It’s Okay to Take a Break

It’s okay to take a break when you’re struggling mentally, physically, or both.

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed. We all have so many commitments to keep up with that being able to make time for yourself can be rare. It’s okay to take a break, though, and if you are struggling, I urge you to consider stepping back.

I had to step back from this blog during the first several months of 2021 due to an overwhelming sense of burnout and poor mental health.

I’m finally feeling much better and am back to blogging, and after taking such a long break, I’m now enjoying it just as much as I was when I first started this blog!

That’s not to say that I ever disliked writing here, it’s just that I got so wrapped up in the idea of making money through the blog that it started to feel like a second job. My full-time job is demanding and I really struggle with my mental health due to it, but building up this blog until it felt like a job took a lot of the fun out of it.

So I stepped back and took some much-needed time off. I started to read for pleasure again without taking notes the whole time for an upcoming review. I stopped waking up every morning to scour and post Kindle deals (which took over an hour each day!). I stopped using Twitter. After a couple of weeks like this, I had rediscovered my passion for reading and writing and wanted to jump back into it. However, I forced myself to wait just a little longer, to make sure I was ready. And it’s paid off.

When should you take a break?

There are too many reasons to list here for why you might need to take a break from some aspect of your life.

Some examples, however, include:

  • When you feel like you never have “me time”
  • You find yourself stressed over mundane or trivial things
  • Your sleep is interrupted by worries over what you need to get done the next day
  • If you no longer find pleasure in the things you once did
  • Spending time with people you love start to feel like a chore
  • Your body and/or mind is simply exhausted

Not everyone can step back from work or their commitments, however. That is a privilege that not everyone has. However, if you are in the position to take a break and you need one, do it. It’s not the end of the world to take off a sick day from work or to use your vacation time or to cancel plans to work in some alone time. It’s 100% okay.

While taking a single “mental health” day isn’t going to fix everything, it will give you a moment to simply catch your breath, and sometimes, that can be life-saving.

What if you aren’t able to take a break?

If you are not in the position to take time off work or to set aside your commitments, then you still have some options!

Try to find time during your busy day to work in at least half an hour of time for self-care. For example, after putting the kids to bed you could have a glass of wine while relaxing in a bubble bath. Or, you could wake up a hour earlier before work and use that time for reading or journaling.

If you can’t manage to make time for something like that, perhaps listen to some relaxing music or a self-help audiobook on your commute.

Your mental and physical health is important. Sometimes it’s hard to make time to take care of yourself, but it’s literally one of the most important things that you can do! So please try to make time, even if it’s just a few minutes here and there.

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking – A Review

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The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking
Nonfiction | Home & Living | Self-Help
Published by Penguin Life
Released September 1, 2016
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars

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Photo by Stella Rose on Unsplash

“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.”

Meik Wiking is the CEO of an organization called the Happiness Research Institute and considers himself an expert in happiness. How do people in Denmark stay so cheerful? After all, citizens of Denmark are thought to be the happiest in the world. Part of the secret is practicing hygge.

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Denmark. Photo by Max Adulyanukosol on Unsplash

Hygge isn’t a word or concept that is easily defined, but the sense that I got from Wiking’s book is that hygge is anything that makes you feel cozy and comfortable. My sense of hygge actually fits in with Dictionary.com‘s definition:

“the feeling of coziness and contentment evoked by simple comforts, as being wrapped in a blanket, having conversations with friends or family, enjoying food, etc.”

Throughout The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking gives us many easy ways to bring hygge into our everyday lives. Many of these suggestions are things that are universally associated with coziness, like candles, blankets, and great company.

Before I get into the rest of the review, I want to share my favorite portion of this book, regarding a Danish tradition that I had never heard of but that I find morbidly delightful. At Danish birthday parties, there is a character called Kagemand (Cakeman) who is a giant gingerbread man. Cakes are baked in his image and decorated with candles and decorations. And then, this:

Part of the tradition is that the birthday boy or girl cuts the throat of the Cakeman while the other kids scream.”

What?!

I found it difficult to rate this book over three stars because I didn’t learn anything new from it. Perhaps that’s because my partner and I have always gone out of our way to make our home comforting and cozy and we already practice most of Wiking’s suggestions. (We have so many candles and blankets. It’s absurd.) However, if you want a short and sweet book to give you some ideas to turn a chaotic home into the kind of place you look forward to coming home to, you might want to pick this book up.

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Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

The presentation of The Little Book of Hygge is wonderful. I read it on my Kindle, and it was a pleasant experience. There are a ton of cute drawings throughout the pages, and the chapters are nice and short, making it a very easy book to read. Another cute aspect is that there are recipes scattered throughout.

In the end, I’m not sorry I read this book and I don’t feel that I wasted my time, but I do feel that I could have gotten the same information from reading a much shorter article on hygge rather than an entire book.


Have you read The Little Book of Hygge? How do you stay cozy? Let me know in the comments!




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How a Single Trip to the Library Changed My Life

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I had a really rough time in high school, as do many people. I was horribly depressed, had crippling social anxiety, felt like an epic loser, and fantasized about suicide. At a time when I really should have been in therapy or on anti-depressants, I had no outlet for my building stress and no one to talk to. My free time was spent being absorbed is escapism through video games such as The Sims and in books.

Things didn’t change after graduation. The few friends I had moved away for school, my family’s house burned down, and when I wasn’t working I was still spending all of my time just trying to mentally escape how depressed I was.

One day, after we had settled into the new house my family had rented, my mother and I made one of our frequent trips to our local library. I picked up the few books I had reserved and then wandered among the shelves for a while.

I came across a shelf of books about Buddhism, meditation, and mindfulness, and picked up several books by the Dalai Lama, Alan Watts, and Thich Nhat Hanh.

I’m not sure what prompted me to check out those books. I wasn’t particularly interested in meditation or Buddhism. I didn’t know any Buddhists aside from the group of monks that would periodically come to the farmer’s market I worked at to stock up on honey. I’m not even positive I’d heard of mindfulness before. However, regardless of what prompted nineteen-year-old me to check those books out of the library, I’m forever grateful that I did.

One of the books I picked up was The Dalai Lama’s How to Practice the Way to a Meaningful Life. The book, and the others I had gotten, somehow motivated me enough to start putting their lessons into practice.

(Side note: I soon purchased my own copy, which I still have. It’s easy to see how well-loved this book has been.)

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I started meditating every day and slowly became 100% happier.

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I meditated daily; just for a few minutes at first, then eventually ten to fifteen minutes at a time. Eventually, I felt myself growing happier. All of my motivation reappeared. I applied to a university in the mountains and was accepted. While in college, I became more interested in Buddhist teachings, read up on philosophy and mindfulness, and continued meditating daily. While I still had some anxieties, I became much happier and allowed myself to focus on real life rather than escapism.

After my first two years at that college, I ended up dropping out and moving to Asheville, NC (I had been studying political science and it was making me feel apathetic and frustrated). I made friends who also meditated, and was in a city where many of its inhabitants spend their time focusing on spiritual pursuits. I was finally in an environment that promoted happiness and relaxation.

After a few years of meditating, I became the happiest I’ve ever been. I felt motivated to exercise and eat healthily. I went hiking every week and made a ton of great friends. My life finally felt worth living, and it was all due to a trip to the library. 


Has a book ever changed your life? Let me know in the comments.