On breaks, and why I need them regularly

Two years ago, it was because Finn was born, and I carved out for myself maternity leave. I returned so refreshed, so excited about my work that I repeated myself the next summer, sans a hospital stay. Another great move—I came with a new-found love for blogging. So I’m doing it again.

Starting next Monday, I’m taking a wee break. It’s for six weeks, and its purpose is for me to keep going strong as I write this blog and lead SLM. I’ve learned that by stepping away just a few feet for a focused amount of time, I regain perspective, I find something new and sweet to smell, and I can enjoy the fruits of my labor along the journey.

You probably won’t notice I’m gone, to be honest. There will continually be new words published here (both mine that I’ve already written, and others’), and I’ll still pop on social media for a new minutes daily. I’ve also learned that you spend more time offline during these summer months, too, which makes me terribly happy—I like that you’re camping and road-tripping and sipping iced tea while the kids splash in the pool.

I’ll still be working during my break—most of my work hours will be spent pouring my heart into my next book, about which I’m crazily and vulnerably excited. I’ll also be rolling up my sleeves and painting, hammering, and screwing in lightbulbs so that we can move in to our new place. I can’t wait to show you pictures of our progress when I return.

But I’ll also be taking the kids to the pool. Camping around this gorgeous slice of the world. Reading just-for-fun books. Having people over for dinner. And making said dinner outside over open flames.

Today at (in)courage I’m sharing a few ways you can join me in taking a summer break over the next few months—they’re not just for kids, you know.

I love summer, but even more—I love living life well. When I pace myself, I can better run the race guided by the map I’ve been handed. There’s more to life than staring at a computer screen…. I hope you join me.

What could you take a break from this summer?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Cool and inspirational. Here’s to living better! Thanks for this. Made me smile first thing this morning 🙂

  2. I hope you have a wonderful break! It’s amazing what a well deserved rest will do for us. Although I don’t have any great breaks planned for us this summer, I am trying to cut back on some of the “extras” to focus on getting our house decluttered. Maybe I can squeeze in some fun reading time, too.

  3. Hope you will have a wonderful break! I can understand the kind of stress you are going through like i though when i first given birth to my little princess.

  4. This is so inspiring for me. In a couple of weeks I’ll be going to Guadalajara to visit some friends and I plan to disconnect myself completely. As you said this is a great way to gain perspective and what I’m doing right now and maybe to re-evaluate my goals.

  5. Robin from Frugal Family Times says:

    Have a great break, Tsh. I hear you about needing them. I scale my work way back in the summer and the rest of the year reaps all the benefits. The kids are young for such a short time and there’s so many adventures to have with them. Including lazy summer afternoons with a good book and keeping themselves entertained while their folks DIY. 🙂

  6. Dear Tsh,
    I wish you a beautiful break! My husband noticed I needed a break yesterday, (too many rainy days in a row can really affect one’s mood!) and so I was sent to bed at 7pm with a favorite book while he handled bath and bedtime for the kids. 12 hours later, I am renewed! I hope this vacation renews you and that you have a fantastic time away! Sincerely, Elizabeth Lane

  7. Good on you for taking a break. I hope you have a wonderful time of renewal, family, and swinging that hammer.
    I’m taking my 18-month old swimming for the first time on Saturday. If she loves it, that’s how I plan to spend the rest of the summer. Splashing.

  8. I definitely feel the sense of needing a break around here, so we are planning a trip next month. But I think that might not be enough. We need some easy days around home too. Just days to relax and do what we want. It’s harder to do that at home since there are so many other things to do (dishes, laundry, etc), but taking that time off is usually more important than we realize.

  9. Have a great break! I’d like to take a break from cleaning this summer but that probably wouldn’t work out so well. 🙂

  10. Dear Tsh,
    I wish you a beautiful break! I know how you feel as I’m also waiting for my summer break next month. It’s been almost 12 months without a real break and I’m really tired! I am looking forward for my camping in Berlengas, a little island in Portugal. It’s near home but it’s such a paradise!

  11. I took a sort of unintentional break from my blog for 2 weeks, and I was thinking at the end of it that I should just plan that for next year, because I feel like I’m coming back to it more refreshed and with more ideas than before.

    I’m also trying to take a break by making dinners fairly simple and not fussy most nights. And really, having the kids out of school feels like a huge break to me, too.! Enjoy your break!

  12. I have been on a bit of a blog break as of late as well. It has been wonderful. I needed the time to get my garden in, and my baby chicks out of the house 🙂 I feel refreshed, and hopefully will be able to get back into blogging soon. It is nice to have a break though, just like if I were working outside the home I would take a vacation. Enjoy your time off!

