Health + wellbeing

Taking a break is not being lazy, it’s working smart

- July 31, 2020 2 MIN READ

A few weeks back I wrote about being a small business owner and the impact Covid 19 had on my personal health and wellbeing, Can you hear the cry of your body over the noise of Covid19? It was a fairly frank account of suffering burnout as a result of trying to do everything and be everything in my fitness business whilst pivoting to online delivery. It was also an experience shared by so many business owners across the board.

Did it lead to major life changes? Sadly not. I apologise, I don’t have any magical insights or solutions. You won’t get that here.

I am still exhausted and still desperate to hop off the Covid Roller Coaster. Aren’t we all?

A business does not run itself and in times of financial stress there is not the money or the brain power to ‘outsource’. Covid 19 in Victoria is still having a massive impact on my business and my life.

I am not thriving, but I am surviving. And right now, my survival is also my success.

Short, simple and easy to follow, here are the five survival strategies that are helping me ride the daily wave of change.

I say YES whenever I can

Accepting help doesn’t reflect weakness. It helps build strength.

People who are conditioned ‘givers’ often find it hard to receive. My ethnic and religious upbringing has had me pegged as a giver from way back. The most important thing I have had to learn during this time is to accept offers of help and support with gratitude. A cooked meal, a bottle of wine, a free massage, a bunch of flowers have all contributed to filling my energy bank.

I say NO when I need to.

Saying no is not selfish. Saying no for the right reasons is self care.

Are you a do-er? I am a do-er. The person people go to to get something done. The problem solver, the activist, the organiser. Do-ers find it hard not to do more than necessary, and in normal circumstances that is ok, but these are not normal circumstances. Recognising what is essential and giving myself permission to say NO to anything that is not necessary is key to staying afloat.


Taking a break is not being lazy, it is working smart. Creating a circuit breaker for your brain and body gets you to the next task on your list. It makes life manageable. Stopping, concentrating on breathing for 5 – 10 repetitions and stretching is a super quick, effective revitaliser for everyone, regardless of your work situation. I do it when needed, as needed and even when it’s not needed!

I ACCEPT BEING IN THE MOMENT and remind myself that I am HUMAN

Do your best when you can and don’t beat yourself up when you can’t.

At any moment in the day, I can only do what I can do. If I need to cry, feel crappy or just stare into space that is ok. The highs and lows are all part of being human. Once I have dealt with the present moment I will be available to deal with the next.

And finally, I KEEP IT SIMPLE

Get in, do what has to be done, say what has to be said. And that is enough. The energy you save, is the energy you can invest in looking after yourself.

Marisa Lawlor is Owner and Director of Just Believe Fit in Melbourne. In addition to her studio work she runs workplace wellness classes and education online. Find out more at

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