Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeopinionTake a break!

Take a break!

“What is this life if, full of care,/ We have no time to stand and stare?” These are the opening lines of Leisure, by W H Davies. When I first read that poem at school, I could see no sense in the stillness advocated by the poet. Now that I am no longer young and energetic, I cherish quiet interludes in the midst of hectic activity.

“No time”, repeats Davies regretfully. How true! We have ‘no time’ for so many things we would like to do, let alone to sit back and do nothing. Caught up in the cycle of survival, we move from day to day with routine regularity. Leisure was published in 1911. If, over a century ago, Davies felt that existence was feverishly fast-paced, what would he think of our world today?

The need to slow down is not confined to a particular era. Remember the familiar saying, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’?

It appeared in a book of proverbs in 1659, but had been in use for years before. Through the ages, wise people have recognised that recreation is a requirement.

A story about Walt Disney makes this clear. By the 1930s, that maker of magical movies was famous.

He kept going, and was always on the job. When he took his wife Lillian out, they would stop at his office on their way back home. Disney created his cartoons while Lillian slept on a couch. Disney grew increasingly short-tempered, snapping at his staff and losing concentration.

One day, after he broke down during a meeting, he requested and received advice.

“Walt,” said his doctor, “you’ve taken on too much, and your mind can’t handle it.” He urged Disney to “step back from the studio for a while” and relax completely.

Disney took his wife on vacation and returned refreshed. He went on to become more successful than ever, but never again pushed himself too far.

We may not all be able to travel as long and luxuriously as the Disneys did, but we can certainly give ourselves breathing space to avoid the risk of burnout.

As Davies suggests, let us pause now and then to take a break! It is important if we do not want to break down.

(Published 16 October 2023, 20:09 IST)

- Advertisment -

Most Popular