When you wake up in the morning already exhausted, already dreading the day, then a break may be needed. Sometimes, this is a physical break, time to unwind. Most times it is a spiritual break needed to remember some of God’s truth. God can use physical signs to remind us of spiritual truths and we need to listen. Even if the pause is just a few minutes to read some Scripture, say a short prayer, it can help us keep from being overwhelmed. If you understand this feeling well, consider your mind and body are telling you to take a break.
Below are several signs to look for in life:
Dreading the Day Before It Starts
As mentioned above, dreading the day is a typical first sign to take a step back and relax a bit. When your first thoughts are “I can’t do this” or “This is all too much” and life feels overwhelming, it is a sign you need a break. Dread most often comes from fear and the fear is based on the expectations set before us for the day. If this is your thought pattern for a day, remember that God’s grace is sufficient.
We all do it, procrastination. Dread causes us to procrastinate. We may not be willing to get started because we fear not having enough time to complete a project, but putting it off means the time crunch will be tighter. It is a tough cycle to break once we get stuck. However, discipline will break this cycle, but it must include times of rest. For some, this can mean getting up before the rest of the family to be fully awake and ready for the day while it is still peaceful. A time of prayer and Bible study can also be helpful.
Lack of Focus
When our mind races with a huge to-do list and we find it difficult to stay focused, it can mean it is time for a break. We must remember that we can commit our work to the Lord. This means focusing on what He desires we do over our own agenda. If lack of focus is a problem then try praying over each part of your day. This helps us focus on what must be done, not what we necessarily want to be done. This time of prayer can help us anticipate interruptions that are inevitable so we do not get irritable.
Another sign that a break is needed is irritability. This is becoming irritable with day to day stuff like traffic, social media, or our family. This means we need some quiet reflection time to just unwind and let go. This is also a form of coping mechanism as we can get angry at strangers in traffic without repercussion. We may not be angry at the traffic or any specific person, but this could be misdirected anger that is seeping out in ways that are perceived as safer. When you find yourself in such a mood, remember Proverbs 29:11. Then, take 15 minutes to sit quietly and read, or do something monotonous and relaxing. As you relax, remember how important it is built in time to unwind in your schedule.
When we procrastinate, we miss deadlines. This could be deadlines at work or missing bill payments, but if we focus on small steps each day then the bigger deadlines do not seem as overwhelming. We need to make the most of our time.
A lack of rest can cause our minds to go a bit wild with questions about the unknown. This causes anxiety. Anxiety is a sign that we need to take a step back and practice self-care. It tends to show up when we are overwhelmed with something like our schedule, but that worry morphs into excessive concern our children will be in an accident. The Bible tells us each day has enough trouble of its own, so we should not be anxious for anything. To be able to do this, we need to stay active, drink water, and get plenty of rest.
Many people stress eat. Food allows us to procrastinate, numb anxiety, and much more, but it is often a sign we just need more rest. This includes physical and spiritual rest. Jesus is the bread of life, so instead of stuffing our face with junk food, we can go to the Bible.
Our culture is one that rewards overplanning and success, as well as multitasking, but taking on too much can be tough on us over time. Though society may look positively on checking multiple things off the calendar, it is hard on us physically and mentally. Though prioritizing is underestimated, it should not be based on what the Bible tells us. Prioritizing allows us to do a few things well instead of many things with mediocrity at best. This also means we are focusing on the most important things and able to let other things go without regretting it later.
When we are lacking in rest, our bodies tend to slow down. This is a natural form of our system telling us something is off. This can lead to illness or just a sick feeling that encourages us to rest and relax for a while. Pay attention to illness to see if it is God’s provision to rest for a bit.
Inability to Pray
The inability to pray due to lack of focus or time is a sign we need to step back and relax. This is usually a waving red flag and a sign we need self-discipline enough to push through and pray anyway. When we pray, even if it is for nothing in particular, it is a time of rest for the body and soul that can leave us refreshed.