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Take a Break or the Load You Carry Will Crush You – A Functional Rustic Approach

Originally Published March 12, 2018. Updated August 28, 2018.

Taking time to do nothing often brings

As helpful as it is to reflect on situations that cause us distress – it is equally important to pay attention to experiences that bring us peace.

I’m feeling at peace today and it is directly related to taking a break this weekend. Functional Rustic is my business and I do it from home. Because my office is my living room it is difficult at times for me to stop working. I may not be writing a blog or building something – but even on the weekends I find myself doing work.

I enjoy the ‘work’ so it does not feel stressful to do it. However, even if I am completing fun tasks – I’m still thinking about work. I never actually take a break. It’s exhausting.
So, this past weekend I actually didn’t work. I didn’t update the website. I didn’t pin anything. I didn’t take any photos or videos. I didn’t build anything. I didn’t write anything. I didn’t even think about it. Instead, I played PC games (Civilization VI and Banished) for 12+ hours a day.

It. Was. Amazing.

The reason I work every day is I feel like if I don’t put the energy in the business will suffer. If I’m not there to supervise every moment than it will fall apart. However, this morning I am realizing that by taking a break this weekend I am better focused today. Because I am always thinking about Functional Rustic there are no “new ideas”. That is to say, I do not feel inspired. Ideas that come to mind when I’m thinking about the business are just tasks for work. When I am doing a non-work activity and have an idea for the business it feels like an inspiration. Feeling inspired is critical for me as an artist and business owner.

Today my ideas feel fresh. I’m not feeling the level of anxiety I normally do. I still have fears and worries and doubts but, they’re not consuming today. My thoughts are a heavy load to carry – both positive and negative. As with carrying any heavy load – taking a break is necessary or I risk being crushed.

In graduate school I had a professor that shared some advice. She asked the class, “When you have 5 hours of work and only 3 hours to do it – What should you do first?” The class offered responses such as write down what tasks you have, determine the priorities of the tasks, do the hardest ones first etc. The professor smiles and responds, “Those are very predictable responses – that is what you have been taught. But the most effective first step when you have 3 hours to complete 5 hours of work is to take a break.”

She went on to explain how by taking a break you are able to better focus and concentrate. If you’re freaked out about not having enough time – you will rush and you will make mistakes. You feel stressed out the entire time. By taking a 5 minute break at the start, you can approach the situation with fresh eyes and a clear mind.

You already know this concept. When you come home from work you want to sit down and take a breather before cooking or cleaning or completing whatever household tasks require your attention. Utilize that same strategy in other aspects of your life.

Lesson of the Day: Take breaks. The load you are carrying is heavy and if you do not take time to rest it will crush you.

UPDATE: In the months since I first wrote this I am learning that “not working” is not the same as “taking a break”. Specifically, if I am not engaging in enjoyable or relaxing activities outside of my work than I will not feel relaxed.

The summer months at Functional Rustic involve a great deal of tasks – tending to the lawn and gardens, making repairs and generally trying to keep all our ducks in a row. (Haha, that’s funny because it is both literally and figuratively true – we raise Muscovy Ducks and a Bronze Turkey!)

Because of all the tasks that need to be done it is very easy to use my free time doing chores. Though there is nothing wrong with tending house – chores are not enjoyable for me. So, if my time down time – away from work – is spent doing house work then I’m not actually relaxing, recharging or giving myself a break.

2nd Lesson of the Day: Make sure you are actually unburdening yourself of the load you are carrying and not just exchanging it for a different heavy load.

Written by Sarah Palmer, Owner – Functional Rustic

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4 thoughts on “Take a Break or the Load You Carry Will Crush You – A Functional Rustic Approach

  1. That sounds like reasonable advice to take!

  2. I hope so. Your mention of advice reminds me of another favorite quote, “People ask for advice when they already know the answer but wish they didn’t.”

  3. Oh, I like that one Sarah because most of the time that is true; so … do we ask to reinforce what we really think we should do, or … just to torture ourselves a little more?

  4. We look for someone to tell us it is ok not to do the ‘right’ thing.

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