Tick-tock, tick-tock… I can choose to let the demands on my time and attention overwhelm me. Or I can decide to slow down and take a break.
In the midst of my daily calendar, I schedule times for me to stop throughout the day. I have a mindfulness bell on my phone that’s set for specific intervals of my choice. Thank you Sheila Glazov for recommending this App to me. The sound of the singing bowl is my signal that It’s Time.
Time for what? You ask.
Time to put my shoulders down and take a deep breath. Time to take Willa for a walk. Time to eat. Time to stretch. Time to be grateful. And time to watch the bees on the hummingbird feeder enjoying the sweetness of life. They teach me how to fully be in a moment without a care about anything else in the world. They teach me that sometimes the greatest joys come in the smallest things. They remind me that life is sweet. It’s especially sweet when I’m fully present, fully aware, fully engaged, and fully enjoying it—joie de vivre!
What’s your signal that it’s time for a break?
When brain stops giving reasonable responses to the demands I place upon it – time for a break. Might take 10 hours, or might take 2 hours to reach that point.
Ted — Yikes! I hope it’s closer to two hours than ten 🙂
Mostly, but not always. 😉
I do have a warning on my activity watch to remind me to move every so often but I like the sound of that App. Thanks, Laurie!
Olga — I know several people who use their activity watches in much the same way. It seems like an extremely successful approach. Good on you! 🙂
My dog makes sure I take a break and hubby too of course. Sometimes in the middle of something, I resent the “Let’s go for a coffee.” But then, I am always glad I took the break and come back fresh with new ideas!
Darlene — I’m like you. Sometimes I’m “irked” that I have to leave what I’m working on. But the breaks never fails to leave me with fresh ideas 🙂
Very good idea. 👍
Fatima — Thank you 🙂
Inviting haiku into my life has a similar impact on me, Laurie. I have to remember to look up. As in now. This moment I see:
mist under mountains
allows the peak to rise up
as if forever
Shirley — I love, Love, LOVE it! 🙂
When work gets just a bit too much, I do some yoga stretches. Ahhhh. A couple minutes of long stretches and I am good to go again.
LoisaJay — I. LOVE. YOGA. STRETCHES! 🙂
That app sounds wonderful. If I ever get a cell phone, I’ll look into it. I do need a reminder, as I get wrapped up in things. Dogs are helpful, as reminders.
Cindy — I love that you don’t have a cell phone. Absolutely love it! 🙂
Writers who drink coffee of tea are alerted every so often to get up and “make their bladder gladder,” perhaps another form of mindfulness. 🙂
Marian — And now I’m LAUGHING. Thank you! 😂
What a great idea. My time for a break is usually tomorrow some time.
Craig — And tomorrow, of course, is always t-o-m-o-r-r-o-w… 🙂
Sassy Dog is one of my alarms…she tells me when it’s time for her walk and when it’s time to take a rest/nap. My other trigger is the set of my shoulders. If they need relaxing, then I know my whole body needs a mindfulness break.
Patricia — So it’s S-squared for you: Sassy and Shoulders. Ya gotta love it! 🙂
A bell app sounds like a great idea Laurie. I just had two nights in a row where I was awake until way passed when I wished to be. This happens sometimes and it is a sure sign that I need to step back and assess what is important, what is senseless fussing and celebrate what is right in my life. In my daily routine, breaks seem to come naturally most times. The movement of natural light through the day is often my best companion in remembering to take time. There are rituals like taking the compost out and daily walks, the weekly laundry, meals to prepare and so on. These are breaks from painting, writing, preparing oil painting lessons for students, photograph editing and art business administration. At one time, I thought about these rituals as “chores” or distractions from my “real work” but now, not so much.
Terrill — I love that you know that these “chores” are actually healthy breaks in disguise. 🙂
I framed a card sent to me by a colleague years ago … it has one word on it written in script …
EXHALE. I placed it so when I walk into my office I see the message to exhale and in response I do so. I’ve recommended (and place into my day) this simple exhale practice to clients with no meditation experience as a way to slow down in their day (before they pick up the ringing phone; before starting the next meeting; before the next task) a deep exhale.
I also learned from Wendy Palmer who has applied her Aikido training (she is a black belt teacher) to her conscious embodiment practice for Presence, Confidence and Compassion. I have her CD which offers a 10 min movement practice which I use for centering. And, I love her practice for noticing tension (ex. when sitting in crazy traffic) basically noticing and releasing tension in jaw, shoulders, lower back, and so on. When tuning in I find I hold a lot of tension in my jaw and shoulders. Sometimes a bird landing in my front yard tree will be a signal to focus … with the great reward of a birds antics.
I love your app idea … a singing bowl is so gentle and pleasant.
