taking a break


For most of June and July, I struggled with a stubborn cold – fever, migraines, headaches, coughs, sore throat, runny nose – the whole spectrum of symptoms presented themselves day after day. I would get a little better and then collapse back into bed again.

The first week, I welcomed being in bed and being taken care of.

The second week, I tried to do some exercise and nearly fainted. But I was restless for something to do. So I started cleaning the apartment and putting DVDs in alphabetical order.
The third week, I was annoyed and frustrated. I felt I had neglected my blog. Emails were piling up from readers and friends. I had not even started work on my ebook. I had time, but no energy. I tried to write but pushing myself became counterproductive and I got a worse headache.

I started throwing tantrums again, short tempered at Timmie, and detested my cute little dog, Bamboo. I resented her for lying around and sleeping all day. Strange thoughts that enter my mind…

The fourth week, I gave up fighting. I finally understood the message I should have known, and have learnt many times: the body was tired, weak, and required rejuvenation.

I had to take a break. So I did. Not begrudgingly, but with open arms.

I slept, and slept, and slept. I read a book here and there, or tried to work on my jigsaw puzzle. But mostly I slept – and made sure I ate healthy.

The break was not only for my body, but also for my mind. I made myself stop thinking about the next blog post, about the chapter I had to write, and about all the emails I had to respond to.

The cold, the fever, and the other symptoms were warning signals to keep me from spiraling down again. My body was sending me a message: all will come in time.

Take a break. Take care of yourself. 

Do you need to take a rest?

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19 Responses

  1. ANI says:

    Sometimes you have to stop and “Listen to your body” its essential:)

  2. Lydia says:

    Was just thinking hadn’t heard from you for a while!
    Must listen to your body… I’ve heard my body but can’t do anything about it. Wish I could sleep and sleep and sleep!! Do it whilst you can Hun, one day you may not get a choice as duty calls 🙂 xxx

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Lydia

      There’s always a choice to do something about listening to your body. Sometimes I am stubborn and refuse to. but whatever duty may call, have to take care of oneself first, otherwise how take care of others and things? Hope you get some sleep 🙂


  3. 黑狗 says:


  4. ruonan says:

    Hello Noch Noch,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while. Never commented. Then I came across this link which thought would be an interesting read for you. Something of a different perspective on the matter:

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Ruonan

      Thanks for the link. I’ve read that article before and agree with it. That’s why I say in my blog: “Thank you, Depression”. It has also brought me my creativity projects such as Bearapy, and learning to think outside the box and becoming more empathetic. Going through it was a loathing – but also a blessing.

      Hope you are well in your part of the world, and thank you for supporting my blog.


  5. vlad says:

    Hi Noch!

    Just wanted to tell you that you’re not alone in needing a break now and then. The important thing is not to feel guilty about having to take care of yourself. As long as it takes…

    Talk soon!

  6. beth says:

    Thanks for this post noch. good timing for me as I go in and out of the struggle of being present with what is and looking around the house at what i want/need to do and thinking of the summer i’m “missing” as i recover from surgery. but what is actually needed is to let go, be here and relax (with my puppy sophie) to let myself heal!

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Beth

      And I hope you are healing and Sophie is keeping you company. The Chinese have a saying, a small hiccup prevents a big tragedy, so maybe the surgery was there to protect you from something else and give you some space to stay home and enjoy some me-time 🙂

      Bamboo says hi! She actually just barked – which she hardly ever does! Hahah
      Big hugs

  7. TonyB says:

    The only time I had those kinds of symptoms I had mono.

  8. Nigel Chua says:

    Hey Nochie

    No wonder there’s been lesser posts…but to be honest, that’s okay too you know… life and all its subcategories are a marathon, so we have to pace ourselves – we’re in for the long haul.

    It’s true that it’s often hard to stop to take a break, especially when “it’d break the momentum” – I suffer from this myself, having taken only 2-3 short breaks in the last 5 years.

    What I can suggest is to actually create “rest pockets” where you block a specific time slot so that you can do nothing, rest or something creative that you enjoy. By doing this, you may have less guilt or anxiety of “wasting time” that driven people often have.


    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Nigel

      Thanks for always supporting me 🙂
      Yes have to remember it’s a marathon not a spring. Overachiever perfectionist me though, wants to sprint a marathon haah


      • Nigel Chua says:

        Hey hey no worries Nochie, we look out for each other la =)

        Ya, totally understanding that last bit – sometimes I want something done and delivered even before I think about it =D

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about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.