This Is Your Permission to Take a Break

Posted on November 4, 2021

sitting on a bench in the woods

Today’s Morning Buzz is by Stephanie Chase, a librarian, former longtime municipal department head, and organizational development and strategy consultant in Portland, OR. Stephanie is the Executive Director of the Libraries of Eastern Oregon, a 15 county resource-sharing cooperative, and founding principal of Constructive Disruption. Connect oLinkedIn and Twitter and read her past ELGL posts.

This morning, I invite you to take a moment to stop. When was the last time you took a break — today, this week, this month? When was the last time you got up and walked away from your desk, or stood up from your work-from-home spot?

I likely don’t need to tell any of us that there is plenty of research out there on how important it is to take breaks, build in reflection time, stand up every hour, ensure you are taking your vacation time… a simple Google search will give you all the articles you need (and all the language you need to justify it at work). But we are uniformly terrible at doing it: we skip our 15-minute breaks, feel guilty about taking a moment to grab a cup of coffee, eat our lunch in front of our computers or at our desk, don’t schedule our vacation time, start work in our pajamas at home and keep working after dinner.

So here’s your permission to take a break. 

Today, why don’t you:

  • set aside 15 minutes to read or just think while drinking a cup of coffee or tea
  • get up once an hour and walk somewhere, even if it’s just to another room in your house or down the hall at work
  • take a break and spend some time outside
  • schedule or request your next day off
  • spend time with your calendar and determine when in the next three months your next real vacation is going to be — I’m talking about blocking at least three, but more like 5 (or more, if you can swing it), work days off in a row
  • and, before the end of the work day, make a commitment of what you’re going to do tomorrow to keep up the habit.


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