www.thedailystar.net/toggle/news/the-hustle-culture-lie-heres-why-2089781.


Purtill, C. (2021, April 10). Companies can't stop overworking. The New York Times. Retrieved February, 2022, from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/10/business/dealbook/overwork-health.html.