With a Treat for Taking a Break —
It's "Picnic Monday" around here today. That's what we've long called the day after Easter Sunday, when we always look forward to cruising on the intended overflow from generous holiday preparations. This year we're actually both back at work instead of basking in an extended weekend, and it's not even sunny enough to eat outside in our spring-blooming garden. But at least what's for lunch and dinner is already taken care of, and we're still savoring all the fresh family memories for a lasting sense of sweetness that takes both my mind and heart on a picnic.
And although none of us should ever underestimate the restorative power in the bunny's best chocolate, besides trying to schedule in some kind of regular exercise and time to get a good night's sleep most days, one of the best things we can ever do for ourselves and each other is to pause for refreshing little breaks along the way. Because we can't take a deep breath, if we never even come up for air. I know. Since I tend to be a hyperfocuser, who also loves to get things both done and supposedly done right, it's natural for me to keep driving myself beyond possible clarity and/or productivity.
So here are some of my most reliable Joie de Vivre Schedule support systems, that I hope will help make your days a more comfortable place to live in too:
- Accept that shorter periods of focused activity are much more effective than well-intentioned marathons.
- Re-define your concept of "perfect" to include perfectly reasonable or acceptable.
- Outsmart procrastination by doing what you can do now, so you'll actually have time to pace yourself and enjoy the process, instead of being forced into a stressful deadline position. (e.g., I'm not scheduled to publish this post until Wednesday, but I have other commitments on that day, so this is my best opportunity.) Besides, we never know what else might come up to take priority in the meantime.
- When working on the computer, use a time-out app that reminds you to periodically look and/or get up from your screen or desk chair — for however briefly. Re-focus and stretch! (Yes, I often hit the "skip break" button, but it's still a valuable reminder, and I am getting better at paying attention to it. My eyes, neck, shoulders, and brain are all grateful.)
- Embrace the time-honored tradition of taking tea. It works! (To read more about that supportive custom, find the link to my Take Time Out with Tea blog post below.)
- Take a little power nap! I get dopey if I check out for longer than 15-20 minutes, but my husband subscribes to a full 45 minutes after lunch to keep him earning the title of "MOA" (that's for my Man of Action) during the rest of the day.
- Whether it can only be a few hours or hopefully a full day each week, schedule in some regular time off. Whenever possible, we go for a "Sacred Sunday". No matter when or what you call it, it's the personally sanctioned and essential space to wiggle or laze around in, both however you feel like in the moment, and with no attached feelings of guilt or external obligation involved. As a basically responsible individual, you know you'll be back in your more obviously productive groove again soon enough to keep your life together and moving forward in a positive direction. And who knows, besides having the chance to regain your sense of humor and perspective, you might even make some inspiring discoveries while off the clock!
At the very least, after a more leisurely Sunday morning either at home or on a replenishing trip to the farmers' market, I often choose to open the kitchen windows, turn on the music, fire up the burners, and revel in the creative process of cooking that can further expand and fulfill, when I don't have to be in such a hurry. And it provides a naturally joyful high that will also end up helping to take good care of us for the rest of the week too.
It's a pivotal choice when we take time to digest and create balance in our lives, so we can keep making sense and the most of it all.
So whether you've just set or turned off your own timer, please click on your simple sweet treat link below to open My Casual Recipe for Caramelized Strawberries and Oranges. They only take a few minutes to make and will patiently wait composing themselves until you're ready to eat them. Then go put your feet up, pour yourself a nice cup of tea, and stare out the window for at least a few minutes. Feels good, doesn't it?
Next time we'll focus on Respecting Our Own Boundaries to best serve the collective purpose.
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Bon Appétit! Kay