Keep your sanity & health with 1 minute brain breaks
Before I was born, my sister was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, which meant my parents spent hours, days, even weeks in the hospital: waiting, worrying, and hurting for their three-year-old undergoing treatment. Something my mom came up with that she has carried with her from being a caregiver as a young mom, all the way to caring for her own ninety-six-year-old mother, is something she calls the “minute vacation.”
She passes this trick onto anybody who is going through a period of waiting and worrying as she was, and we use it on a daily basis now that we are both caregivers for my grandmother, Aj.
Here’s how it works: When you’re going through a difficult time, your mind is constantly burdened. The weight of your circumstances will affect your health, mood, relationships, and ability to care for yourself, let alone anybody else.
Obviously a vacation to somewhere peaceful, sunny, and far, far away would work wonders, but this sort of escape is rarely an option in the midst of a trial. So instead of a week-long vacation, treat yourself to a minute-long vacation! This may seem underwhelming, but give it a shot and you may just find that it does the trick.
For just 60 seconds, you can be a “normal person,” enjoying a “normal day,” free of sickness, pain, worry — and you can be far, far away.– Eliza Brown
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, worn-down, mentally or physically exhausted, take one minute — you can even set a timer on your phone if you’re worried about taking up too much time — and try your hardest to clear your mind of every single heavy thought. Remove yourself from the physical place in which you were feeling overwhelmed (hospital room, living room, dinner table, waiting room, etc.) and do something that allows you to fully focus on something entirely different.
- If you’re in a hospital, walk to the vending machine or cafeteria to get a snack or coffee. Step outside, call a friend, and don’t talk about anything important. Scroll through Pinterest and find some good recipes or DIY projects. Make a grocery list and don’t just write what you always get; write some fun things on there.
- If you’re at home (yours or a loved one’s), go outside and smell the flowers. Wash your face. Take a lap around the yard and focus on every sense: what do you hear? smell? feel? taste? see? Brush your hair. Drink a glass of ice water and breathe deeply. Pull out your phone and ask Siri funny, random questions. Wrap up in a blanket (weighted blankets are wonderful when you are feeling overwhelmed.) Stretch! Learn some simple yoga poses that make you feel refreshed.
This minute of respite can give your brain the break it has been craving. Don’t let difficult times get the upper hand on your health. You are in control. For just sixty seconds, escape your situation and immerse yourself in something refreshing, peaceful, rejuvenating, and joy-filled. For just 60 seconds, you can be a “normal person,” enjoying a “normal day,” free of sickness, pain, worry —and you can be far, far away.
Need help organizing respite care so you can take more than a minute vacation? Our coaches are standing by!