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Give Me A Break

Give Me A Break

Fortunately for me, I was born and raised in beautiful Hawaii so when I say that I am “taking a trip home” for holidays or family events, I get to go back to what I consider one of the most beautiful places in the world. Something happens whenever I take a trip home: I remember what it feels like to slow down and I leave feeling recharged, refreshed, and rejuvenated. Perhaps it is a combination of being on vacation from school or work and the laid-back culture there, but when I am home, it is easier to give myself permission to take a break, slow down, and just be. It comes so natural for me there but on my way back from my last trip, I found myself wondering how I could do that daily without having to travel 3,000 miles away from the life I am building in Utah.

 It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life-work, school, taking care of kids, commuting in traffic, church activities, regular exercise, running errands, etc.- that taking a break might seem counterintuitive if you have things to do and deadlines to meet. However, research shows that taking breaks will actually increase productivity and creativity.

Pomodoro Technique

When I studied in graduate school, I implemented the Pomodoro Technique: working in undisrupted blocks, typically 25 minutes long followed by a 5-minute break. This means putting away any distractions, including text messaging, answering emails, or talking to family members close by. When I did this, I found that I studied more effectively in shorter work sessions rather than trying to plough through a longer block of time. This approach is effective with any task that I have to do, from cleaning the house to completing client notes.

Schedule Ahead

If you are anything like me, you probably like to plan ahead with lengthy to-do lists. Sometimes it can be helpful in keeping me organized but often times, when tasks are left unchecked on my to-do list, I feel unaccomplished at the end of the day. On top of that, it is often difficult for me to actually enjoy a fun or relaxing activity (i.e., hanging out with friends, taking a nap, falling asleep at night, etc.) when I have an unfinished task in the back of my mind. To help with this, I make sure to schedule adequate time in my week to work on the tasks that are important. Then I schedule time for breaks, this includes time to sleep and socialize. There are numerous studies that prove the benefits of sleep but when we are busy, sleep is usually what we give up first. Resist that urge! Among the myriad of benefits, sleep will help with memory, productivity, clarity, and energy.

Take a deep breath

Research shows that people who practice daily meditation are more relaxed and productive throughout the day. When I first started to practice meditation, I had difficulty remembering to set aside time to do so regularly so I started by setting a reminder on my phone to slow down my breathing for a few minutes before every class that I had. Then I started to implement guided meditation from online recordings and also practiced yoga. If you are interested in attending a meditation or mindfulness group, we will be resuming our groups in the Fall so stay tuned or contact our office or website to sign up! 

You do not have to travel 3,000 miles to feel recharged, rejuvenated, and refreshed. Learning to take breaks regularly throughout the day could give you the motivation and energy to fulfil your responsibilities.

 

Too Much Technology?

Too Much Technology?

I recently watched a new Ted Talk called “The Future of Happiness: Getting Unstuck in the Digital Era” delivered by Amy Blankson just a few weeks ago on May 4th. While acknowledging how technology could be a distraction in our lives, Blankson also spoke of its benefits. (more…)

April Showers Bring May Flowers

April Showers Bring May Flowers

I’ve been thinking about the old proverb “April showers bring May flowers” lately because some days it still feels like winter! We are in that weird transitional time in the season when we could experience warm spring weather and cold, snowy and rainy weather in the same week, sometimes even in the same day. (more…)

Brace Yourself

Brace Yourself

With almost 4.5 million kids and adults seeking orthodontic treatment, braces have become almost a rite of passage in the United States. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I was one of them and I wore braces for 18 months when I was in middle school. I hated it. About halfway through my treatment my orthodontist had me wear rubber bands to correct my bite. (more…)

Preparing for Therapy: How to get the most out of it

Preparing for Therapy: How to get the most out of it

The mental health stigma is real. Research shows that the majority of people have negative perceptions, attitudes, and stereotypes towards people with mental illness.

“Oh. You go to therapy?”

“Isn’t therapy for crazies?”

Well, let me tell you. In my experience in out patient settings like Balance, Health and Healing, typical clients in therapy are usually high functioning, intelligent, successful individuals dealing with a myriad of presenting concerns. So, no, you are not crazy for going to therapy.

(more…)