Imagine our ancestors moving to the rhythm of the seasons and the sunrise and sunset of each day. Though life for them was tough in some ways, they did have more downtime. Our bodies and minds evolved accustomed to taking some breaks.

Now we are in the twenty-first century. Most people—perhaps particularly parents—are on the go from the time they wake up until they fall into bed. This lifestyle produces chronic stress along with tension, physical health concerns, and mental health issues. The end result of this constant busyness often surfaces as frazzled nerves and the crowding out of other necessary aspects of life. If this sounds familiar, it is time to think about taking a break—or taking a few mini- breaks.

If you promise yourself that you will take some mini-breaks—even just a minute in length—the accumulating effects will be calming and really good for your body, mind, and spirit. Here are just a few thoughts about how to get more breaks into your daily plan:

  • Remember the facts. Your productivity will increase with more breaks.
  • Check out. When you decide to take a break, really do drop everything else for that period of time.
  • Take micro-breaks. Take just a few seconds to close your eyes, breathe deeply, shift your focus, or stand up and move around.
  • Change gears. If you’ve been working on task A for a while, switch to task B.
  • Get up and get out. Glance out the window, find a reason to leave a meeting, go outside and look around.
  • Take your mind elsewhere. Pretend you are in a place that makes you feel relaxed and happy, whether it’s in your lounge chair at home or a hammock on a tropical beach. Use your imagination.
  • Learn how to say “no.” When you learn to say “no” to activities that are a low priority for you, more abundant time will be available for a “yes” to activities that really feed your soul.

You do deserve some breaks in your day every day . . . and a change of pace is good for you.