Audrey — You’ve discovered that a deep exhale is a non-traditional “prescription” that does circles around regular prescriptions (and costs a whole lot less, too) 🙂
I am retired and single – there are few real demands on me these days. Things like food to eat, for me and my furry girl, an occasional housekeeping chore, the furry girl’s walkabout the yard after an afternoon nap, the urge to create, the ability to heed any of these as I wish. Except for the furry girl’s routine – she’s quite insistent we stick to that.
Carol — We gotta love our furry gals. They do, after all, know best 🐾
Zip gets us going about 5am with his needs and then again about 5pm like clock work! I do need to get up and move every hour to keep from developing a blood clot from sitting too much. I do some Liangong or putter or tasks that need doing – like dusting and dancing my way around the room! I do 2.5 hours of exercise a day, plus read 4 hours a day – It is hard to squeeze everything else in around my schedule. Meditation, too! Just writing this seems busy.
The bowl bell ringing app sounds delightful, but I think that might even fill like pressure to me. Thank you for the tweet of my book review today…Greatly appreciated.
Patricia — Ya gotta love Zip! And it’s I who must thank YOU for your book reviews. I love them! 🙂
Yoga stretches always renew my spirit and body and take me to the present. 🙂 Thanks for this reminder to do some tonight!
Melodie — You and me, both. I LOVE yoga stretches 🙂
There really doesn’t have to be one I down tools and break but Laurie you have no idea how long it’s took me to learn that , and periodically I still faults . Isn’t it worth the effort though .
I’m working in a hotel at the moment that is set in the most delicious grounds …every so often if I get a little hot under the collar , I stop look out the nearest picture window and breathe in the delights. 🍂🍁🌼
Cherry — “Breathing in the delights” through the nearest picture window is a great antedote for getting a bit hot under the collar 🔥
My life is too varied and unpredictable to have a regular time for singing bowl reminders. But,in the breaks between all the various unpredictable events are breathing spaces that I try to acknowledge.
Arlene — yes, Yes, YES! You know what works for you 🙂
When I get told my overtime is stopping and I will be leaving work 2 hours earlier every day! Actually, financially annoying though that is, a mere 2 days in and I feel soooo much fresher and brighter! Feeling jaded and tired and inexplicably low is a clear warning but I normally ignore it, but a little time out is suddenly awesome!
EuropasIceWolf — How darned COOL is that?! I’m so glad you have hours added to your personal day. Woohoo! 🙂
Not for long unfortunately!😀
Laurie, I have a dollar store kitchen timer that I set for 45 minute intervals. It reminds me to take a break.
TimelessLady — That sounds ideal! 🙂
Laurie, I used to have a system of working solidly for 2 hours, then take a 20 minute break. Now when I lift my head from what ever has it occupied, if the neck bones creak, then It’s time to stand up and do the “Hokey-Pokey” and shake myself about! I can become firmly entrenched in concentration and a some fresh air blowing through the mind lightens the load and the mood.
Sandi — I liked the ratio of 2 hours gets 20 minutes, but when you threw in the hokey-pokey, that’s when I was really sold! 🙂
Every once in a while during the day, I realize I’m not breathing. Well, of course I’m breathing, I have to. But I’m not consciously BREATHING – taking a slow calming breath and stopping to look around me. Once I do stop, breathe in, listen to my heart’s murmurings (peace, love, gratefulness), I become calmer and happier. And yes, life becomes sweeter. ❤
Pam — “Taking a slow calming breath and stopping” is an excellent recipe. And I love your heart murmurings: peace, love, gratefulness 🙂
I am really intrigued with the app, Laurie. What a great tool! I find that I do better with stopping throughout the day without too much trouble, as long as I haven’t overcommitted myself in the first place! If I’m not watching the clock or appointment book so closely I automatically take time to sit and read a bit or watch the birds or take a walk. It’s taken me the full two first years of retirement to trust that this is a good use of my energy–conserving it, I suppose–but even that is becoming a lovely habit. I just have to think before I say “yes” to too much. 🙂
Debra — I agree with you wholeheartedly. Conserving energy is a lovely habit 🙂
When I’m heavily into writing/editing, I have a timer, with a very loud and annoying ring, that I set to go off every forty minutes. I get up, go do something physical, usually housework-y, then it’s back to it. 🙂
Widdershins — I love your practice. And by the end of the day, you’ve tidied up the house quite a bit too 🙂
Heh, 🙂 … it’s a win/win deal! 😀
Dylan (poodle) performs quite well as a mindfulness bell for me. But will look into the app as well. My schedule has been too full of “doing” instead of taking time for “being” 🙂
Tiny — I’ve seen photos of Dylan. I’d much rather have him as my mindfulness bell 🐾
When I can’t keep my concentration on on task, it’s break time. No point forcing it.
DGKaye — I absolutely agree. In my experience, things that have to be forced don’t usually turn out well.
The past two weeks with cold-related congestion has given me reason to pause. Ugh.
Sam — Ohhhhh, I just can’t stand it when I’m sick. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it hits like a ton of bricks. I wish you a very speedy recovery.