Often times we are "go-go-go" in our lives. Work, school, family, friends, health, taxes, AH!! We are busy and move so quickly, we sometimes forget that pressing the pause button is even an option! But there are many times that taking a short (or long) pause can be really beneficial!
Here are five different types of pauses that can help you manage the chaos of a life in motion:
1. A pause in conversation
Sometimes we need to take a quick pause in conversation to gather our thoughts, to answer more authentically, or to de-escalate emotions before we respond. If you ever feel a conversation slipping away from you, take a few quick breaths and assess where the conversation is headed before needing to respond.
2. A pause to check-in
Sometimes we get to the end of a long day and realize we never stopped to take inventory of how we are feeling or responding to the day. A great pause is one where we take a moment to check-in on ourselves.
Once or twice throughout the day, ask yourself questions like "How am I feeling?", "How am I showing up today?", "How does today fit into the bigger scheme of my week? Month? Year?", "What can I do for myself today to find some peace and reflection amidst the chaos?"
3. A pause to feel better or take a break
Sometimes we just need to take a break, and this a great use of a natural pause in our day. Even if it's just 5 minutes, let yourself relax, stretch, drink some water, take care of your needs, and then get back to it. We all need breaks to keep ourselves functioning at our best, don't allow yourself to feel bad or shameful about taking these few moments a day to take care of yourself - we're only human after all!
4. A pause in behaviors/habits
Ever get tired of a habit or a behavior that is coming up consistently in your life? It's hard to think about pausing these things "forever" sometimes, but it's a lot easier to convince ourselves to take a break for 1-2 weeks. This is a chance to see how we are feeling with the absence of the behavior or habit, how it impacts us, and then use this information to decide if it's worth it to take a longer break, or simply to adjust the behavior or habit to be healthier in our lives.
5. A longer pause for big change
There are times in many of our lives where we are contemplating big changes, whether it's a career move, a new relationship or relationship dynamic, a big location change, or something else. If you have the capability and security to do so, it can be extremely beneficial to take a longer amount of time (several days to several weeks) to let your system reset, to allow yourself to process and shift through the pros and cons of the decision, and to approach from a place of calm instead of chaos.
We live in a society that tells us we have to be going all the time, and often times that we should have our "next big move" planned while we are still embroiled in the stressors or situations that are causing us to seek change.
While this type of pause can feel more daunting, it may be just the type of pause you need to feel ready to encounter the next big thing on your terms. Often times these pauses can also focus on healing, doing the work that the day-day of your life embroiled in the chaos prevents you from doing.
Written by Connor Catron, LSW and therapist and at Grit Therapy. Connor specializes in working with tweens, teens, and young adults (ages 12+) and helps with depression, anxiety, relationship issues, trauma, school and work issues and self-harm/suicidal ideation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org learn more about working with Connor!