Karen Horneffer-Ginter
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10 Breaks to Offset Fall's Busyness

For most of us, fall's arrival brings an increased number of commitments and activities--some done out of passion and excitement, and others out of sheer obligation. When our days are full and we're on-the-go, it helps to build in occasional breaks to offer ourselves a chance to reboot.

Here are 10 ideas to consider:

Unplug from Electronics:

Along with the gifts that come from cell phones, laptops, and T.V.'s, it's all too easy to get in the habit of having a screen in front of us for much of the day. We often think of limiting screen time for children, but it's a good idea to apply such wisdom to our own use of electronics as well--turning them off from time-to-time if for no other reason than to remember that we can and to try out other ways of spending time each day.

Give Thanks:

Take a moment to reflect on what you feel thankful for either in this day or in the bigger picture of your life. Sometimes we can get so bogged down with our plans and activities--and by the stresses of the daily grind--that we forget to remember what's most precious and essential in our lives. Bringing such things to the forefront of our mind can help uplift our spirit, recharge our energy, and realign us with our priorities.

Go for a Walk:

Whether it's outside in the beauty of nature or just around the parking lot at our workplace, taking either a quick, brisk walk or a slow, more contemplative stroll can help us get our energy going and allow us to show up more fully in the day.

Write in a Journal:

When we sense the presence of thoughts and feelings swirling around within, distracting us from being fully present in the moment, it's worth taking a little time to jot down our thoughts. Often, this can help us gain clarity about what's going inside of ourselves and what might need attention in our lives.

Take Several Deep Breaths:

Possibly the simplest break of all is to take several deep breaths, allowing the belly to expand on the in-breath and letting our breath elongate on the exhalation as a way of relaxing more fully. The more we practice breathing deeply, the better able we are to get in the habit of breathing in this way throughout our day, even when we're engaged in activity.

Look Again at an Everyday Object:

Take a few moments to look at the objects around you with fresh eyes, imagining you've never seen these items before or that you're an artist about to paint a picture or snap a photograph in an interesting way. Taking a fresh approach to viewing such objects can help us see and think about other aspects of our life in new ways as well.

Write a Letter to a Friend:

Reconnect with the art of writing a letter or note to a friend or relative--someone you think would appreciate hearing from you and receiving some real mail amidst the pile of bills and solicitations awaiting them in their mailbox. Encourage yourself to be creative in how you approach your letter, not only in its content, but also in the colors you use, an image you add, or a tiny object you insert as a surprise.

Take in Some Humor:

When life feels boring or heavy, one of the greatest antidotes we can find is laughter. Start collecting things that make you smile--whether it's cartoons, quotes that come your way, humorous books, or funny clips from the internet. Keep your stash handy for moments when you need a laugh.

Create Your Own Coffee Break:

There's something to be said for the classic coffee break, whether we choose coffee, tea, or a refreshing glass of water. The key is to take a few minutes to sip our beverage without engaging in other tasks from our to-do list--truly pausing from activity to enjoy a few minutes of just being.

Engage in a Small Act of Kindness:

There's moments when it feels like a gift to move our focus outside of ourselves. A great way to do this is to think of some small act of kindness you can do for someone you know, or even someone you don't know. Sometimes, making someone else's day can make ours feel more rewarding and meaningful.

(Reprinted from BeliefNet)

More Articles...

Feb. 1, 2013:  Practicing Self-Compassion
Nov. 1, 2012:  10 Breaks to Offset Fall's Busyness
Sep. 1, 2012:  Bringing the Best of Our Intelligence to Self-Care
Aug. 1, 2012:  How Low Can You Go?
Jul. 2, 2012:  Accepting When There's Just No Time
Jun. 4, 2012:  Optimizing Our Self-Care
May. 1, 2012:  What We Need

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