A break? What kind of break? During our recent family spring break vacation, it occured to me that there is yet one more benefit to having adopted a dog last year. It hit me, while standing on our hotel porch, in driving rain, listening to pounding surf and whooshing wind, throwing a ball for our dog, that she has created a built in excuse for me, mom, to prioritize taking a break. You see, I adopted the dog. It was not my husbands idea necessarily, and while, of course he loves the dog, she is primarily my repsonsiblity . I make it a priority to run her everyday, I take her to the office everyday, to the vet etc. She is a bit obsessive about fetching, so it is easy, just find an open space, and throw her ball repeatedly until she is tired.
But back to my realization, about added benefits and breaks. When I worked in the hospitality industry (bars), employees who smoked, always took regular breaks to smoke, while non smoking employees often put off breaks, and did not prioritize taking five minutes off the floor. We were often be resentful about it, but did not have the built in excuse, reminder, craving that gave us the extra boost to step away, and sit down. I still get resentful about people taking smoke breaks, however, I realized that day in the storm, that the dog is my smoke break. I realized this after we returned from vacation, while standing in the dog park for our daily fetching session. I also begin to wonder why I need any excuse to stand outside and listen to the birds, soak in the sun (or rain) and take a break from laundry, dishes, battling children, potty training preschoolers, emails, plumbers, you name it.
So why do we need an excuse? Why isn’t it good enough to just say “I need a break”? With no cigarettes beckoning, no dog jumping up and down hysterically waiting for you to throw the ball, no headache forcing you to lie down and take a minute to re-group.
What if all we took preventative breaks? Maintenance breaks? What if we made breaks our priority because we believe we need and deserve them, and because it makes us happier more effective moms, wives, and colleagues for the long haul? Do you believe you would benefit from five minutes outside or on the couch every few hours? Try it. You do deserve it. Don’t wait for the headache, backpain, or crisis before taking care of yourself!