My conference call ended 5 minutes early. A neighbor called to say that she’ll pick my son up from baseball practice. The casserole is in the oven a bit earlier than I’d planned. Each one of these situations has freed me for the next few minutes – I have precious unexpected downtime. From my earlier post this week, my son’s prioirty list caused me to think about visible reminders. Granted some of it is in the giddyness of realizing that I’m finally getting through to him! But what do we do and how do we prioritize when we find an unanticipated few minutes? Here’s my short list that you can modify, add to, or delete.
1. Breath – Breathing is a vital process which starts at birth and ends at the death. Breath deeply into your belly just for a moment because it’s likely that you haven’t all day. If you know a yogi or a practitioner, try a pranayama.
2. Say a prayer – Regardless of your faith tradition, taking a few moments to be still, to be thankful or to ask for blessings for another is a worthwhile activity.
3. Drink a glass of water – The most recent thinking that I have seen suggests that you divide your body weight (in lbs.) by two and drink at least that many ounces of water each day.
4. Floss – Healthy teeth create an environment where your heart can stay healthier. Keep floss in your desk, your car, wherever you might have a moment.
5. Go for a walk – The research around exercise is well publicized but what’s not as well known are the positive effects of spending time in nature – and you can catch up on your vitamin D.
6. Call your grandmother – This will make her happy and you’ll feel better because of it (even if the conversation takes more than the few minutes that you have available).
7. Read a storybook to a kid – Reading to our children is one of the single greatest ways to influence their own success as readers.
8. Write a poem on a postcard and mail it to a friend – For a period of 100 days,Ted Kooser, former United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress took an early morning walk, composed a poem inspired by his walk and sent it on a postcard to his friend, Jim Harrison. It’s called Winter Morning Walks.
9. Stretch – By deliberately elongating our skeletal muscles, we can improve felt elasticity and improve muscle tone – and it feels good.
10. Plan a meal – Plan it out top to bottom using the produce in your CSA delivery or make a shopping list and hit your local farmer’s market. Share the meal with your family or friends or enjoy the solitude.