Why I took a work break
I recently took two weeks off of work. I needed to. I felt my body and soul beginning to break down from not stopping. I was pushing everything I had to the limit.
I work what most would describe as a stressful job; I protect civil liberties and civil rights for millions of people who don’t even know I exist.
After winning a huge campaign last November and jumping right into a legislative session, along with taking care of a whole family including two children under 6 and a hubby, life has been well... busy. I’ve been traveling across the country, speaking at and facilitating events and conferences and basically living out of my suitcase (literally) while still trying to be backstage home to cook dinner, love on my man and tuck my babies in at night. Yep, this is my life y’all!
So, I took two weeks off. I was deliberate and let my team know months in advance that ya girl was going to be gone. I meant it too. If the roof was on fire, call the fire department because in my world, nothing and no one existed but my kinfolk. And more specifically, the three who live with me. Many colleagues and friends were so intrigued by me taking this time away asking, “What are your plans?” or “Where are you going, somewhere fun?” But, I didn’t plan to go anywhere. I intended to do nothing, not even clean my house or cook much. I even took Instagram off of my phone because I didn't need any extra noise in my life.
During my break I slept, and when I say I slept, I woke up, fed myself, told my husband what he could cook and laid back down. Luckily, I have the kind of man that’s like “I got you boo, get that rest, don’t answer that call, just chill.” (Thank ya JESUS for a good man, chile). I took care of my body and that didn’t include working out or eating super healthy — I washed and deep conditioned my hair, ate all of the great food I had not had a chance to eat in a while, downloaded and danced myself into a frenzy, cuddled with my family on our couch, watched funny movies and watched in awe at the amazing blessings I have in my family everyday.
I also prayed more intentionally and asked the Lord for a number of things I wanted in my life. I flipped through the pages of books and binged-watched YouTube videos for my dream home desires. Most importantly, I thought a lot about what was next. I think we have all heard Oprah say a number of times to quiet yourself and your space and think through the right next move. Well, I thought about moves, and what they would mean for my family and our lifestyle. I wrote a little, and started to dream in color. What I came to understand about me is that I need more from and for me. I want to live in my full potential and fully enjoy life everyday. I want to show my children the world and expose them to culture. I want to take long walks and beautiful vacations with my husband one-on-one, so that we’ll always remember who we fell in love with, as two people who are flawed and brilliant and who openly and freely love each other.
I realized that in my current environment I was achieving, but not really living.
Yet, those accomplishments and the paths it took to get there are already starting to become a blur. On paper I am a badddd girl as my momma’ would say but getting to that place took a lot out of me and no one talks about that.
The past two weeks reminded me something and I hope you take this heart: I, and you, have the right and the ability to choose what I need to do to just be. For two weeks I was on no one’s timetable. I didn’t owe anyone a call or email. I didn’t have to support or take my kids to everything under the sun.
I remembered very quickly what was important to me — and that is my family and me. I got quiet enough without any distractions to identify what I needed to be healthy and whole and from that moment of clarity I started moving differently. I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t, the lifestyle I long for became more clear and so did my prayers. Life, even as write, is changing because I am beginning to see possibilities.
I encourage you to evaluate when you last took a break — not a vacation, or the break you may get during a holiday, or maternity leave (because we know maternity leave is not a holiday) — but an actual break. Now, grab your calendar and carve out a few days, a weekend, or go big like me and look for two solid weeks, and plan to SHUT IT DOWN. Do whatever you want that makes you feel human and not like the workhorse you may have been. Turn off and just breathe.
After your pause and when you are ready, make deliberate choices about what you need to be and feel whole. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.