The Power Of Taking A Pause

I’ve always envied tenured professors or any career that allows you to take a Sabbatical. A Sabbatical is a period of paid leave every 7 years to travel, explore, and get creative, as well as rest.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

Most of us have never had a Sabbatical in our school and working careers…until now, sort of. We are on a strange sort of a Sabbatical we’re not really allowed to travel, we are confined to our spaces, trying to work from home or between jobs. Hmmm…this just might not be what I had in mind!

That is until I met with one of my clients a few weeks ago. She is an amazingly accomplished individual. With two Master’s degrees, she has spent her career developing curriculum and educating nurses. She’s currently between assignments, so she’s busy looking for her next job during this time. I assumed I would be coaching her about frustration with the job market in the midst of a pandemic.

Pressing the pause button on life.

Instead, the first thing she said to me was how happy she was to press the Pause button at this time in her life. I was immediately struck by that word picture, of a giant red button saying “Pause.” When I asked her to tell me more, she said this was truly a time for her to hang out in sweats and enjoy the day. She felt she had never taken a pause in her job or life before. In addition to a busy and rewarding career, she has been a caretaker for several family members, but right now, she is responsible for caring only for herself and her husband, and it’s a great pause.

It really made me ask myself if I’m pausing during this pandemic

Is there any way to enjoy this time? How often do we all really get to pause?

Now I know you may have read articles or seen social media about what a great time it is to develop a new work out program, learn to bake bread or write the great American novel. None of these say pause to me, personally

Is there a hidden benefit to pressing the pause button?

My client inspired me around the ability to just take a break. I had to research this some more. I found a study on Doing Nothing and Nothing to Do: The Hidden Value of Empty Time and Boredom (Kets de Vries, 2014). The study basically proposes that introspection and reflection are not priorities for us in our day to day lives and that the balance between activity and inactivity is out of sync. The study revealed that doing nothing is a great way to bring out creativity and imagination. Think about the inspiration you may have gotten while driving in your car. While you are doing something very important, it’s one of those times that allows you to think. Similarly in the shower or first thing when you awaken, I find a lot of creative ideas then. These are times that we put the brain on the park and give it an opportunity to rest and recreate.

How can you pause effectively in your day?

In this time of the pandemic, that’s an amazing skill to master. Our brains are busy. There’s an information overload. There are worries, there are concerns. Or maybe you’re working from home and pausing just isn’t possible.

But there are times in the day when we can consciously pause. Here are a few ways to consider:

  1. Sleep a little longer
  2. Take an afternoon pause. Block your calendar out and do nothing.
  3. Think about what makes you happiest and take a pause to enjoy something about that.
  4. Just be. This means, not focusing on a big project (I know my clothing closet calls me daily) but just focusing on relaxing and doing things for you. And maybe cleaning a closet is something you would enjoy.
  5. Be grateful. If you’re working, be grateful. If you have a home, be grateful. If you have people who love you, be grateful. If you’re healthy, be grateful. Gratitude can certainly give us a pause as well as transform our thinking.
  6. Take time to laugh.
  7. Try to do absolutely nothing…come on, I dare you. What’s doing nothing all about for you?

Pressing the Pause button is a personal choice and experience, different for everyone, but so necessary.

My client really inspired me to think about taking a pause. Her story is an interesting one. Although she feels she is pausing, she has been applying to jobs, had several online interviews, and now a job offer she is considering. So while she’s pausing, there’s still a lot that gets done. This is a perfect advertisement for the power of pausing.


Can you find ways to hit the pause button this week? What could that look like for you?

I’m still offering a free coaching session with me through April, and now May. If you haven’t, please sign up at

Thanks, Stay well, Stay creative, and blessings to you all!

Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a Career/Executive Coach, and Author of the Monday Morning Inspiration, published weekly on Linked-In, and to her followers. Her specialties are untangling career challenges and choices through coaching for courageous results-oriented clients who need solutions NOW.

Contact [email protected] for more information.