Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have a weather phenomenon we like to call “sun breaks.” The weather is so grey and the skies are so cloudy for so long that a little bit of sunshine breaking through the clouds is an occasion worth notice and even a bit of celebration. These little breakthroughs of sun provide much needed brightness to otherwise dreary days.
My life is very hectic these days and so I’ve found that the best way to reduce my stress and keep my calm is to take little mini-breaks throughout my day. Like sunbreaks in the cloud, these mini-mental health breaks help me keep my chill and stay calm through my day.
My husband and I both have full time jobs and our kids are still pretty young. Our kids are that age where they are adorable little beacons of light and laughter… but they are also a lot of work at this age. I know kids are hard work at any age but when they’re small, there’s a lot of hands-on effort when they are young. I wake up in the early hours of the day before the kids so that I can meditate and mentally prepare for my day. Once they wake up, it can feel like I’m on a wild ride, going from one thing to the next through my day: daycare drop off, full days at work, after school appointments, even kindergarten homework. All of this can start to feel overwhelming and I’ve certainly felt overwhelmed by everything going on in my life but I’ve found that the best way to keep my chill is to take advantage of the little, unexpected breaks that arise throughout the day. Even with everything I have going on, I have found that I can find a few moments of recovery, if I keep my mind open to them.
Like sunbreaks through the cloudy skies of Seattle, there are moments of stillness even on the busiest of days – if you look for them. They can take many different forms: It may be listening to chillhop on the drive in to the office, sipping coffee while waiting for a meeting to start or sitting in the dentist waiting room. However these moments present themselves, I take them as opportunities to practice. Rather than always reaching for my phone or some other distraction, take these opportunities to simply come back to the present moment. I take a few deep breathes and ground myself for a few moments when I can. These small moments of mindfulness throughout my day help me balance out the chaos with a bit of calm. I’m able to be less stressed and more present for my team, my partner and my kids.
Keep your eye out for those little “sun breaks” in your day; those moments when you can pause and simply be present for your life. Savor those precious moments when you can take a deep breath and be here now.