Have you ever been in the midst of a hectic day and all you want to do is escape? Remember those “Calgon Take Me Away” commercials from the 80’s? Okay, I know I’m showing my age here, but the message is still relevant. We all crave, and need, a mental break from our chaotic lifestyles. What happens when a computer gets overloaded with work and user demands? It shuts down and has to be reset in order to work right again. So, with everyone and everything else demanding all of our time and energy, how do we take a break to “reset”? Here are 10 ways to take 5:
1. Enjoy A Good Book
Okay, I know what you are thinking: who has time to read anymore? Well, there’s a little something called “books on tape” (or audio books) that could come in really handy for you. They are perfect for when you are cooking dinner, cleaning house, or sitting in traffic. Rather than listening to your favorite music, listen to a great book. You can find just about every genre recorded, from the Bible to mysteries. You can rent, download, or buy them from almost any place you would get regular books. This gives your brain a break from thinking about your to-do list and allows you to still partake of your once-loved pleasure.
2. Hide Out in the Bathroom
This really does work! Whenever I am overstressed and pulled in 50 million directions and the kids are arguing and the TV is blaring and I am about to loose my mind, I simply tell my husband that I need to use the bathroom. He of course does not object, for obvious reasons. I lock the door and relish the silence for several minutes. This could buy you a good 10-15 minutes, depending on how long it normally takes you to use the facilities. Besides, when your “tummy is upset” people are usually a bit nicer to or more patient with you.
3. Extend Your Shower Time
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with #2. However, this one is a bit better since you really can’t hear much when you are in the shower. It’s a known fact that woman take longer in the shower/bathroom because of all the personal hygiene things we do. So, rather than rushing through washing your hair and shaving your legs, take your time. The shower can also be your at-home spa treatment. Just stand there, eyes closed, taking deep breaths as the warm water runs over you. It’s like a full body massage and steam room in one. Glorious!
4. Take the Scenic Route
If you have a few minutes of extra time, then take the long way around rather than the shortcut, whether it’s walking around the block, going to the grocery store, picking up the kids, or heading home. If you find yourself alone (rare, I know) or the kids are asleep in the back seat, then enjoy the last few minutes of peace and quiet before you are forced back into the hectic “real” world.
5. Cut Off Outside Communication
Are you the kind of person that is so bombarded by phone calls on a daily basis that you feel you need to have your phone surgically removed from your face? Then turn it off. Pick a time during each day that you will not make or receive any phone calls. Lunchtime is perfect for this. Well, at least while you are eating. Besides, it’s better for your digestion if you actually chew your food!
6. Make Yourself Laugh
You know the saying “laughter is the best medicine”? Well, it’s true. If you are ever having one of those days, then stop and force yourself to laugh. Of course, if you do this in front of people they will look at you like you are crazy, but that’s okay. The forced laugh will eventually turn into a real, full-on, stomach-hurting, rolling-on-the-floor, tears-coming-down-your-face laughter (mostly because you realize how ridiculous you look). Who doesn’t feel better after a great laugh?
7. Post a Sign
This is great if you have a room or office you can go in (closets work too) and shut the door. You can make a “Do Not Disturb” sign, or buy one. Other alternatives are creative or decorative door hangers or stoppers. Let people know that when the door is shut and the sign is up, that means do not enter unless there’s a fire! Give yourself a few minutes to chill, take deep breaths, put your head on your desk, or just collect your thoughts.
8. Take a Class
There are community colleges and centers that offer recreational classes for decent prices. From dancing to cooking, photography to museum tours, computers to writing, there is something for everyone. It gives you the freedom to do or learn about something you are really interested in or have always wanted to learn more about. So, sign up for a class and make that your special “me” time.
9. Take a Hike
Taking walks are not only great for your health, but also give your mind the chance to a break from the rat race and relax. Breathe in the fresh air and walk around the block. There are also many community parks that have walking trails or tracks that are perfect for this type of break. If the weather is too bad to venture outside, then find a local gym or workout room that offers day passes and jump on the treadmill with your headphones or iPod.
10. Go See A Movie
Movies are great for getting your mind off your troubles. For 1 1/2 to 2 hours you are focused on someone else’s life. Given, they are characters being portrayed by actors, but the effect is the same as reading a book. Sitting in that dark theater, you are forced to turn off your phone, sit in the dark, and let the world go by without you for a little while.
Taking time out for yourself is very important, not only for your mental health, but your physical health as well. When you run on overload for too long, your body will find ways to literally make you stop and take a break. This comes in the forms of diseases, heart problems, high blood pressure, colds, muscle and head aches, etc. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of other people. So, put yourself back on the priority list and take 5.