The Pause That Refreshes

ten tips on giving yourself a time out

There was a time when I worked for a Fortune 100 company in Los Angeles and before that Phoenix. This may come as a surprise to all those who know me and those I worked with but, part of my employment deal was one hour of undisturbed personal time each day. Then and now people have always found this to be peculiar. Albeit strange, this is how I was able to recharge and work 10-12 hour days without burning out and still do. While my bosses were home watching reruns of the Simpson's I would still be at work in a state of wakefulness with ample focus. I continue this habit still. Many people have asked me how I maintain my high energy level and general exuberance for life. I will tell you my secret; I give myself this time out. Sometimes it is for an hour sometime less than thirty minutes but, I do it daily.

While staying at Deepak Chopra's place in La Jolla they shared with me that one single hour of meditation can have the same effect as four hours of sleep. In this crazy amped up world some of us survive on four hours of sleep so, imagine what that hour of nap or mediation time can do for you.

Here are ten tips to get yourself to tune in and time out.

• Find Yourself A Safe Hiding Space – Find a safe cozy place where you can stretch out undisturbed. It can be your bedroom, a closet, your car wherever you can feel safe and comfortable. This will be “your” space. Come back to it often.

• Tune In and Turn Off – Turn off all cell phones, pagers (if you are stuck in the 80's) and any electronic devices that will distract you from your private time.

• Set The Timer – Use an alarm clock. There is generally one on your cell phone. Just make sure the phone part is turned off. You do not want to take your meditation or nap past one hour. If you exceed one hour you will come up drowsy and may not be able to sleep later. You want to avoid REM sleep. This is a power nap not a time for sleeping in.

• Get Comfortable – Lie down, recline or sit with your spine straight as long as you are comfortable and your position wont' be a distraction. Close your eyes and be conscious of your body and get yourself situated.

• Focus on Your Breath – Take deep breaths in through your nose, hold for a couple seconds and then let it out your mouth. Continue doing this and notice how you feel and how the air comes in and then is discharged. Soon you you will find yourself in a drift.

• Let The Thoughts Flow – Let all the thoughts that come into your mind come and go. Do not hold on to them. Just let them flow. There are no bad thoughts in this process. There are simply thoughts, visions and pictures in your mind. Relax with it.

• Bring Yourself Back to Breath – If you find yourself starting to tense up or becoming distracted simply bring yourself back to focusing on your breath; in through your nose, hold for a couple seconds and then let it out your mouth.

• Set Limits – If you have set your times to fifteen, thirty or sixty minute, adhere to it. As I mentioned before, do not exceed sixty minutes. That is the maximum. Whatever you have set as your allotted time stick to it. In time you will find you will not even need the alarm any longer.

• Gently Rise – When you are coming back to the world do it slowly and deliberately. Stretch your limbs, rotate your back, tilt your head side to side stretching the muscles. Take in some deep breaths and rise.

• Be Patience, Be Persistent – If you find that you were not able to fall asleep or get into the drift, as I like to call it, don't worry. If you are persistent and you do this daily you will find that even during the most stressful moments you will be able to take a time out. It takes about thirty days to make a habit. If you are patient and stick with this you will find that you will be able to take yourself down in a matter of seconds.

In time you if you persistently follow these steps you will find you have created a very nice self-healing energizing habit. You will get more done in a day and feel refreshed nearly all the time. Welcome to my world.

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