It doesn’t matter who you are, how much you love what you do, how much help you have, sometimes we ALL need a break. If you’re anything like I used to be, though, you’ve got a really long list of stuff to do and the thought of taking a break actually makes you feel more anxious than just plowing through (is there even a remote chance you’re going to complete that list, BTW?). So you hunker down, you hunch over, you dig in, you get another cup of coffee and push through you tedium superhero, you! I’m teasing a little, but only because I’ve been there.
I pushed through a lot for a long time. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve discovered that pushing through didn’t necessarily get me anywhere I wanted to go. Now there’s a whole lot of serious questions and big thinking that might need to go on about that BUT what you really need right now is not me poking around in your head – you need a break, like yesterday – so here you go my friends, 10 ways to take a quick break.
- Flip through a magazine for five minutes. Require nothing of yourself. You don’t have to even read an article if you don’t want to. Just flip and see what grabs you. Take in the layout, the visuals, the feel of the paper.
- Write a little love note to a friend. The great thing about sending a kind note to someone is that it makes their day. The other great thing about it is that it reminds YOU of how wonderful they are and how lucky you are to have that person in your corner. Write a little note, send a little love. What a great break!
- Step outside and focus on everything you can hear. Pay attention to the sounds one at a time and then as a group. What do you notice that you didn’t hear when you started?
- Walk a flight of stairs or two. If you spend a great deal of time sitting, the body could really use some blood flow. You will feel refreshed and rested if you can get some oxygen moving.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes and change your physical position radically… If you have been sitting (i.e. in front of your computer), stand up as straight and tall as you possibly can. If you’ve been standing, sit down on the floor and bend over your legs. If you’ve been lying down, I’m not sure you need my help. Whatever position you move to, take deep breaths, all the way down into your belly and feel the fullness of the shape you’re in. Let your lungs expand. Let your shoulders slide down and back. Stretch anything that feels tight. Notice anything that feels uncomfortable and make adjustments until you feel better. Keep breathing until the timer goes off. Wow! I know, right?
- Set a timer, close your eyes and say to yourself: “There is nothing else I need to do in this moment.” Rinse, and repeat. Well, just repeat unless you have a towel or you drool.
- Play music for five minutes and follow where it leads. If you choose dance music, dance. If you choose soothing music, soothe yourself (blanket, eyes closed, whatever works). Sometimes the songs we choose say a lot about what we need in the moment.
- Get a giant glass of water and drink it slowly, feeling how the water feels on your lips, in your mouth, as it goes down your throat. Wiggle around and listen to it slosh in your stomach if you want a little laugh.
- Write a quick list of all of the things you’ve done in the last few days that are good, that you’re proud of, that show the best part of you. Even your inner critic needs a break once in a while.
- Doodle or color. Five minutes. Busy hands, quiet mind.
So there it is! Ten quick ways to take a break from that overloaded calendar in 5 minutes or less. Now, if you can’t find 5 minutes for a break, maybe it is time to ask some questions, and maybe it’s time to get some boundaries. I’m teaching a class on March 23rd that can help you find a little more time, and a little more you.
Now pardon me, I’ve got some Pink to listen, and dance, to.