You may be the person who has back-to-back meetings all week, or you are the person who is rushing yourself and others to appointments, training, or classes. Whatever is the case for you, it seems this might be the new norm in the 21st Century. Socked in with activity. No break in our schedules. You need a time out.
To function with competence calls for perspective that’s hard to find when you’ve got your head down, forging through a never-ending to-do list and hoping that everything will work out.
So what do you do to clear the air?
You need to create space in order to create focus and clarity. And while you might not feel like you can always clear your calendar, you can always clear your mind. You know clarity and creativity does NOT come from an overloaded, habitually spinning mind. If you can access a bit of compassion and become aware of your busyness, that can lead to more power in how you choose to meet your day.
When you take a break, a vacation, a retreat, or just spend some time in nature, you notice that you return replenished and more ready to be positive and generative. But you can’t take long breaks like that all the time, right? What then can you do? I would like to propose a Time Out to create the space to reset and re-center, so you are more likely to make conscious choices about your work and your activities that are productive, creative and compassionate. And these do not take much time at all!
The following suggestions will help interrupt the fog that gathers when you’re on auto-pilot, pushing your way through the day. It’s not too hard to create a time out break, and when you do, you gain perspective on each moment. I invite you to experiment and see if your day is a little different.
1. Ease-In to Your Week: Many of you head into your week like you’re a bull charging through or a chicken with its head cut off! With that choice of entry, your experience will feel like everyone is demanding something and the events of the day will feel like something you have to tackle rather than direct. Getting the big picture of your week and day grants you more choice and design.
I suggest taking a few minutes time out on Sunday or Monday morning to review your week ahead. Take charge of your calendar so you can take charge of your energy. What does the big picture or your week look like? Is there room to attend what is important? Have you allotted time to take care of you physically? Are you attending meetings or doing things that are just habit instead of useful? If you notice you have left yourself out of the equation or you’re going to meetings mindlessly, take a step back and make one small change. Be disciplined about cleaning up where you put your attention and energy. You’ll really love the ripple effect.
2. Start Your Day With… a glass of water (hot with lemon or room temperature) or a mindful cup of coffee or tea. Take a moment to be present with the drink, take a few deep breaths to just take in the aroma, and slow down to taste the first sip. Even if you are buying your first cup, notice the preparation, the sounds, the aromas, and the warmth of the cup. By taking something that you do every day and making a mindful moment of it, helps you cultivate presence, focus and clarity for your day. Your attention is rested and ready to engage.
3. And Take a Lunch Break: Most people push back when I tell them to take a lunch break. Everyone seems to use it to get other things done, hold meetings or grab something on the run. Instead of adding pressure and rushing, make time to take a break to get nourished and centered. It doesn’t have to take long. But if you take a moment to savor your food, to actually taste it, chew it and enjoy, you’ll be sending your brain and your body great chemicals that will add energy to your day. You could even invite a friend or colleagues to eat and converse with you sharing other things about life. Learning to interrupt the stress and become present with a time out will only be the greatest self-awareness step you can do for yourself because then you can make the choice to recalibrate in a way that serves you.
4. Ease on down, ease on down the road… one of my favorite and most efficient things to do if I feel overwhelmed, under stress, (or I just don’t know the answer!) is to go for a walk. Best is to go outside and get as close to nature as possible. If that is not available, then walk down your hall, walk down the stairs of the building you are in, just move that body of yours and while you are moving it, bring your focus back to your breath and the feel of the ground beneath your feet. Use this mindful moment as a prompt to clear your mind and focus on what is important. Sometimes you just need to move the energy out of your body, so you can get access to your creativity and intellect instead of feeling like you’ve got to flee. No phones on this walk! Anchoring yourself in the present experience of walking can break the cycle of the incessant thinking and worrying that wears you out.
These suggestions are not difficult. Remembering to take the Time Out is the hard part. With practice, even if you do one of the above, you will begin to notice a difference. And little by little you’ll want to make more of a difference.
Just a few mindful Time Outs for a better, more meaningful day!
If you’ve been stumped by how to have more peace of mind and just how mindfulness can increase your focus, creativity and enjoyment, I offer you two options:
Click here to purchase my Secrets to Peace of Mind course.
Book a session with me personally to learn how mindfulness practices can enhance not only your health but also your emotions, creativity, and effectiveness in life. I encourage you to take me up on this offer as I see so many people benefit from these teachings. Mindfulness is a life-long skill that adds meaning, clarity and joy to the everyday.
If this resonates with you and you’d like to overcome some of your own barriers to living the life you want, then click here and I’ll make sure we connect. And you know I like to share the love, so if you know someone who could benefit from this article then please share it! Imagine, thought by thought and act by act we are creating a more conscious world.