The shrinking snow banks and singing birds beckon us outside to join the annual spring cleaning ritual. Raking alongside our neighbors awakens us from our winter slumber. Inside, we’re eager to pack up the winter coats and pull out the bathing suits. We crave all that comes with warmer weather, and we create space in our lives to soak it in. And it makes total sense. This bridge between seasons is a perfect excuse to re-boot.
all in a day’s work
Why not apply our natural inclination to restart into our daily lives? In addition to creating spaces in our garages, let’s create mental space too. Take a ten minute walk, eat lunch away from your desk, enjoy a longer shower, take a short nap, or sit unplugged with a cup of coffee or tea. As challenging as it can be to pause, the benefits are real. Many studies tout the benefits of downtime. It’s a virtuous cycle. When we take a break, we:
Are more productive
Sharpen our concentration
Replenish our motivation
Feel more creative
Enhance our memory
practice makes perfect
Michael Taft, a meditation teacher and bestselling author, notes that that there's a big difference between valuing the idea of more downtime and committing to it in practice. "Getting out into nature on the weekends, meditating, putting away our computers now and then—a lot of it is stuff we already know we should probably do. But we have to be a lot more diligent about it. Because it really does matter."
When we’re on retreats, we create space for breaks. Our teens come to crave this time alone, whether they choose to close their eyes for a bit or take a leisurely walk. As much fun as they have with the group, they also recognize the benefits of pushing pause. We all feel new energy after we’ve exhaled by ourselves. One youth describes her time: “What I like about having time to myself on retreat is being able to let my mind wander. It gives me a peaceful and clear mental space.” We at Valo take advice from our wise youth all the time—consider this an invitation to join us.