Years ago, I had a fun side-hustle. I made soaps, lotions, and other fun bath and body products. Actually, it’s more accurate to call it an expensive hobby.
There were several things I loved about that side hustle.
- A love of research and development.
- Finding the raw materials and packing supplies I needed.
- Learning about essential oils and fragrances to scent my products.
- Tweaking of formulas to find the just right blend of ingredients for a great bar of soap or bottle of lotion.
- The community I found in discussion forums and at craft shows.
Each craft show was an opportunity to meet interesting people from all walks of life. It was fun to talk through a purchase with a customer and figure out what would work for them or the person they were giving it to as a gift.
Reflecting on that now, it may have been one of my first steps in the journey of understanding stress and the impact on the lives of busy women. These bars of soap and bottles of lotion provided small, yet practical ways to stop, be present, and enjoy a special treat.
How the “Take-A-Break Kit” Came To Be
The show organizer of one of my biggest shows each year asked me to create something small and affordable that would be a fun stocking stuffer or add-on gift. From that request, the original “Take-A-Break Kit” was born.
It was a cute little bundle filled with a tea-light, two bath beads, and some yummy chocolate pieces. I packed these in a clear cellophane bag and tied on a hand-stamped recipe card that said “Out of Order,” with the following recipe:
“Take 15 minutes and add 1 hot bath, 2 bath beads,
light one candle, and eat chocolate.
It’s time to take a break.”
That season, the little bundle became one of my top sellers. I wish I had thought to take a picture of that kit!
Not only did it sell well, but it was a great conversation starter with my customers. It was affordable enough that they often walked away with several. My favorite customers were the little kids who came to my table with a few dollars in hand to buy their Mom a gift.
The popularity of this product caught me by surprise. More than once I ended up scrambling for resources to keep making them and spent many a late night assembling them.
Looking back now, it shouldn’t have surprised me. The kit made taking a break simple and doable. That little package was a fun, out-of-the-box idea that captured attention.
It taught me that for self-care we need SIMPLE and EASY ways to take a break. Too often we make grand and complicated plans for rest and relaxation. This little kit showed me that if the idea takes a lot of effort, time, or material, we often won’t follow through, or make it a regular habit.
The “Take-A-Break Kit” I use and suggest today has evolved since that first little craft show bundle.
What does A Take-A-Break Kit look like today?
- A collection of enjoyable and relaxing crafts or projects that you can work on in short 10-20 minute chunks of time.
- Simple “grab-n-go” activities that do not need intense concentration, or require you to pull out loads of tools and supplies.
- Stored in portable containers.
- Analog, these activities should be off-screen and offline.
What To Include In A Take-A-Break Kit?
There are a lot of options you could include in your own kit, for example:
- Craft Project: Knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery etc. Something you can pick up and put down
- Coloring Book and colored pens or pencils
- Activity Books: Word Search, Crossword, Sudoku, Trivia
- Letter Writing Kit: Cards, stickers, stamps, and pens
- Journal with a favorite writing pen
- Book with short, easy-to-read chapters
- Your favorite magazine
- A deck of cards
- A sketchbook for doodling, sketching, or painting (check out this great portable idea!)
This is just a short list of ideas to get you started.
When presenting this list recently, someone asked me, what if none of these appeals to you? What if this list stresses me out? I’m already overwhelmed. I suggested that she ask herself some questions that immediately helped her think practically, and “doably” that fit her interests and her lifestyle.
- What hobbies do you enjoy?
- When you dream and think, “If I had just a few minutes of time I would…” what 3 things come to mind?
- Do you subscribe to any magazines?
- Do you like to read a printed book or an eBook?
- Do you like tea? Have tea bags ready to pull out and just sit for a few minutes.
- Do you need help blocking outside noise to relax? (I often do…)
- Are there people in your life you are grateful for? When is the last time you told them?
- Do you have a gratitude practice? Is it time to start one?
- Do you need a braindump? Maybe all the break you need is to give your brain a break from trying to remember so much information.
Remember from earlier? Simple and Easy is key.
Don’t overthink it.
It’s okay to start small and grow your kit.
I hope this has sparked ideas for you
to start your own Take-A-Break Kit.
What 3 things would you start your kit with?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer, and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her dogs. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books, and now with the Selah Journal: A reflective journal and mini-retreat. Start your own daily gratitude practice with our, “7 Days of Gratitude Challenge – A Gratitude Journal Starter Kit”.