I just got back from a walk around the neighborhood. It’s one of those perfect days—warm, sunny, blue sky, a light breeze. The kind of day that lifts your spirits without you even trying. Signs of spring’s upcoming arrival are everywhere— yellow daffodils like fancy teacups; robins chirping; clover the size of half dollars. I feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. The laundry’s tumbling in the dryer and the neighbors’ kids are laughing and playing outside. On days like this, I don’t have to try to feel energized or relaxed. I just am.
But what about on one of those other days? The kind where something’s weighing on your mind. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You just feel anxious. Meanwhile, you got caught in a rainstorm on your lunchtime walk, the one you took to help clear your head. Now you’re back at your desk, but the neighbors’ kids (or your kids) are screaming and crying—someone took someone’s toys and it’s all someone else’s fault and they don’t care that you’re busy working on that deadline. You know, that kind of day.
Well, I always find that a walk helps, but, probably not so much if there is torrential rain or a thunderstorm. This may be a moment to stop what you’re doing, get up from your desk, and relocate, even if for only five minutes. And in those five minutes, take a timeout. Breathe. Then run a quick diagnostic on yourself …
- Thirsty? Drink a glass of water.
- Hungry? Eat a handful of nuts or another healthy, energizing snack.
- Need five minutes of alone time? Hide in the bathroom if you have to, or sit in your car.
- Anxious or agitated? Maybe try dancing like no one is watching for five minutes and shake it out, my friend.
- Tired? You could even grant yourself a longer break and take a power nap for 15 to 20 minutes.
The world won’t come to an end and you will still meet your deadline. Five minutes can change your life—or at least your afternoon.