The Importance of Taking Breaks


A year and a half ago, I was hospitalized for irregularities with my blood. What started off as a trip to the emergency room with what I suspected to be food poisoning, ended with a two-night stay at the hospital. In the oncology ward. I was a mess and as I laid in the gurney swearing to myself to make lifestyle changes, I counted the stucco ceiling tiles as a way to comfort my wild mind.

I was released with medication and strict orders to follow up with a hematologist every month for a year. Since then my body has strengthened, but there are still a few things I want to improve in regard to my health. While I regularly practice yoga, have routine visits to a massage therapist, and weekly acupuncture treatments, I have a hard time healing my mind.

I’m the type of person who over-thinks over-thinking. I lay in bed at night unable to sleep because I’m making lists of things to do (grocery lists, email lists, to-do lists, people-to-hug lists), and finding ways to continue following my dreams. But sometimes thinking gets in the way living and this causes my brain to succumb to stress and lethargy.

In light of this, JD and I carve time in our calendars to just be. We share a Google calendar and block out days for resting and catching up…and we also add time for vacations. We’ve discovered that every time we return from a vacation, we’ve got a new idea to execute or a project that’ll push us creatively. The minute we prioritized rejuvenation, the more effective we were throughout the year.

Last week we spent five days in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I wish I could write we went whale watching…or deep sea fishing…or made tortillas, but we did none of that. In fact, we did none of anything. We slept in, we went running on the beach, we ate our weight in guacamole, we watched the sunset. We let our minds heal.

We’re already planning a summer getaway. It seems counterintuitive to plan a vacation during the busiest time of the wedding season, but it’s the very thing that keeps us ready and hungry to finish the year strong. I’m thankful to spend time with my best friend and look forward to 2014 being a year of complete health.

If you have ideas of where we should vacation this summer, I’m all ears! Let me know because I’m up for a new adventure!

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  1. Amy

    February 12th, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    We love getting away, even if it’s just for a long weekend. That physical distance you are from everyday life does wonders for your mental health! This post is a great reminder to schedule more time to just be. 🙂

  2. Meredith

    February 12th, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    AH! Your posts are on point lately. This one I relate to even more than yesterday’s. In fact, I juuuuust journaled about this… About how I can’t shut my mind off and it is incredibly exhausting and makes the actual fun stuff like shooting seem more of a chore because it’s like I never stop working (in my head). Anywho, thanks Jasmine!!

  3. Tina

    February 12th, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    I hear ya – vacations are a much needed thing, especially when you’re an entrepreneur. I hit the bi-weekly acupuncture appointments too! My husband and I are traveling to Anguilla with another couple in March. I went last year, and we’re literally doing the exact same vacation on repeat, it was THAT amazing. It’s secluded, not many people know about it, and it has some of the most breathtaking beaches I’ve ever seen:)

  4. sarah (danaher) bradshaw

    February 12th, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I struggle SO MUCH with feeling guilty for resting. Thank you for this post, and for encouraging me to prioritize it.


    February 12th, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Doing "none of anything" is the hardest thing an entrepreneur has to learn – thanks for writing this! Good for you!! xo

  6. Hannah

    February 12th, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Trinidad & Tobago is the place to be for Carnival (Mar 3rd &4th)
    You can take an early "summer"

  7. Kremena

    February 12th, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Well, why don’t you just come here in Bulgaria, and see a totally different kind of world…Let me know if you need more info! 😉

  8. Ana Telma

    February 12th, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I’m glad you are feeling better! That’s all that matter. Take care! <3

  9. Betsy Tomasello

    February 12th, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    You guys most DEFINITELY need to come up to visit US in the PacNW! 🙂 Little B&B or lakeside cabin…clean water…rivers & streams everywhere…fresh pine smell…great cuisine & local wines…& POLO is always welcome!

  10. Jade Mutter

    February 12th, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Ok first off – I completely agree with you! I burnt myself out so badly two summers ago that I was a hot mess and my body was breaking down. It’s SO important to rest and take care of yourself. Secondly you should come to Victoria, BC for vacation! It’s gorgeous here in the summer. Call me, let’s go for drinks 🙂

  11. jbech

    February 12th, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Vactionland ~ Maine! You would love it!

  12. Abri

    February 12th, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Hi Jasmine, you have to come to South Africa. Visit Cape Town and the garden route and then viait ome our amazing private Game lodges for a unforgettable safari with 2 game drives daily…it Will be your BEST vacation EVER!! Visit for more info. If you need any help just let me know… Abri (-:

  13. Arden B

    February 12th, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Umm, duh! go to New Orleans 🙂 It’s a creative’s dream with the music, the food, the sights… Sooo much to do and see here!

