As our lives become increasingly frenzied it’s no wonder we’re seeking moments of respite to simply catch our breaths. The problem is, however, that between taking care of children, managing our careers, and investing in our relationships, it’s become practically impossible to take care of ourselves! Given this reality for many women, it’s no wonder we sometimes feel overwhelmed at the thought of getting out of bed some mornings! In fact, I often compare this daily feeling to being on a treadmill at full speed, never stopping for a minute until bedtime comes! Do you ever feel this way? If so, the question to ask yourself is how to intentionally get off this metaphoric treadmill and take a deep breath and recharge. Well, as luck would have it, there is a solution. Create restorative niches throughout your day!
In her book Quiet, Susan Cain explains that restorative niches are moments that you intentionally set aside for yourself to recharge. They can be both a physically quiet place you create for yourself and go to for five to ten minutes to calm your mind or a mental break you give yourself at your desk by practicing deep breathing, closing your eyes, or reading a page or two from a favorite book. The idea is to make time during your day to recharge your mind and spirit by intentionally stepping away from the chaos and demands to gather your thoughts and feelings. According to Cain, it’s even possible to create restorative niches in a meeting, simply by strategically placing yourself around the table according to your preference of space (for example, away from the center) and by selecting how you participate. Being mindful and intentional about how you go about your day could in itself be a restorative process.
The idea behind restorative niches is simple—it requires you to be aware of and recognize any negative emotions you might feel throughout the day, whether it be stress, frustration, or anxiety. You must then acknowledge those feelings and find ways to calm them by taking a physical or temporal break to change your thought pattern. You can also think of it as taking a mini-vacation whenever you feel overwhelmed at work or at home!
Here are more ways you can create restorative niches:
–Create a vision board filled with inspirational images and empowering quotes. According to the science of positive psychology, absorbing the messages behind the chosen images for a few minutes every day helps boost your mood and propels you to be creative and productive. It primes your mind to succeed and attain your goals (which are reflected on these boards).
–Meditate. This can be done discretely and in short bursts of 2 to 5 minutes. If you are in a private area (a bathroom stall always works), close your eyes, quietly repeat positive affirmations to yourself, and step away from all negative and draining thoughts. If nothing else, being in an environment where no one can place a demand on you for two minutes is also liberating!
–Practice deep breathing. This simple act has been proven to decrease stress and help sharpen thinking! Take a few minutes when at your desk to breath in for four counts, pause for four counts, and breathe out for four counts. Do this four times while being mindful and reap the benefits of this short pause to recharge and refocus.
As a final thought, remember that you are not a robot. In fact, to quote Dr. Lois Frankel, “you are a human being, not a human doing.” Take that pause during the day to refuel yourself. You will reap the rewards through increased productivity, a clearer perspective, and a sense of renewed purpose and inner calm.
Call to ACTION
What do you do to recharge your battery throughout the day? Leave your reply in the comment box below!