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Full Time, All the Time

with Britt Reints

Forget the 9 to 5; the demands of a working mom aren’t limited by a time clock. Full Time, All the Time is a blog about balancing the many roles of a modern woman - and maintaining your wellbeing while doing it. I am a writer, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and sometimes volunteer living in Pittsburgh. Oh, and I think you look pretty today.

You can also find Britt on Twitter and at InPursuitOfHappiness.net.

What do you do when you need a mental break?

Categories: balance, the juggle

3 comments

I need some advice, and the fact that I even have to ask this question is embarrassing so I’m going to attempt to lessen the mortification with a little back-story justification.

Last week, I mentioned that I find myself compulsively checking email, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites on my iPhone throughout the day. I don’t do it because I’m dying to know what is happening online, but rather because I am temporarily bored.

I check it during the commercial breaks of my favorite TV shows or during the opening credits of a movie we’re watching on DVD.

I check it between work projects.

I check it if I’m stuck in a waiting room, amusement park line, or multi-floor elevator ride.

It’s as if I don’t know how to just stop and be still for a few moments.

I asked myself recently what I did before I had an iPhone. Certainly there was a time when being constantly connected to the Internet wasn’t even an option. How did I ever manage my boredom and restless energy pre-Twitter?

I smoked.

Before the smartphone kept me connected to the digital word, the cigarette kept me connected to a fierce nicotine addiction. While those two habits look very different from the outside, they both feed at least one common need:

The need for constant distraction, even when I want a temporary break from the real world.

I’m not sure I know how to take a real break. I mean, sure, I know how to read a book or take a nap or go for a walk. But I’m not talking about a relaxing activity that takes up its own chunk of time. I’m talking about those moments when you just need to stop, catch your breath, and take a moment or two.

Like after you’ve cleaned up dinner and before you start the bedtime routine.

What do you do when you can’t - or don’t want to - really do anything? How do you satisfy that momentary need for mindless distraction?

Yes, I’m seriously asking for your advice on this!

Please leave your suggestions in the comments. I’ll just be over here in the corner trying to hide my shame.

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3 comments so far...

  • For me, looking out the window or going in the backyard and just breathing is a good way to transition between tasks without doing something I consider unhealthy. Also a few yoga poses or other brief exercise. Eating an orange, maybe. If I need to be “doing something,” I can go to my pile of mindless to-dos, e.g., taking bank statements out of envelopes. Or spend a few minutes moving unused stuff from my closet / drawers into a donation bag.

    Unfortunately, my first reflex is often to check an internet site or two, which I don’t consider a healthy break. So I’m also working on this problem.

    SKL  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 11:19 am

  • I need help with this too - I cannot just *be*, I have to constantly be occupied with something….no matter how small. Counting ceiling tiles can get pretty boring.

    Since I nixed the internet on my phone and cannot check my email during random moments of nothingness, I fidget a lot more than usual. Fidgeting makes me self-conscious…which makes me antsy….which makes me anxious….which leads to bad stuff.

    Must.Be.Occupied.

    Sheila  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 11:25 am

  • I struggle with this too.

    When I was a teenager my dad used to sit outside and watch the birds. I thought that was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever seen. Now I see he really was one of the few men who also had the role of “single parent” (in the 80s) who his priorities in order (and #1 priority at that time was to remain calm enough not to kill his teenage hormonal daughter, ahem).

    I’m seriously considering buying some birds. :D

    Darla  |  February 23rd, 2011 at 11:46 am

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