• A@W Autistic Reporter

How "taking a break" helps employment matters

If you want to work well, whether you have a job or are currently looking for one, you need to appreciate the power of "taking a break". Having time off away from your daily activities matters. It can re-energize you, re-focus you and celebrate your "you-ness", as well as help you to see what is important in your life.

Unemployed and taking a break

I guess if you still do not have a job and you're reading this, a first thought might be, 'well, all i do is lay about, why take a break when I want a job?'. My response is this-- which ever way that it is that you spend your days currently, be it doing nothing or constantly searching for jobs, that has become your habit. It has got you stuck in a rut. Your mind is stuck THAT WAY and it's holding you in place. Have you ever thought to just get away from it all? To proverbially run into the wilderness? To be free? Taking a break allows your mind to be at peace in a new space.

For many of us autistics, we may crave freedom, but we are fearful of change. We may also be unable to afford a weekend away, or we find comfort in our routines. Some of us may argue that taking a break is illogical when the goal is to find work.

However, when you form a habit or hold an ingrained belief system, it shrinks your idea of possibility; you now see the world in this one way, and assume that way is the correct way. Perhaps it is not right? Could there be another way, a better way? ...Hold on to this notion as we explore the perspective of those who have jobs.

Workers taking a break

If you have a job, you may more readily agree to take a break and see the benefits of it. Taking a break away from work clears your mind -- that's the whole idea of a working week of only 5 days of the 7 available! The weekend was meant to offer space from your work experience, giving you clarity to face the next challenge, and the next. Yet with growing needs of businesses in the global world and the general notion of "overworked as successful", more and more people are taking less and less time off.

Time off away from work, completely dropping work, not doing emails, not being in an environment that reminds you of work is beneficial to your health. If you feel you "simply cannot take time off because [insert fear here]", you are working too much already. Yes, you have responsibilities, deadlines, and people may depend on you.... but YOU matter too, and time away gives you the ability to be your best self and bring that into your job, instead of living on borrowed time and coffee.

How to take a break so that it is worthwhile for your life

We have established that taking time off has benefits. These are:

- To be able to think more clearly

- To calm the mind and body

- To break away from habits

- To welcome change

- To bring your best to the work environment

But how? How??? How do you have a good break, and on a budget, if need be? Well, the first thing to do is go somewhere that is not familiar, but a place that has familiarity. The second thing you need to do is NOT fill your day with the same things you usually partake in. If you're on a break, try to avoid checking your emails first thing, or drinking a coffee first thing. You do not need to stop all your luxuries, comforts and routines, but try to include significant points of difference. This will help you break free of your ritualistic thoughts and patterns, and begin welcoming change. The easiest way to do this is simply to change the side of bed you currently sleep on. It really encourages lateral thinking and helps you think differently. If you notice yourself falling into a pattern again, switch sides again! If you can welcome change in a small way (like changing bed sides), you will start introducing new notions into your mind; possibility appears!

For your time away, it is best if you can go somewhere that is not your home for at least 4 days, with 3 nights. Ideally go solo, to a place in nature, away from your ideas of "job". If you are travelling, include a few self-care purchases, like paying for a massage or indulgent breakfast out. If you are not able to travel and have no money to spend, consider 4 days of visiting a garden alone, and sitting under a tree all day. Self-care by bringing a packed lunch with all your favourites.

You need to shake it up and do something different.

Bring a pencil case with pens and pencils and a notepad with you. Take time to write freely, allowing all those thoughts to come. Have your therapist's number ready, to process any strong feelings. And then just "BE".

Taking a break is not simply about a having holiday-- it's about taking time to reflect on your life and how you think it's going. While having time away, you may re-think your job seeking plans, or find an idea to better your current employment situation. By giving yourself physical space, you gift yourself emotional space. And in this place, there is the opportunity to discover your best self.

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