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Take a break, you deserve it.

By April 15, 2015Ayurveda + Wellness

The sun isn’t shining, but I’m still having my own private dance party.

If you live on the East Coast like me, you’ve been waiting for spring to actually come out and show herself. We’ve had a few warm, sunny days here and there, but the chill of winter and gray days seems persistent.

Instead of waiting for that future perfect day to arrive, I’m suggesting something radical: stop everything, and have a 5 minute dance party. Right where you are.

Okay, maybe that’s not actually feasible. You’re at the office or on the subway. What about this: close your eyes, turn off the external world, and delight in the world without screens, phone calls, emails, or food and find peace and quiet within yourself.

This may or may not strike you as impossible. It’s not easy to halt everything and justify personal time, let alone, time for the sake of itself. We live in a world of expectations, where demands from work, family, partners, friends, and relationships ask us to extend ourselves far beyond what is actually doable or healthy. Do you find yourself planning a personal day, a trip to the spa, a yoga class, a picnic in the park, a hiking trip, or sit-down with a dear friend, only to put it off until it feels more convenient? If only I get this pile of work completed, then things will be perfect and I can take a break! How often are you waiting for the sun to shine to consider celebrating? What can you do to change this?

This kind of self-talk is common. And, it pulls us out of the present and tries to say that RIGHT NOW isn’t good enough. We procrastinate giving ourselves what we’d like to have in exchange for a distant future we cannot predict. Perfection, happiness, clarity, peace, and sunshine are simply far-off, unattainable dreams.

If only I weighed less, then I’d feel confident enough to ask for a raise.

If only I had the right training, then I’d be able to start the business I dream of.

If only I had the time, then I’d be able to eat healthy and feel good.

If only I had a higher income, then I could have a nice home and feel good.

If only I had more confidence, then I’d get promoted.

 

A friend of mine calls this procrastinating celebrating. We put off celebrating the NOW because we perceive that the present just isn’t cutting it. If only the sun were shining…

Of course it feels awesome to take a walk outside when the world is sunny and warm. But consider the perspective you’re missing out on by remaining stuck behind your desk on every chilly gray day. Celebrating the now doesn’t have to mean jumping for joy. We’re going to have a mixture of good days and bad, that’s just life. However, we are in control of our response to our circumstances, how we choose to receive the world and step into the present moment.

My husband taught me this technique for maximum work efficiency: After I’ve gotten clear on what fills my daily dance card, I can segment my day into 20 minute, 45 minute, or one hour time slots. I set a timer, and begin working. When the timer goes off, I take a five-minute break. This does not include handling personal business like going to the bathroom and drinking water. This five-minute break is exclusively for putting work aside, for taking a walk around the building or turning on my favorite tune and shaking my hips until the timer goes off again. Afterwards I always feel refreshed, recharged, and happy to return to my work because I made time to take care of ME.

Does five minutes out of every hour seem like a huge sacrifice? There are other ways to create sunshine in your daily schedule. Another friend recommends planning a non-negotiable 20 minute meeting with yourself into your daily schedule—he practices yoga at this time—but you could choose any activity that is not computer/smart phone/work-related that helps you re-connect to yourself and Nature. You could also make your break time shorter, 2 minutes, and simply sit at your desk with your spine straight and eyes closed while you listen to your breathing.

What’s important in this equation is YOU—we put off celebration because life’s not always easy. Celebrating now is a way to acknowledge yourself for your commitments, dedication and hard work, rather than treating yourself like a workhorse. The plain fact is that you are worth it, you are worth at least 5 minutes of your own time, in fact, you are worth at least 20 minutes of your own time. When we put off celebrating until the next sunny day, we put off taking care of our selves and truly living a life where we get to feel….good.

Dancing with yourself, or dancing with someone else, make time today.

Do you want to jumpstart feeling good today? Whether or not the sun is shining, you can take steps to improve your daily energy levels, ease digestion, and sleep better. Read here to learn my 3 simple steps…

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