Life is busy, continuously commanding attention from all sides. Amid the fierce conditions of work and life in general, how can one maintain a steady flow toward a simple aim and not be “too busy” to treasure time? How can we learn to not overcrowd our attention with unessential things? Learning to take a break is invaluable to add more joy and focus. Things can be overwhelming at times but things are also manageable with a mindful break routine.
Taking a break doesn’t degrade your work ethic. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Bill Gates talks time, “You control your time and just sitting and thinking may be a much higher priority than a normal CEO might realize. It’s not a proxy of your seriousness that you haven’t filled every minute of your schedule.” In the same interview, fellow billionaire Warren Buffett adds, “Time is the only thing you can’t buy. I can buy anything I want. But I can’t buy more time.” The three of them muse at Buffett’s calendar which has large chunks of empty space where he allots to doing nothing.
Like brushing your teeth, taking a break is good mental hygiene. No one likes bad breath. Similarly, nothing worthwhile gets done with a cluttered mind. The greatest gift we can offer anyone is our total attention. It quenches our thirst to connect. Knowing that I can be completely present with someone or that I can create cushion throughout the day to unwind is incredibly empowering. Here are 14 ways to mindfully unplug and maintain a healthy perspective:
1. Take a long and unhurried breath, feeling your stomach stretch like filling a balloon. Take a few more if it awakes your body ever so slightly.
2. Notice: true and real qualities you can appreciate in the room,
3. Notice what happens to your spine as you sustain a focused breath. Examine its features.
4. Notice: what’s the farthest thing you see in your immediate space. Examine its features.
5. Notice: what’s the closest thing you see in your immediate space. Examine its features.
6. Notice: what’s the farthest sound you hear in your immediate space. Examine its features.
7. Notice: what’s the closest sound you hear in your immediate space. Examine its features.
8. Notice: what’s the farthest thing you can touch in your immediate space. Examine its features.
9. Do a 1min drawing
10. Write a 1min letter to someone without needing to send it
11. Go for a walk
12. Thank someone by text or email.
13. Meditate for a few minutes: sit quietly and breathe.
14. Sit to actually taste and appreciate your next meal. Notice how your senses are turned on to the food.