    My wife and I just got back from Disney in Orlando. Can’t tell you how much better I feel after a couple days away.

  14. Steph

    February 12th, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Croatia Croatia Croatia. The Dalmatian coast is beautiful, and it’s where dalmatian dogs come from. Split is beautiful, Dubrovnik also…service is amazing at restaurants b.c the hosts and wait staff are professionally trained to do so. It’s lovely. In Split, I recommend Le Meridien Lav. <3

  15. Hilary

    February 12th, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    What a great reminder! I am just barely starting to really, I mean really, actually make a go of this (making a business plan, rebranding, actually getting all the legal stuff in order) and I am beyond terrified…I am very much like you, I lose sleep over just about everything. I am so painfully shy I have yet to actually try to talk to another photographer in my area, and I am still not sure I will. I think I need a day off from myself. Ha!

  16. Janet Gerbutavich

    February 12th, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Take a look at The Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI. It’s the same community where Taylor Swift bought a house. It’s a beautiful place for a summer vacation.

  17. Anna

    February 12th, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Go to the Ukraine!

  18. Allison

    February 12th, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Inspiring post as usual! Have you read any books by Eckart Tolle? The power of now, or a new earth. I think it would really serve you to read those. :). It’s all about the present moment, and learning to quiet your mind. Best of luck Jasmine. Much love!

  19. Ashley

    February 12th, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Italy, my dear, is always the answer! Good wine, good food, surrounded by the elegance and romance of the Italians!

  20. caci

    February 12th, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Maui 🙂

  21. Alicia

    February 12th, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    My recommendation would be Zion National Park in Utah. It’s amazingly gorgeous with lots of hiking trails that offer breathtaking views. I live in NC and we visited Zion last summer and I was just blown away. They have historic cabins to rent so you can stay right in the park. If you’re unsure just Google some images so you can see just how beautiful it is 🙂

  22. Susan Evans

    February 12th, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Estes Park, CO – completely different from the beach but very relaxing and rejuvenating! Just outside the entrance to Rocky Mountain Ntl Park so lots of great hiking and beautiful mountains. The mountain air is just cleaner and feels so refreshing in the summer. These condos sit along a river that flows down from the Rocky Mountains – it’s beautiful!

  23. Caroline Frost

    February 12th, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    AMEN! So important to live a balanced life- and you actually may find you can achieve more in the long run. Go to Tuscany, stay in a villa and drink wine and laze around the olive groves. That’s what my hubs and I are doing this June!

  24. Amber Smith Wallace

    February 12th, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Disney World in Florida! Although, it’s really crowed in the summer, right now is a great time to be there! It’s still warm but not steaming hot.

    Try Sunset Beach, NC. My Favorite beach!

  25. Eric

    February 12th, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Hola Jasmine,

    you guys should come down to Costa Rica!

    Thank you for sharing your experience,


  26. Brittany Weiss

    February 12th, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I love this post. 🙂 My husband laughs when I tell him I think I was born to vacation, and knowing that an adventure (even just a mini one) or fun break is in the near future keeps me going. Hope you continue to heal!

  27. Leezett

    February 12th, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Hi Jasmine

    You both should visit Fiji Islands. I have travelled quite a bit and there is no place like Fiji to relax. Some of the most pristine water is here, gorgeous beaches and of course people. Fiji time is real and is the perfect way to learn to slow down and soak in the moment of living 🙂 x

  28. Cris

    February 12th, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Hello Jasmine, very nice article and advice.

    About the vacation ideas, here is one… If you ever want to visit Europe and try something new, if you like history as well, I would recommand you a tour of Turkey. They have some amazing places. Actually, this is one of the vacations that i really want to have very soon!

  29. Sabina Procacci

    February 12th, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Love your article! Thanks for sharing…:) as for your next vacation, Italy, Cinque Terre…
    Magical, I am from Milan, Italy and every time I bedded to recharge my batteries I went there…:)

  30. Jasmine*

    February 12th, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    LOVE these ideas! Lots for Italy and Anguilla…a girl can dream, right? 😉

  31. Christina

    February 12th, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    You should vacation on a lake in Maine…so beautiful in the summer time. And the loons sing to you at dusk 😉

  32. Giganni Lopez

    February 12th, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Key West, Florida!

