Breaks.

Trigger Warning: My family has decided to cancel our BIG annual family gathering. So, be ready for tons of vulnerability and all the emotions. This isn't a journal piece, but y'all... it's all I have:


SLOW living is not a thing if there are no breaks involved.

Few things indicate an unhealthy relationship, like the absence of separation. If you cannot part [from work, a person, a situation, a drink, or a food] for a short period, there is typically an addiction or an unhealthy thought pattern (mindset, belief, culture) underneath it. This fact is especially true once you examine the benefits of breaks.

Planned Days Away


Who wouldn’t love a crowded airport, shoulder to shoulder with a stranger, drinking a scolding tea with Biscoff cookies? Or perhaps a moment embracing our loved ones mask-free, a guiltless cough/choke/sneeze, or a kiss on the cheek from and for grandma(s)?


And now, with COVID cases skyrocketing in most states in America, we ain't going nowhere any time soon. I loved this opinion piece in The Washington Post about canceling Thanksgiving (or the Day of Mourning) travel. And so, instead of "vacation," - we are going to talk "taking breaks." Yes, we've previously discussed the importance of taking breaks at work and siestas, but today we chat about PLANNED days away.

Yes, PLANNED. Did you know that studies show that MERELY planning a break increases happiness?

That should be no surprise to anyone. There is nothing like KNOWING all the goodness that awaits you. But what we instinctually know, research backs up. This quote is my favorite from Matthew Killingsworth, “In a sense, we start to ‘consume’ a trip as soon as we start thinking about it.” In the same National Geographic article, the contributors discussed the joy of talking to others about a trip and collecting books, maps, and envisioning the food's taste.


But, let's be clear, it was written in May 2020, when we all believed that by the summer, we'd be liberated and COVID-free. Hold on...

Okay, I'm back.

Yes, we all need purposed time away from our daily grind - even if that doesn't include traveling.

Research shows Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world. They also take less vacation, work longer days and retire later. - Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP

This pre-COVID behavior is kinda stingy, because according to MF magazine, " If Americans took all of the vacations they were entitled to instead of leaving days on the table every year, it would result in an additional 580 million more days of travel per year—a $160 billion boost to the economy."


We have to resist the American norm of overworking, especially during the pandemic, when it's easy to be convinced you don't need a break. It's so simple to think, I can't go anywhere, and I already work in my PJs (with Netflix as my background noise), so why take a break?


Well, because taking a break from work is healthy. "People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals," says Torberg. But honestly, while doing the research, the article that absolutely resonated was this from Mental Floss.


Here is a condensed list of my favs:

  1. Vacations Can Cut Your Risk for Heart Attack

  2. Vacations Boost Your Energy Reserves

  3. Vacations Can Help Get You a Raise

  4. Vacations Help Keep Your Mind Calm

  5. Vacation Happiness Is Contagious

  6. Vacation May Help You Live a Longer, Healthier Life

  7. Vacations Force You to Improve Your Workflow

  8. Vacations Can Make You a Better Boss

The Conclusion.


I know I announced that next week we wouldn't be nuzzled around the fire in our childhood homes, in close contact with about 20-25 of our dearest family members, doing our circle of gratitude prayer, being loved on by both mamas, my daddy, grandmas, siblings, aunties, uncles, cousins, best friends, and eating food that fills my tummy and my soul.


WAIT. Can I take a moment to process how fast a life long tradition changed before moving on...

Whew. But that won't stop me from TONS of pass-around* calls, lounging in big blankets, giving love and attention to my people, binge-watching 100k shows/movies/docuseries, reading EVERYTHING, all the while indulging in deliciousness. I have so much to plan and so much to take OFF my list.


*the pass around is when a family member is missing - we call and then do a family pass around to get the details from everyone there (and be told how much we are missed).


So with that said, next week, we will be on break.

This will be our first full break, in over 16 months (pre-publish). But we OUT.


Praying that you will also walk away from your daily grind & take the time you need.


Shalom, my Virtual Peeps.

Shelby