We all need a brain break from time to time. There are days where you feel like things are moving way too fast for you to keep up and your scattered thoughts and to-do lists can’t be wrangled into something manageable. At times like this, we need to make the intentional decision to slow down and engage our hearts and minds in something outside of our normal routines.
For me that break usually includes going outside, my dog, and my camera. In fact, spending time outside, in nature, is one of my non-negotiables.
Recently I made the decision to give myself a break and chose one of the most beautiful locations along the Oregon Coast, Sunset Bay. And with a name like that, you can safely bet that I went at sunset.
It’s a beautiful place to sit, be still, forget the to-do list, and just be.
Sidenote: Sunset Viewing Tips
When you go out to watch a sunset, make sure you get there at least a half hour (if not earlier) before. And just like the end of a Marvel movie, make sure you don’t leave too soon. Even after the sun has dipped below the horizon, the light show doesn’t end. Every few minutes (even seconds sometimes) the colors change, and clouds move and reflect the light at different angles.
As the beach started to empty of people, Bailey and I went down closer to the water’s edge where he could participate in his favorite activity, running through the waves. 🙂
There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”
― Jo Walton
Here are a few signals it’s time for a brain break
1) You feel frazzled beyond belief
2) Your brain feels like it cannot make one more decision
3) You feel jumpy or jittery for no apparent reason
4) You are forcing yourself to concentrate, and it’s still not working
5) You just sighed a looooong sigh
Your signals may be different from this list. Sometimes the hardest part is recognizing the fact we need a break instead of pushing our way through.
How to take a brain break
When you realize it’s time don’t go crazy with ambitious and complicated ideas, keep it simple and doable. Here are a few ideas:
- Hot bath with essential oils and candles
- Curling up in a comfortable chair with a cozy blanket and a great book
- Sitting on the porch with a cup of tea
- Visit a walking trail at a local park
- Sit by a lake, a river, or the ocean
- Go for a drive down back roads or country roads, find something new to see
- Take your dog for a walk in your neighborhood
- Sit and enjoy a cup of tea (or coffee!)
- Eat lunch outside
There is one key idea to an effective break – change your location. One of my favorite quotes comes from Bob Goff, “Where you do what you do matters.”
The following two elements can help you get even more benefits from a break:
- Move and get your blood pumping by walking, stretching, or deep breathing exercises
- Turn off electronics. Especially your phone.
When you are so busy and feel like you can’t take a break, is probably the time you need one the most.
As usual, summer is flying by. So make regular, intentional decisions to stop, slow down, and give yourself the gift of a brain break.
Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
What is your favorite way to take a break?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.