  33. renee @ using creativity to slow down + savor life

    February 12th, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    wow…those pictures!! i NEED to go there now and do exactly what you just did…NOTHING!!! and just SOAK up the beauty at the same time!! i’m SO sorry you went through that last year…I do remember you talking about it though. i, too, have done SO much to calm my life…yoga, meditation, message, organic eating, walks in nature….but my mind was always going and still does. it wasn’t until i became a mother and reconnected with my love for photography and then soon after, my inner, toddler, doodler!! mindless, creativity changed my life…it calms my mind like no other. i WISH i could travel more…but with two little one’s, very hard to do…because there’s nothing more than i LOVE is to sit by the pool or beach with my feet up and just relaxing and taking it all in. oh i miss those days!! so now i doodle and it gives me the same body LOVES yoga and meditation and mind loves playing with mindless, creative fun. and when i’m done, i’m left feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and naturally energized and motivated to pursue all these amazing ideas and thoughts that came from my inner guide. awesome stuff! i’m SO glad you shared your story of this here…it’s another reminder of just how important it is to slow down and relax!! something our society makes it hard to do. thank you!!

  34. Gingerita

    February 12th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    1. I just initiated a leave of absence…then came to your blog and read this…I think its a sign. Like a white owl in the airport. Or maybe its just the natural evolution of one reading your blog everyday since 2009 and dreaming 2. I think you should visit the sweetest place on earth!

  35. Megan

    February 12th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Up for an adventure? Cape Town is hard to beat for both beauty and inspiration! And we’d love to host you in Joburg on your way there. Love reading your reflections. Enjoy whatever adventure you embark on.

  36. Mara

    February 12th, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    My vote is Belize at the Turtle Inn. Its a bit of heaven on earth! Private islands, swimming with dolphins, private rainforest hikes and tubing down rivers…Check out our album, I promise it’s enough to convince you!

  37. Wendy Norman

    February 12th, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Cinque Terre, Italy! Truly my favorite place on earth.

  38. Michelle

    February 12th, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    I have a hard time falling asleep, too. Thanks for the reminder to take a break. Great post!!

  39. candace

    February 12th, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    totally agree with this post. my husband and I both work in the oil&gas industry in Houston,tx and are days are extremely busy crazy. tomorrow we leave for a 5 day vacation to playa del Carmen. your post was something I needed to read to remind me not to feel guilty for the taking the time off.

    Thank you Jasmine – your fan in Houston,


  40. Lindsay

    February 12th, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    I’ve never been but I continually hear how great Italy is… Think of all that wine and beautiful architecture! 🙂

  41. Oscar Lira

    February 12th, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Hello Jasmine,
    If you want to relax in the beach, I recommend you to visit Holbox Quintana Roo, Mex. It’s the best place for relaxing.

  42. Ashley Rogers

    February 12th, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing this J! I’ve been there… still working through it… One of my docs suggested a cup of chamomile tea every night before bed to help me wind down, and calm my mind (yes, I’m THAT girl who wakes up with an item for a to-do list, or the final number of tables I need for an event I’m coordinating) so I can actually rest. So that’s what I did. 🙂 Docs have me doing other stuff too, but the tea forced me to MAKE TIME to rest.
    You inspire me J; thank you! <3

  43. Michael Denver Senior Pictures

    February 12th, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Couldn’t agree more! We all need to take a little time for ourselves so that when it’s time to work we can give it 100%!

  44. Maria

    February 12th, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Ladera, St. Lucia

  45. Shannon

    February 12th, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    looks like an amazing trip for you two!! If you haven’t visited the amalfi coast in Italy, it’s a must. miss you! Xoxo

  46. Janet Cruz

    February 12th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Vieques, Puerto Rico and if you go, let me know and we will meet you there and show ya around! Give you all the insiders tips!

  47. Sarah

    February 12th, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    ICELAND! My boyfriend and I are heading there in May for 2 weeks. It looks incredible. I’ve been lusting over the photos on Mr & Mrs Globetrot while we’ve been planning.

  48. Michele Ashley

    February 12th, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Salamanca, Spain– a stunner!

  49. jana williams

    February 13th, 2014 at 12:03 am

    AHHH! I swear reading your blog makes me wanna cry sometimes cis I feel the same way! I lay in bed and my mind races with to do list and how I am not doing enough. Its painful. My husband is always saying its a blessing to be a a person who can get things done and get through the fear of just putting things out there and making things happen while I totally agree I also feel the burden of not even being able to fully relax. This inspires me so much. It is so important to truly let there be silence. I heard this once " when we pray we talk to God, when we meditate we let God talk to us" while I’m trying to quite the mind and meditate Im still finding it really difficult. Thanks for the inspiration!

