The Importance of Taking a Break

We all know those people – the ones who seem to have it all together, which inversely make us feel like crap.

Some statistical perspective: their Instagrams get 200 plus likes, while we’re over here with a solid 88.

Here’s what I’m talking about: you’re bored in class, so you start scrolling through an acquaintance’s Facebook account. Through your vastly developed stalking skills, you find that she has been on a THON committee for three years in a row – cool, cool. She’s also had four internships, one of them for ABC productions. Alright, that’s pretty impressive – wait, she’s a student athlete?! Look, here’s a picture of her receiving a prestigious scholarship. OH and she’s in Schreyer’s. That’s it – no more stalking.

At school we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others and their accomplishments. Whether we’re aware of this or it’s entirely subconscious, the successes of others can make us feel like we’re just not good enough.

So we strive to do more. We push ourselves.  We overwhelm ourselves. We end up hurting ourselves.

I’ve fallen victim to this cycle plenty of times. I’ve learned my lessons the hard way by getting sick, doing poorly in classes and stressing myself to oblivion.  For example, at one point I got so bad that I was ashamed to go home to take a nap. I was afraid to take a nap.

At the time, I was fearful that by taking a break, I was losing precious time that I could have spent working on something or improving myself. I thought breaks were for the weak.

My consequence for pushing myself beyond my limits? A week spent in misery including a horrific sinus infection, missed classes and plummeted grades.

The truth is, we aren’t all superheroes. We aren’t going to succeed in everything we do, and if we try to juggle too much, we’re going to drop the ball. It’s easy to be fooled by carefree Instagrams or tacky Facebook announcements – but what’s important is that we are prioritizing our lives so that we can reach our full potential based on what makes us happy. We don’t have to do it all.

It’s OK to take a break. Heck, breaks are necessary to our success – even Barack Obama takes a vacation once in a while.

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