Gimme A Break…No, Really. I Need A Break.
This last week, my computer wasn’t operating at work the way it needed to. Software was randomly uninstalled, I had no access to my database, browser windows were closing without reason, and commands were taking at least 15 minutes to get anywhere. After several calls to IT, not to mention complaining out loud to my co-workers throughout the course of a few hours, nothing had been fixed and I had had it. Wanting to keep my job and thus not being allowed to throw the computer through the glass window off the 28th floor, I decided I needed a break.
I headed downstairs, grabbed a snack from the convenience store in our building, and went up to the courtyard to sit. I sat down, worked on my Snickers bar, and just took in the scene around me. And I breathed. I quickly calmed down, feeling nothing but the space around me. Then it dawned on me:
When was the last time I’d actually done this? When was the last time I took a 15 minute break to just do nothing but sit and enjoy what was going on around me?
The answer was shameful: I had no idea when I had done this last.
We read all the time how important it is to take time to ourselves. We’re supposed to find an hour or two in our chaotic, jam-packed schedule to sit in a field admiring the tall grass…to twirl around in our hippie skirts in the middle of a meadow laughing and enjoying the sunshine and falling backward in ecstasy, counting on the flowers to catch us and lift us up.
Am I the only one who can’t readily find a meadow or an appropriate skirt to twirl in? Or hell, THE TIME TO ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS?
A lot of us are busy. Like, too busy. So where do we find the time to meditate for an hour before we go on a run and then sit with a cup of coffee watching the sunrise? Or take a leisurely lunch while reading a book and enjoying a glass of white wine? Or sit on our floors with all of our scrapbooking material around us, glass of red wine in hand and calming ocean sounds in the background? (Now that I type all that out, these sound like lovely things that I will tragically never get around to doing.)
We may not have time for these things, no. We may be the kind of people who come in early, eat lunch at our desks, and stay late. We may be the kind of people that bring work home with us because we have to–not everyone can afford to leave right at 5. But that does not mean that we get to ignore that we are still people and that we still need breaks from the monotony.
Here’s My Challenge for All of Us:
I’m challenging you (and me) to take this week and take an actual break every single day. Most of us are allowed at least two 10-15 minute breaks throughout the course of the day–I typically spend mine on Facebook or going to get more coffee. This week, though, instead of taking a smoke break with coworkers or catching up on your Twitter feed or talking to your friends or getting personal errands accomplished, take 10-15 minutes to find a quiet place: outside, in your car, walking around the block, and just take the silence in. Enjoy this brief time to look at the trees, people-watch, and breathe. Don’t solve the world’s problems and don’t ruminate on your own. Don’t take calls or texts…hell, don’t take your phone with you at all. Challenge yourself to sit with you–only you–for 10-15 minutes every day this week in the middle of the workday. There is no deadline too impending, no project too large, no amount of work too high in volume that would render you unable to walk away for 10 to 15 minutes and just enjoy being a part of existence.
We may not have time to craft tumblers out of old wine bottles or chant mantras in incense-filled rooms or reorganize our pantry items in order of size and color, but we do have time to set aside at least one work break for ourselves. Take this time to take in the world around you and notice the difference it can make in your day!