  13. Amen to THAT! Enjoy your break!

  14. Have a great break. We all need a break sometimes.

  15. Breaks are a good thing – enjoy!

  16. I will miss your posts but especially with writing… it is so important to recharge. Enjoy!

  17. I love this. It’s so true that we can be glued to the screen and life around us is passing us by. I definitely find the more I unplug and connect face to face with my child in longer spurts, she behaves like an angel non-stop, and we are both happier for it. We have camping and take a road trip on our summer bucket list. Here are some of my favorite road trip items to have for those long drives: http://familysponge.com/play/travel/must-haves-on-a-road-trip-with-children/

    Reading books for fun (and not just for business and personal growth) sounds like a great idea. We are moving too, so inviting friends over for dinner would be nice. Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Have a wonderful, well deserved break, Tsh!

  19. Enjoy your time away!

  20. Enjoy your break! 🙂

    I’m thinking of taking a break from Facebook…

  21. These are such true words! I’m an educator, and while I didn’t become a teacher for the summers off, I’ve long appreciated how vital they are to being able to be the teacher I want to be. I am one week into this year’s break (furlough days cut our year very short), and I can’t believe how much more energized I already feel. Wishing you rest, rejuvenation, and really good summer memories.

  22. cynthia redmond says:

    this may sound odd but your statement:
    —I love living life well
    brought tears to my eyes. I find that when words resonate, it makes me feel oddly emotional. I wish I had a blog to take a break from- I need to find the thing in my life that I can put on hold so I can live more intentionally for the summer.
    Thank you for this food for thought

  23. I agree with the last comment – I was so moved by the line “I love living life well.”
    I plan on taking a break this summer by traveling with my girls back to Illinois and Ohio to spend time with family. And we’ve planned a little getaway weekend in Wisconsin with old college friends and their kids. Somehow going home always seems like a break (until the end, where you’re so ready to get back to your current home!) 🙂

  24. Totally with you on this. I’ve been amazed at the quality of life change when I finally realized…after decades of feeling scattered, overwhelmed, pulled in so many directions…that I could choose to not be busy. I would feel so jealous of those people who took time to rest, relax, separate themselves from the vortex of doing, rushing, running, apologizing for being late, etc. Cool blog! Have a great vacation.

  25. I’m doing the same thing, Tsh. 🙂

    Enjoy your break!

  26. I’m having my first baby this summer and although I was a little iffy about maternity leave (I want to take 6 weeks, but please call if a major project comes up), I’ve been so busy the past couple of months that I’m beginning to relish the idea of maternity leave. And since I’ve busted a!* for the past few weeks – I’m grateful that I won’t feel so guilty. So I’m looking forward to shutting off my laptop, putting down my BlackBerry, and spending six (blissful, likely sleep deprived, challenging) weeks holding my newborn son and learning the ropes of being a new mom. It sounds exhausting, but I think this is the best break I’m ever going to take.

  27. Have a wonderful break! They are definitely necessary in order to be at your best. I’m hoping to get some kind of break, hopefully in nature, this summer.

  28. I’m doing the same thing for 4 weeks at the beach with family and friends. I am busy scheduling some guest posts now so I can enjoy some much needed play time with the kids. Thanks for encouraging others to do the same.

  29. Enjoy a much-deserved break. Looking forward to reading your posts when you get back. Safe travels…

  30. Enjoy your break! We don’t have any travel plans until probably the end of summer, but I can always use a reminder to step away from the computer or slow down with the pressures of life.

  31. I couldn’t agree with you more Tsh. While the kids are out of school I’m also taking a break from the timely obligations that I deal with during the school year. No planned or scheduled extra curricular activities this summer. Just hanging at the pool and going on road trips. Also for the first time in 7 years I’m taking a 12 day vacation without my children. Part of which will even be without my husband. We all just need to get away sometimes.! Enjoy!!

  32. Katherine Willis Pershey says:

    Aaah, I had missed that post about your book – may was a month of far too much rush. I’ve been eager to hear what you are working on.

    I would be happy to send you a free copy of my book, e- or print; it has a chapter about slow living called Dirty Windows and Homemade Bread. It’s the one largely inspired by the Ortberg quote about hurry. Might be a resource. Or at least something to read on a long summer afternoon. 🙂

  33. Lovely! While I’m not taking a full on break this summer.. I am taking a break in my own way by – thinking about every project that comes my way before plunging in,
    saying ‘yes’ to my 4 yo who wants to play board games, bake cookies and cakes and read books,
    saying’yes’ to having fun and flowing with the current instead of against it, and saying’no’ to anything that sucks up my time without adding value to my life. These 4 little things have already made a HUGE difference to my summer! Enjoy your break, Tsh!

  34. Have a lovely break! We are enjoying time at the pool, at the creek (a lot!), and we’ll be going on a real vacation for 10 days! So excited!

  35. I love how you set the scene,—and let us all be guests, too. Thanks.
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