Vicki was exhausted. Between raising three kids, working a full-time job, being married, and managing her household, she was worn-out. Desperately wanting a holiday, Vicki knew that even vacations weren’t really a vacation. The kids still needs constant supervision and eating out for every meal wasn’t economical. What she really needed was some time alone but that wasn’t possible either with too few people to watch the kids.
She loved her career and family but craved some time apart. Desperate to find a way, Vicki decided on taking a couple of mini breaks during the week that take between 5-30 minutes. By changing up the type of rest she enjoyed, things remained fresh. Here are some of her ideas.
- Try a new sport. Invest in learning a new sport that is of interest such as yoga, running, tennis, swimming, or kickboxing.
- Do some gardening. When done in smaller chunks, gardening can be very therapeutic rather than a chore.
- Take pleasure in a deep clean. Pick a small area and clean it thoroughly. Don’t try to clean large areas at a time. The accomplishment of a smaller task is very satisfactory.
- Take a walk. Go for a casual stroll around the neighborhood and try to notice things that might have been overlooked in the past.
- Go for a bike ride. A simple ride around the neighborhood might reveal some streets or parks that might not have been discovered otherwise.
- Go shopping alone. There is nothing quite as relieving as being able to walk through the grocery store in peace without the constant demands of “I want”.
- Take some deep breaths. Breathe in from the belly for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4 and breathe out for a count of 4. Do this 3 more times to get a whole body cleansing.
- Be present. Instead of living in the future or in the past, focus on living in the current moment. It’s amazing how this simple practice is calming.
- Explore emotions. Take a few moments out of the day to ask, “What am I feeling now?” Explore whatever emotion arises instead of stuffing it.
- Purge some anger. Releasing anger periodically prevents the volcanic like explosion that happens when anger has built up over a period of time.
- Watch a sad movie. To purge some sadness, watch a sad movie and allow the tears to flow. This releases stress, anxiety, and grief.
- Have a cup of tea. A simple cup of tea, especially in the middle of the day, can be a nice break and bring some relaxation.
- Read a novel. Explore a fantasy novel from another time or place. This sparks the imagination and creativity.
- Do some painting. Even painting by numbers can be fun. It doesn’t take much talent to paint this way and the results tend to be rather good.
- Take up knitting. Doing the same stitch over and over can be very soothing. This is one activity that can be done while watching TV or supervising the kids.
- Cook for fun. Cooking for daily feeding of a family can be dull especially when there are so many different tastes to navigate. Try a new recipe just because.
- Take a cat nap. A 20 minute cat nap can do wonders to rejuvenate. Try not to sleep longer or it might be difficult to sleep that night.
- Watch a funny show. Laughter is the best medicine. A favorite comedy show can be just the right prescription.
- Phone a friend. Instead of turning to Facebook, call a friend. Connecting with others increases intimacy and bonding.
- Have adult conversation. It is common when there are young kids around to engage in child-like conversation. Be intentional about talking about adult topics unrelated to the kids.
- Take some pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words so take a picture with a different perspective.
- Play some music. Music calms the soul. Listen to some non-lyrical music that is enjoyable and peaceful.
- Play an instrument. Taking up a musical instrument requires dedication but it can be very pleasurable when done just for fun.
- Organize a closet. This may not be everyone’s thing but organizing a closet can be relaxing when it is completed.
- Write a note. This is not an email but rather a hand written note to someone that might need some encouragement.
- Make a list. Start by making a bucket list of things to do. Then list out places to do, people to meet, and books to read.
- Smell the flowers. Stopping to smell the flowers can be taken literally. The scent of a favorite flower can bring back good memories.
- Walk around the house. Take a stroll around the outside of the house and look for small changes such as a blooming plant or a pretty view.
- Hold a pet. There is a reason therapy dogs are all the rage. Holding a pet has a calming effect even in the most stressful environments.
- Touch something soft. This might sound strange but every child knows how wonderful it is to touch something soft like a blanket. It brings about a sense of comfort.
Once Vicki started doing her mini breaks she got more creative with her time. This improved her relationships at home and her productivity at work.
Source: Professional Articles PsychCentral