Here on Free-for-all Friday, we like to offer surprises! So, here's a surprise guest post from the incomparable Libby Heily! Life is full of responsibilities, and Libby has a great idea on how to keep up...
Life is stressful, you don’t need me to tell you that. Work, errands, kids, groceries, work outs, bills, etc. It all adds up. Some days, you spend the entire day running around with absolutely no down time. It happens to us all.
Wouldn’t a nice three hour snooze on the couch be great? Of course it would, but we rarely have time for that. What we can usually sneak in, however, is a micro-break.
I started using this technique when I attended Longwood University as a theater major. Theater is an interesting field of study because not only do you spend your days attending classes and doing homework like a normal student, but you also spend your evenings working for free for the university (building sets, attending rehearsals, directing, what have you). Mix all that time in the theater with a hectic social life and some attempt at remaining in shape, and your day quickly fills up. I’m a person who stresses out, a lot. So, in order to avoid a melt-down, I took micro-breaks.
In concept, micro-breaks are simple. In practice, they’re easy to forget about. Every day, two to four times a day, I would take 1-5 minutes to myself. I would try to find some space to be alone, and I would breathe – long inhales and powerful exhales. If I was up for it, I would picture a yellow light entering my body with each inhale and spreading throughout my body. Why yellow? Because it reminds me of sunshine. Yellow helps me feel relaxed and calm but also energized. Visualization is a powerful and personal thing and if you choose to use it as at tool, it might take you a while to find the perfect image for you.
After each break, I felt relaxed and ready. During those minutes alone, the day slipped away and awareness slipped in. The hardest part – remembering to do it.
Are micro-breaks a fix for everything? No, but they do help. Sometimes, just giving your mind and body a break for a few minutes can help you re-center and re-focus. Go ahead, give it a try. At the most, you’ll lose five minutes. But you could possibly regain a margin of sanity.
Libby Heily began writing after spending years as an obsessive reader. She's written plays, screenplays, flash fiction, short stories, and novels. When not spending time in made up places with invisible friends, she enjoys reading, running, hiking and performing improv in Raleigh, NC.