10 Things That Are Real: How to Take a Break & Connect with Yourself

“The world doesn’t happen to you, it happens from you.” ~Unknown
It’s easy for me to drown in the sea of day-to-day things. How can I not when technology, social networks, phone calls, and the pressure to be successful in spite of the economic downturn constantly bombard me?
It’s almost as if catching a breath of air, and not a forced one, has become increasingly difficult. The world as we know it is constantly evolving before our eyes. How are we to keep up? Must we keep up if it means losing sight of the simplicities we cherish?
Some of us, myself included, become so immersed in everyone and everything with a sense of urgency and expediency; we become almost robotic “beings,” executing tasks just to complete them.
Don’t forget to breathe. Every breath of air is a well-earned one, no matter who you are or what’s on your plate. As a human being, it is your right to unwind and take a break from the numbers, bills, texts, tweets, status updates, emails, phone calls, and the mesmerizing touch-screen wonderlands.
It is your right, and never too late, to allow yourself to experience and enjoy the little things; these simple but real pleasures:

1. Create something.

Everyone is an artist, whether visually, with words, or even numbers. Take what you know and put your mind to it. Better yet, share your creation with someone. A personal touch can brighten someone’s day.

2. Ask genuinely.

Ask a friend, partner, or colleague, “How are you today?” and mean it wholeheartedly. How? Look them in the eye, even if it seems uncomfortable, and let them know you’re taking the time to care.

3. Be a giver.

Perhaps you’re excited about the way an experimental recipe of yours turned out. Bring a dish to work to share with a co-worker without expecting any compensation. Or, drop a surprise cookie on someone’s desk when they’re on a break. People enjoy unexpected indulgences.

4. Hand-write someone a haiku.

It’s not rocket science or elitist literature. Just follow the five-seven-five rule and write something that’s meaningful to you and/or the person for whom it’s intended.

5. Open up.

Let someone listen to your story. In person. You never know what insights can be gained.

6. Resurrect a hobby.

Break out that old, dusty pair of rollerblades from 1995 and hit the pavement at full speed. (Just be careful and make sure you pad up those knees, elbows, and that head of yours.) Or, build houses out of popsicle sticks and Elmer’s Glue. Pay no mind to those who tell you you’re too old. Live young.

7. Snail mail.

It’s not convenient; it’s not supposed to be. That’s the point. Put some thought into a card or hand-written letter and mail it off with a good, old-fashioned Forever stamp. It’ll get there when it gets there and the recipient will love opening it.

8. Switch off.

Shut down your laptop and cell phone one warm-weathered Saturday afternoon and enjoy the day unfold. Try not to be afraid of what you’re missing. The world will go on, and you will, too.

9. Read a book.

A real, paper book with pages that can be turned by your very own finger tips! Take a pencil, mark it up, circle your favorite excerpts or draw hearts around your favorite characters’ names. Just take a break from the Kindle or any other touch-enabled tablet.

10. Jot it down.

What have you learned today? “Nothing” is not an answer. Every day, you have the chance to learn and explore new things. Did you learn that a moth lands differently than a butterfly? Write it down! Did you discover a new hiking trail in your hometown? Make note of that, too! Discoveries help to shape the human experience.
Remember, in an ever-evolving world, you are what’s real.
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