take a break

Take A Break

At the end of last year I was feeling pretty burnt out.

I had just finished The Mystery Tour, finished one of my busiest stretches of Holiday shows in November and December, and was going through a bit of an existential crisis. Plus, I wasn’t feeling inspired with any of my creative projects. I felt like they were all starting to blend together and the work was suffering because I couldn’t give any of them the attention they deserved.

I needed a break.

So I gave myself some time off from #ThursdayThoughts. I took that time to work on other things.

I made preparations for my AFSP Fundraiser Show, wrote a couple (soon-to-be-published) books, made some videos, worked on my new show, and did a lot of yoga. I read some books and changed gyms. I forgot about my blog completely so I could give myself time to feel inspired again.

Originally, I had planned to take all of January off but one night I looked at the calendar and realized it was Wednesday.

Man, I really miss Thursday Thoughts,” I said to myself.

So I sat down and wrote out the first post of the year. I was back at it again.

It just took a few weeks away to feel reinvigorated and more creative than ever.

The same goes for my workouts, my show, and any other goals I tackle each year. I give myself rest days, time off, and vacations to self-reflect and recharge before I get after it again.

I’ve been training for the Chicago Marathon since January, working out five days a week and logging a ton of miles. The last time I trained I tried to do too much. I was running while I was traveling, barely sleeping, and not giving myself time to recover. And my body paid the price.

I spent the last two years in physical therapy, stretching, and learning to run all over again. I’m not going to make that mistake again.

So I’m taking it slow this time. I’m running slower paces, shorter distances and gradually working myself up to marathon speeds. If all goes well, I should reach my goal mid-summer with a couple months left to keep improving.

Thanks to my newfound approach, I’m making great progress. I feel great and I’ve lost 15 pounds since the new year even though I’m only running a few days a week.

Instead of pushing myself to get out every day and keep the streak going, I take the weekends off. I can still enjoy brunch and keep making progress. Taking a break doesn’t have to mean you’re giving up.

I’ve never liked the “unbroken streak” mentality. I prefer to think of my goals as a giant bucket of water. Each run or workout or blog entry or rehearsal is a drop in the bucket. By the end of the year, I may have taken a few days off each week but overall that bucket is pretty damn full.

You don’t have to do everything at once and you don’t have to do things how other people do them. You just need to learn to do things the best way for you. And if that means rest days in between meetings and long runs then so be it.

If you takeaway anything from this, just remember that before you can take action you need to take the time to take control of your situation. Take a moment to take care of yourself before you take flight again. Take it from me, sometimes the best way to make progress is to take a break.