5 Ways to take a break and be refreshed in the midst of a busy day
1. Take a deep breath. Instead of rushing from one meeting to another at work, or from one errand to another on your to-do list, just pause for a moment–at your desk, sitting in your car, or wherever you are. Give yourself permission to slow down the merry-go-round of your life for just a moment. Close your eyes, mentally set aside your immediate concerns, and take a few slow, deep breaths before going on with your day.
2. Make some music. A friend of mine destresses on her way home from work by listening to music. “Always classical” she says, “and always very loud.” I sometimes take just five minutes to play a piece on the piano. I don’t play anything with a lot of sharps or flats, I don’t worry about getting the fingering just right, I simply allow myself to be refreshed by a few minutes of “joyful noise.” You can make music too by playing an instrument, or turning on your mp3–not as background music to the rest of your life, but as a deliberate pause. Check out these great versions of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
3. Have a good laugh. I enjoy the gentle humour of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series of books by Alexander McCall Smith. A
friend enjoys playing with her cat. Others get a kick out of the latest funny video making the rounds on Facebook. Laughter has sometimes been called “the best medicine,” and it can be just what the doctor ordered to lighten your mood.
4. Read something inspiring. I love the words of of Scripture like Isaiah 40:31: “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary” (Common English Bible). Other encouraging texts include: “The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23), nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Or try an inspirational website like Espirational, with its short quotes and beautiful photos, like a 10-minute (or less!) vacation for the soul.
5. Go for a mini-walk. I try to walk for exercise several times a week, but for the 40 days of Lent I’ve added a daily mini-walk to my mail box. It’s only a minute and a half each way, and often bypassed on my longer walks so the mail piles up for a week or more–but deliberately taking those few minutes each day is a good break. Enjoying the fresh spring air, seeing the buds on the trees, and stopping to talk to a neighbor are all great ways to clear my head and renew my energy.
April Yamasaki is the author of Sacred Pauses: spiritual practices for personal renewal, published by Herald Press. For more on spiritual practice, faith, and life, see her website http://aprilyamasaki.com.