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Weekly Helping Hand: Take a break before the storm!

This weekly post will highlight a writing prompt, helpful video, quick "life-hack", or links to help with a variety of activities including writing, parenting, pets, healthy choices, and more. These pint-sized blogs are short enough to enjoy with your favorite cup of coffee or tea in the morning.

When you've finished your cup, consider sharing your own helping hands (tips, tools, trade-secrets) in the General Discussions forum.


November is here, and with it comes a torrent of activities, holidays, family gatherings, and events such as the annual writing contest, NaNoWriMo! Regardless of your following, the onset of fall is definitely a time of change, filled with excitement and anticipation. The end of the year is coming and so is winter. Time to pull out those cozy sweaters, stock up on cocoa (with marshmallows!) and a few of your favorite books.

Before your To-Do List starts filling up faster than Santa's, you should take a moment now to give yourself a break. In our family we call it "Needing a Moment". However you label it, taking a few minutes, or even seconds, to just breathe is a very health and much needed part of our lives. It is so very easy to get wrapped up in the white-water-rapids of our lives, especially during this time of the year: We find ourselves scrambling around to finish projects before the end of the year. Celebrate special events an holidays, all while trying to keep a bright and cheery smile on our face. Meanwhile our personal batteries are running on empty. A simple reminder to stop and breathe can make the difference between enjoying this time of year and locking yourself away in a dark hole.

Taking a moment can be as simple as just stopping whatever you are doing at anytime of the day and counting to 10. (To see a wonderful blog on a great technique to help with anxiety, click here!) It can also be treating yourself to a nice cup of cocoa, or hot tea with honey. Both of these not only help settle your heart rate, but they have other medicinal benefits, too. Breaks don't have to be very long, or elaborate; the key is finding something that will make you smile, breathe a little slower, and calm your nerves for a brief moment in time. It's very important to give yourself a break at least once a day, if only to remind yourself why you are doing all this rushing around. With the wheel of the year coming back around, now is a good time to reward yourself for all the hard work you've done over the last cycle.

For this week's Helping Hand, scroll down below to review a list of ideas on taking a short break. Scroll through it, and keep your favorite suggestions in mind as you start the hustle and bustle of the on-coming season.

  • Do a few stretches to reverse your desk slouch

  • Read a quick article or two (maybe your favorite writer's weekly blog?)

  • Grab a quick cup of water/coffee/tea/cocoa

  • Take a walk, even if it's around your desk!

  • Look up some quick TED Talk snippets

  • Play a quick brain-boosting game (like the ones on Luminosity)

  • Nibble on a few healthy snacks to boost brain power and energy, like blueberries or nuts

  • Look out a window. Better yet, combine this with the walk above and enjoy nature's beauty!

  • Grab a graphic novel or go online and read a page or two of some funny comics

  • 3 Candle Breath technique for 1-2 minutes: Stop whatever you are doing and sit down. Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose for 3 seconds (actually count in your mind). Imagine a single candle in front of you and blow it out slowly through your lips for 3 seconds (again, count slowly in your mind). Rest for 3 seconds. Repeat for a total of 3 times, or as needed for 1-2 minutes.

  • Stare out of a window and look for shapes, textures, colors, etc. Or just appreciate the view.

  • Tidy up a small area of your desk, room, work or writing space. Even if it's only paperclips! It's the action that matters, not the quantity of the cleaning.

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