Over the last month, I’ve hardly managed to do any witchcraft. Yep, you read that right. I’ve been majorly slacking on my magical practice. It seems like every time I turn around there’s something else I have to do, more work, more cleaning, more everything! It’s been a busy month for sure and while normally I’m pretty good about being nice to myself a few days ago I caught myself in a little funk. I was definitely not happy about how much I wasn’t practicing magic.
Then I promptly snapped out of it, realized that berating myself wasn’t going to make me any less stressed or busy and decided it might be time to take a short break from magic.
What?! Taking a break? You can do that?
Yes, my witchlings, you can give yourself a break. A lot of witches (myself included) tout the benefits of having a daily practice and while those benefits are great you are not likely to be receiving the full effect if you’re tired, stressed or trying to squeeze all of your witchcraft into a spare 30 seconds.
Some people have this idea that if you stop practicing magic regularly your abilities will degrade and it’ll be like starting from square one all over again when you come back to it. This is totally not true. While you may experience a slight rustiness if you take breaks for months on end you’re not going to lose any power, effectiveness or connection simply by giving yourself a little time away. In fact, you might find that taking a break makes your spells more powerful and effective simply because you aren’t so damn exhausted when you get back to it!
Do I really need to take a break?
Short answer: Yes.
The long answer is that you may not need a break now or next month or next year but at some point in your journey you WILL need to take a break from magic. Life gets crazy! Sometimes there’s just nothing else to do but give yourself a break.
Not only that but magical burnout is a very real thing. Have you ever tried doing heavy workouts every day or done a creative challenge like NaNoWriMo? After about a week of pushing yourself to the max every day you get worn out! It becomes a struggle and nothing seems to quite go as easily as it did before. On top of which, with that big drop in ease and effectiveness come a mountain of demoralizing thoughts telling you that you can’t do it and you’ll never be good at whatever it is you’re trying to do.
This same thing happens with magic. If you’re doing big spells every single day you’re probably going to feel it! Your enthusiasm and power start to taper off and magic starts to feel more like a chore than something uplifting and exciting.
That magical burnout only worsens if you try to “power through it” and unfortunately that tends to be the exact reaction most people have when they start feeling weaker! So, how can you tell if you need a magical break?
6 Signs You Need To Take A Hiatus From Magic
1. Your spells stop working or get weaker
If you start noticing that your spells are falling a little flat or just plain old not working at all it might be time to take a break. Your batteries are run down! Spells don’t work if there isn’t enough energy behind them to get them to the finish line.
When this starts happening it’s time to focus on replenishing yourself. Sleep a lot, eat good food, do something that makes you feel energized, socialize, just work on getting your energy back up to par before attempting spells again.
2. You feel run down
Everyone feels run down every now and then and a day or two of feeling tired isn’t necessarily cause for alarm but if you’re finding yourself frazzled, exhausted and worn out for more than just a few days you’re probably placing too many demands on yourself! Unfortunately it’s not always possible to take a breather from work, kids or other obligations so in order to keep your sanity you have to give yourself a little wiggle room in the areas of your life that can take it.
I know, it sucks having to put down something you love because your life has gotten crazy. It really, really sucks. But forcing yourself to do magic even if you’re not up to it isn’t going to make you feel good about your craft or your life! Give yourself that breather and when life calms down again your craft will be right there waiting for you.
3. You just don’t feel excited about magic
Ugh, this one is the worst. I HATE feeling like something that used to be fun and exciting is suddenly a drag. It’s especially hard to deal with because witchcraft is often a source of spiritual solace for many of us!
When this happens I like to simply do what I do in other areas of my creative life when I feel stuck and bored. I do something else. If I’ve got writers block maybe I’ll paint or go for a hike and take nature photos. If dancing starts to feel weird and unproductive I’ll focus on writing or find some random DIY project to immerse myself in. Sometimes I’ll just let myself get engrossed in a new book.
When witchcraft starts feeling like a chore it’s time to switch gears. Pay attention to your other hobbies, get outside and do something active, hang out with your friends, let a curiosity turn into an engrossing 4 day reading binge. Just get your mind off of the craft and onto something else!
4. You find yourself repeatedly forgetting to do spells or rituals that you had planned
I am so guilty of this one. Now keep in mind, if you’re a super forgetful person to begin with it’s probably not a big deal and missing just one spell isn’t anything to worry about either. It’s when you start forgetting to perform spells and rituals repeatedly in a way that’s unusual for you that you should consider taking a break.
Our brains are pretty sneaky and will often trick us into getting a break whether we want one or not. Constantly forgetting your craft is a pretty convenient way for your mind to get the breather it needs. If you find this happening to you, don’t sweat it! Getting upset about missed spells and rituals isn’t going to help. Take the hint and give yourself a chance to rest and recuperate.
5. Spell casting leaves you feeling tired, moody or achy
There are a few reasons why spell casting might have negative effects on you. The first possibility is that you’re ungrounded. If you’re not grounding after spells you should be! Magic can drain your energy or leave you with extra energy in ways that can throw your entire equilibrium off balance. So, first things first, ground yourself! If you feel better afterward you’re probably just fine.
If you still feel crummy even after grounding however, it’s time to consider giving yourself a serious breather. Like most other forms of self care, when you neglect to give yourself the rest and nourishment that you need it’s going to make you crabby. Self care is important in all aspects of our lives!
6. You have to really “reach” to find the magic to make your spells work
Lastly, if you find yourself digging around trying to find your magic every time you cast a spell it’s probably a sign. After overdoing it it can start to feel like you’ve lost touch with your magic or like you can’t quite make it work. This is such a frustrating feeling and can be really upsetting to someone who is heavily invested in their craft. Many people try harder, work more and end up even more fed up and pissed off about this unprecedented drop in magical ability.
Your connection to your magic isn’t gone though! It’s still there, I promise. You’re not a bad witch. You haven’t suddenly lost your ability to use magic. You’re just tired.
Give it a rest, do something else, take care of yourself and every now and then reach down and see how easy it is to touch your magic and pull it out. If the connection is still bad then leave it alone but after a while (and in probably less time that you’d think) you’ll find that connection feeling just like it used to. One day you’ll reach for your magic and find it awake, sparkling with energy and ready to go!
Nobody really loves taking breaks from the things they love but trust me, taking a break can be good for you and good for your magic. Give yourself permission to kick back and relax!