Congrats to all of you who are fortunate enough to be on Spring Break right now. I hope you can enjoy some much needed down time away from the craziness that can be all of our daily lives at times. Recently our church had a series of sermons called Breathing Room and it really impacted me. It spoke to the need to ensure that we are not packing our schedules so tightly, that we never have a chance to stop and catch our breath. The video at the beginning showed so much nonstop activity for a particular family, that even just watching it made me tired.
It is easy at times when we feel overwhelmed with all life brings us to forget to stop and enjoy what is right in front of us. There was a beautiful sunset tonight, lots of laughter in our home and kind words expressed to me from dear friends. All little things I may have overlooked if I became too distracted, or neglected to include breathing room into my schedule.
Sometimes when it gets a little hectic in the classroom, and I need to get everyone focused and just calm ourselves a bit, I do so by doing some deep breaths in and out together. It always works as it puts everyone’s focus on relaxing and breathing properly. An added bonus is it also brings out lots of giggles as they like to see who can exhale the longest! When I was doing addictions counselling I remember on a training video the power of deep breathing was described as well. The trainer was describing how when she was struggling with her own addiction recovery, how deep breathing would help her overcome potential relapse situations. She mentioned that studies have shown by just breathing deeply, it can actually alter your brain chemistry allowing the body to come into a more relaxed and functional state.
Recently we had a snow day at our school and many kids were away as the buses were cancelled. Naturally the class was much smaller, which allowed for some flexibility in the agenda. It provided us with a unique opportunity to catch up on some unfinished work and have somewhat of a break from the normal daily schedule. Generally speaking it was a pretty basic day with lots of tying up of loose ends on assignments, yet one little girl replied “This is the best day of my life!” When I asked her why she said “because the classroom is so quiet.” What she was really saying was she had found herself some breathing room and it felt great.
Breathing room to me is taking the little breaks in your life to keep you encouraged and on track. Breathing room can come in many forms. It could be a nap, a nature walk, a great conversation with a friend, a big cup of coffee, a workout session, attending church or watching a funny movie. Whatever is healthy and works for you is the key. You will be happy and healthier for it.
Overscheduling is a chronic issue in today’s society. We can feel overwhelmed and feel that we are always playing beat the clock at times. I know I have been in that category. I remember one little guy telling me at school that he was dreading that evening. He explained that he had basketball practice at school, then lacrosse and hockey practice and finally guitar lessons. Yikes! Kids are crying out for breathing room as well. This is why recess is so important and why they enjoy it so much. Everyone needs those breaks to keep them going.
When we make that conscious effort to schedule in what is beneficial for us, it helps us to focus on who and what is most important to us as well. We can learn to be better listeners and be emotionally, not just physically present with our loved ones and just enjoy the moment. As cliché as it sounds time does pass so quickly and I know I have had regrets from when my kids were small. I wished I had put my "To Do" list aside more often and just followed my heart. Live and learn as they say.
Maybe breathing room for you is starting something new like taking up a new hobby or joining an exercise class or book club. There are so many possibilities and examining them and how they can bring value to your life is very exciting. When we feel that we are taking good care of ourselves, we are much more effective to others. Even Jesus took time to get away from the crowd and pray. As much as he loved the people, being around them 24/7 was exhausting, so finding solitude was very therapeutic for him as well.
Life is a journey of ups and downs and enough activities to keep us very busy if we choose. Don’t neglect to pencil in some breathing room into your calendar. You will be so glad you did and you will ultimately be a better person for it.
Until next time ~ Dana
Matthew 11:28 ~ Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.
Little Lesson Learned: Breathing room along the way, makes for a much more fulfilling day.