Be Human Evolve & Grow

Break or brake.

Last week I took a break. Life became too much. The news became too much. It all became too much. One much piled on top of another much on top of another much. It was becoming hard to breathe – deep breaths, long breaths, slow breaths. Breathing created more muches. And the muches piled on muches were resulting in me not being able to function.

I could not give a hug without wanting to cry or yell. I could not smile at someone without wanting to run away or hit something. I was cracking. Too many muches.

And the pile started to fall and I was under it. So, I put on the brakes.

Instead of breaking it was time to slow it all down.

No news. No emails that were not personal or directly related to my family or my work. No social media. At all. No newspapers. No magazines. No conversations at work about anything other than the weather or something fluffy. Anything heavier than a feather was shut down.

A break. Brakes on.

And I felt really really stupid. I felt weak. I felt lost. I felt dumb. I felt raw. I felt breathless. I felt like I should be able to do it all and read it all and be engaged in all of it. All. The. Time. I felt exhausted. I felt overdone. I felt under cooked. I felt. Oh… I actually felt something. I felt weak but a little less weak. I felt silly but maybe not so stupid. I felt lost but a little less so.

I hugged my kids and simply felt love and loved. I smiled and did not need to run. I could take a deep breath and not feel like I was having a heart attack.

Oh.

Hello anxiety. It was nice to meet you.

I am still on my break. I am going to be very cautious about what I add back in. Too many muches are not a good thing. And one much piled on another much on another much is also not a good thing. So, it will be very slow, reopening the gates.

Taking a nice long break from a pile of too much muches

If I were my own best friend I would give myself a hug for making a healthy change. Even if part of me still feels like I am letting myself down by not being in the fray all the time. But back to the good, healthy stuff now… it’s okay to take a break if you need to take a break. It is better to take a break and take care of yourself than it is to break down.

If I were my own best friend I would remind myself I am no good to anyone else if I am not taking care of myself first. And then when I feel ready to take on a few more of the too muches out there, they will be waiting and I will be ready.

**Of note – I am not a therapist. I do not recommend self-diagnosis of anxiety or other conditions. If you have or are experiencing significant mental health issues please seek appropriate help. This blog is not that kind of help. This blog is a space for my reflections on my experiences. Below are a few national hotlines available in the US –

National substance abuse and mental health services hotline -> 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Crisis Text Line (to reach a crisis counselor) – 741741

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

4 comments on “Break or brake.

  1. JoAnn Ollila

    What an important, relatable, compassionate message for the world to hear right now. I value your words and am sending you a hug, to be redeemed again and again as needed xo

  2. Joe Teno

    Brilliant, Rachel. Well done. Congrats. Thanks so much for the reminder and for modeling “it’s ok to take a break” from the muches.

    I found it interesting that I did the same thing last week. Took the week off. Went to Yellowstone and camped and took pictures and relaxed a bit.

    It felt better.

    And I’m intending to carefully ‘add back’, just as you suggested. I don’t know that I’ll have as much success as you probably will. But that’s ok. Maybe if I keep trying, I’ll get it right one of these times.

    Your post couldn’t have come at a better time for me, Rachel. Thank you again.

    • Thank you Joe! Camping is such a wonderful way to take a break. And yes, the trick is the adding back in – how to do it without adding it all back. It will take effort and thought and focus to not jump right back into the fray.

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