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Sue timing out at Sunshine Beach
Time Out sounds like something I read in a book 25 odd years ago when a child, (who may not have been mine), tried to flush our cat down the toilet. It is supposed to be a circuit breaker, to stop the child from continuing down a path of destruction or bad behaviour such as screaming, punching their brother or …………………flushing a cat down the toilet.
But the Time Out that I am writing about is the type that refreshes the soul, clears the head and helps to press the re-set button. Getting away for a weekend or even a night has a remarkable effect on clearing out the cobwebs and if you somehow combine it with the ocean, then that really has a profound cleansing effect. So when thinking about what this week’s Nugget would be for our Pain Relaxation class (these Mondays come around remarkably quickly!), I decided to write about the value of scheduling some ‘time outs’ during the year, because we have snuck away to Sunshine for our own ‘time out’ escape this last weekend.
Work life balance is important when dealing with life’s stresses. If you don’t acknowledge the need for a break, for a change from routine and for different scenery, then you can feel overwhelmed with life’s round-a-about. When you relax, you give yourself permission to let go of worries for a while. Relaxing gives your mind and body time to recover from the stresses of everyday life.
Relaxation tips
Fit things into your day that help you unwind. For everyone it is different. Some ideas can include:

  • listening to music
  • going for a walk
  • coffee with friends
  • yoga
  • reading
  • watching TV

Find something that you enjoy and make a conscious effort to do that relaxing thing every day. In a busy work day, even 10 minutes of downtime can help you manage stress better. It can also help to have a place where you go to relax. This can be your bedroom, bathroom (maybe take a bath?), the garden, the verandah or a local coffee shop, a park or even the library– somewhere where you feel comfortable and secure.
Take a minute to breathe and regain control
We all take breathing for granted because it is something that happens without us being conscious of it. However, if you take a couple of minutes to concentrate on how you breathe, it helps to lower your heart rate and decreases any anxiety. When we are relaxed we take slower breaths which in turn helps us to feel calmer.
Breathing techniques
We have done lots on breath awareness, but revisiting our breathing techniques is the certain way to be able to ‘turn it on’ when it’s most needed. Just like we learn any new skill such as shooting goals, if you play netball or basketball, better breathing techniques can be learned.
Practise the tips, below, so that when life is hectic you can stop, take a moment and breathe. Breathing better will help your mind and body regain control of the situation.

  • Sit in a comfortable and supportive chair and place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your abdomen.
  • Breathe as you would normally but notice where your breath is coming from in your body.
  • Then concentrate on taking a belly breath and notice how your abdomen rises as you breathe in and falls as you breathe out.
  • Now bring your palms very lightly together and notice the warmth in your hands under your fingertips and palms. Take a moment to observe the intensity of that warmth.
  • Noticing is important, as it is a mindfulness activity which directly influences your heart rate and decreases your cortisol and adrenaline release. 

Bigger Time Outs

Bob at Sunshine National Park
These can include a morning hike through the nearest nature reserve (for us Brissie people Mt Cootha is close and a great short hike); a day trip to the nearest scenic outlook (Tamborine, Springbrook, Sunshine National Park) or stay a night or two and breathe in some sea air and just sit on the beach and listen to the peaceful rhythm of the ocean. Sometimes unexpected things happen on a Time Outs such as whale watching from the verandah of your accommodation.

Just breaking the routine and taking some time to chill reinvigorates and refreshes and most importantly gives you new memories to savour when you are at work.
My advice? Plan a time out soon!

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