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Take A Break Mama: Ten Ideas to Help You Catch a Breath In the Middle of Your Day

I recently wrote a post about the idea of being a Sabbath mom—a mother who’s heart is at rest.  I shared how I want my presence to be a refuge for others in this world of constant noise and chaos. I want to be calm and steady—not just another unpredictable variable in this ever-spinning world.

It’s hard, though. It’s difficult to calm the noise for my kids, because it’s difficult to calm the noise in me.  I like to push through the to-do lists, keeping everything tidy and organized along the way.  I plug along at full steam, ignoring the warning lights of anxiety or fear or anger that sometimes build up in my heart.

And sometimes when I do grab a little break, I end up wasting it with more noise: Scrolling through social media feeds, browsing online stores, or watching a bit of last night’s late-night show. These things don’t really help a heart rest. Often, they just add to the chaos.

Over the years, I’ve come to trust the wisdom that comes from God’s Word: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).  That means putting myself in a place of more than just physical stillness–it’s also about “unplugging” and setting my mind and heart at rest.

I don’t have a perfect track record, by any means, but I do try to take a little break, even in my busiest days. Time when I disconnect from my to-do list, and my technology, and just focus on noticing God’s presence.  

It’s hard, because sometimes it means I may not get through my agenda for the day. But somehow it doesn’t matter. Taking that moment to connect with myself and with Jesus fills me with perspective I didn’t even know I needed—until I slowed down enough to notice.

It helps me let go of the things I shouldn’t have been holding so tightly anyway.

Maybe it’s a practice you’d like to start for yourself.  If so, I’ve got a list of ideas for you to consider.  Simple, short activities that can help you disconnect from the noise of your day and reconnect with your Creator. God’s always with you, of course: But in your moments of stillness, I pray you’ll experience that presence in a truly refreshing way.

  1. Spend some time outside.  Go for a walk around the block—or just sit a cup of coffee in the sun.
  2. For the cold or rainy days, enjoy a bit of nature online by watching a live animal feed.  Watching God’s creatures reminds me how big God is, and assures me that He truly has this whole world in his hands. (There’s just something about watching a panda sit in utter relaxation, munching away on bamboo, that releases tension from my heart!)
  3. Connect with your creativity by doodling or coloring.  Have a storage basket handy with a few simple supplies and let yourself enjoy the creative release.
  4. Write a prayer. This is especially valuable for the days when you’re feeling extra emotional or unhinged.  It can help to release all those feelings to God—and when you force yourself to write about them, you might be surprised by the clarity it brings.
  5. Listen to some music.  I’ve got a couple of playlists I’ve put together on Spotify for moments when I just need to remember who God is—and who I am in His eyes.  Some are worship songs, some songs wrestle with finding truth in the hard stuff, and some of the tunes speak to me with no words at all.  If you need to catch a breath, try closing your eyes and simply letting a song fill your heart.
  6. Read a book or blog post.  Ten minutes isn’t enough time to dive into a deep Bible study. But it’s the perfect amount of time to read a chapter from that encouraging book you planned to read someday.  If books aren’t your thing, try subscribing to a blog or two so you’ll always have a few ideas sitting in your inbox.
  7. Write in a journal.  Try starting a Gratitude Journal, where you jot down the little things you’re thankful for in your day.  Sometimes, frankly, I just need an attitude adjustment—to get my eyes off the negatives.  Taking a few moments for gratitude might be just the thing you need to refocus your energy for the rest of the day.
  8. Page through a photo album(either physical or online). Sometimes, we get so busy looking at everyone else’s photos online, we forget to savor our own special memories. Spend a few minutes reminiscing and thanking God for the ways He’s been faithful to your family in the past—it has a way of bolstering your trust that He’s got more good planned ahead.
  9. Do some simple stretches/exercises:  If your day has been especially stressful—or just busy with lots of seated work—taking a few minutes to stretch will help you relieve some of that built-up tension in your heart and in your muscles. Check out these simple stretches or yoga poses if you need ideas.  Connect to your breathing as you stretch: Try thinking about gratitude as you inhale, and releasing worries to God as you exhale.
  10. Take a nap. I will confess, I often have the attitude that “ten minutes isn’t really worth it” when it comes to napping.  Every so often, though, if I find myself with just ten minutes before I have to pick the kids up or get to an appointment, I’ll lay down and catch some rest.  I rarely fall asleep in such a short time, but just the act of physical rest—of slowing my breathing and letting my mind wanter—helps me feel more relaxed as I head into the rest of my day.

Bookmark this post and when you’re ready to try your own ten-minute break, pick one to try for yourself.   Whatever you choose to do, know that Jesus wants to meet you there.  I’m praying they will help you find a quiet peace that will bless you—and the ones around you—for the rest of your day.

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