The Power of Pause and Restoration

SEEMA columnist Sweta Vikram talks about the importance of taking time to pause and restore yourself in this week’s The Balanced Life.

As an author, Ayurveda-based mindset and wellness coach, columnist, and speaker—I love what I do. What’s also a fact is that a large majority of my day is dedicated to helping others thrive on their own terms. I am emotionally invested in people’s well-being, stories, and mindset transformation. The work is intense and takes a lot out of me, which is not a complaint. I am grateful to be a part of people’s healing journey. But I intentionally disengage on a weekly basis from social media or the news to recharge, so I am fully present for my clients and those I care about in my personal and professional life.

Creating space in our lives can be a transformative experience. In the last week of December 2020, I disconnected from social media. Don’t get me wrong; I love (for the most part) what I see, learn, share, or engage with online. But it can also leave us depleted and in a hyper-stimulated state. Hello, VATA imbalance! You have heard me talk about vata imbalance for months now—you know it can lead to sleep, nerve, and digestive disorders in people. I can’t preach what I don’t practice.

After submitting my year-end articles to editors, wishing my team at my day job happy holidays, and leaving my clients with holiday tips for stress and anxiety relief, I disconnected. I wanted the time to pause, reflect, replenish, and restore myself. I used the last week of a difficult year to go inward without any distractions. A few of my friends warned me that doing so might make me uncomfortable, so I should delete the app from my phones. Honestly, I felt no FOMO (fear of missing out). The intentional social media break felt like the right thing to do. Being away from my emails and non-urgent phone calls brought me out of the reactionary mode of existence (respond yesterday!) that a large majority of us exist in a therapeutic state of pause where I didn’t need to immediately fill up space. It was a time of deep cleanse and letting go.

I asked three women across different business industries about their thoughts on pause and restoration. It was so interesting to hear how taking a break, disconnecting, and pausing has changed the quality of their lives and impacted their business too.

Ruchi Pinniger is the Founder/CEO of Watch Her ProsperTM who believes successful, driven, and motivated women are in the mindset of “GO GO GO. Do.” Ruchi believes that this “on-mode” is what holds us back. She is an advocate for intentional breaks. “Without time to pause and restore, we don’t allow ourselves time to wander. “Make a commitment to yourself. Start by calendaring your ‘unscheduled time’ if you need to. Empowering ourselves with this gift of time is what creates new ideas and possibilities,” she adds. Ruchi admits that quietening her mind has allowed her the opportunity to envision her ideal life and business. “It has allowed me to know what areas I should focus on, when was the right time to raise my rates, say no to the wrong clients, say yes to the right opportunities.”

Kara Freedman Launching Baked by Nature in March of 2020. Before life without COVID, Kara describes herself as an “over scheduler who thrived in a busy environment. “The pandemic has given me the time, and thus an appreciation for down time, calmness and the power of taking a break.” While she still thrives on being busy, Kara has also learned that she does better when there is balance of pause and restoration alternating with busyness. I love Kara’s specific example, “When I allow myself to have a night off or enjoy a relaxing weekend, I am able to be more productive when working toward what I need to get done. I have found that when I set hard deadlines for myself, I am able to push through to get work more efficiently if I allow myself breaks when I need them.” Kara intends to keep this balance going and honor her need for down time even after things return to normal.

Ruchi Murlidhar is an Iyengar Yoga teacher who lives in sunny California. Before she became a yoga instructor, Ruchi was in corporate America leading a fast-paced life: long work hours, deadlines, and one large project after another without a break. Even her family vacations meant signing up for activities and exhausting everyone around her with her energy and passionate lifestyle. She reached the burnout stage rather fast with her intensity. “Pausing to restore is life transforming,” Ruchi reminds us. I can’t emphasize the need for having a routine where you take time to disconnect with the world and find a way to recharge and restore, whether it’s with sleep or with an activity like meditation and yoga or playing music or reading a book or listening to music or taking a long bath or going for a run outside or being in the nature. Our current busy lifestyles can only be sustained when we learn how to pause and reset. This pause can also be split in two parts, one is something we do on a daily basis to reset like our daily exercise routine or a walk around the block or piano practice or reading a book or even sleeping for 8 hours and a longer pause time where we get away from everything and over multiple days do activities to decompress from the mechanical life that has same activities on repeat.”

“Give yourself the permission to pause to create sacred space – the space to consciously choose how you want to respond to any situation.” ~ Dr. Debra Reble

For more from Sweta Vikram and “The Balanced Life” column, check out “Judging Success in Your Own Terms,” and Pivoting Careers