  50. Monica

    February 13th, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Come in Ireland!!!:)

  51. Nilda V Negron

    February 13th, 2014 at 2:51 am

    I always struggle with taking breaks…but when I do the big debate is do I take professional gear or just use my iPhone. what do you take with you, to get these great pictures for example? I find that If I take my camera I end up spending too much time behind the lens. What do you recommend? Blessings,

  52. Michael Alsop

    February 13th, 2014 at 4:01 am

    Katelyn and I are trying to hit up New Zealand…but it takes a while to save up for that plane ticket…or fiji haha

  53. Brittany Bekas

    February 13th, 2014 at 4:11 am

    I love this post! My boyfriend and I are currently traveling through south east Asia for two months. I was freaking out about being away during the off season but it has been so inspiring to be in a whole new place. My creativity is booming here, and I know I am going to go into the 2014 season completely refreshed.

    But you and JD should check out Vietnam. Nha trang has been one of our favorite places.

  54. Alaina Bos

    February 13th, 2014 at 7:05 am

    I can totally relate to having a racing mind and being anxious about the future. Also with not taking proper care of myself and being forced to. I think relax-y vacations are the best. I’ve traveled all over Europe and Italy and the Greek Isles (namely Santorini) are my favorite places for amazing food, gorgeous sunsets (they really are like no other…even compared to Hawaii… I know I said it), rest and relaxation. Also amazing is Grand Cayman Island where there is a 7 mile beach. For some reason I feel like maybe you’ve been there though. Yes, I’ve been reading your blog for so long that I know you’ve already been to some of the places people mentioned as their favorites to travel to 🙂 Be well Jasmine. Continue to take times for yourselves. You know more than anyone that good health is everything. And you totally deserve a break!

  55. Melissa

    February 13th, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Jasmine, this is SO spot on for me — I need to be so much better of taking care of me! As for where to go… I loved Switzerland (and went during summer!), but locally I’m dreaming of our next vacation being in a cabin in the woods in North Carolina (a gal friend showed me her honeymoon cabin in NC and it seems so peaceful!)

  56. Ashley Goodwin

    February 13th, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    So this may be weird, but I was totally just thinking that I needed a trip to come see YOU! And like, you know, cozy up in your guest bedroom with Polo Bear and use up ALL THE WHITE TOWELS. Otherwise, you can come stay in Hawaii again + I can take advantage of the pool situation. Either or.

  57. Rebecca Nash

    February 14th, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Wow J*, I couldn’t agree with you more!
    I’m notoriously bad for not being about to talk time off to relax and just be. I’m working hard on this right now with things as simple as the #sitonceaday challenge where I’m meditating at least once a day to have my own mini mental vacation.

    I’m also really, REALLY, looking forward to our honeymoon sometime after our October Wedding. I don’t get to know where we’re going or anything – just the dates to book off work and a packing list from my fiancee. This is such an exciting idea for me and I’m so looking forward to not having to plan things out and just go with it. The last time we did something like this for a weekend I came home with a notebook full of ideas and a renewed passion for every part of my life!

    Thank you for keeping it real and sharing what matters to you.

  58. Cara@theprojectaddict

    February 14th, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    St. Lucia is gorgeous if you want to relax. If you want adventure we had the time of our lives in Costa Rica.

  59. rebekah j.

    February 14th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    try Ireland! it’s scientifically impossible to feel stressed when you’re surrounded by sheep.

  60. Anna Tabakova

    February 14th, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    I just moved from Russia to Boston and I feel I already need vacation)Maybe that’s winter makes us all tired, but your blog keeps a small spring inside)

  61. Fotograf Przemyslaw Szklarski

    February 14th, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Wow. Extra.! 🙂

  62. Amy

    February 16th, 2014 at 4:24 am

    Amen! We just got back from a camping trip and getting out of the city into the outdoors is just what I needed to keep me inspired! Its amazing what unplugging can do a person’s soul.

    And I’d highly recommend the Canadian Rockies for a vacation – I’d be happy to show you all the local secrets! haha. But seriously.

  63. Jenna

    February 17th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Michigan’s beautiful Copper Country is a great place to visit in the summertime! You can’t go wrong with Lake Superior! 🙂

  64. Tea P

    February 17th, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Suggestion: Greece – Santorini, Mykonos, maybe also Crete, Karpathos … to make the tour complete 🙂

  65. Tea P

    February 17th, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    And check this out 🙂 :

  66. Kristin Cooley

    February 25th, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Come visit us in Alaska!! What I wouldn’t give to get you and JD out fishing, you have no idea. 🙂 Seriously though, you don’t have to fish you can just come sight seeing and we’ll show you parts of Alaska some people will never get to see.

  67. Damaris Mia // Southern California Bride

    March 7th, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I love this because I’m the same way. Totally working on scheduling time for REST. Thanks for this great reminder!