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Your mind is on overload. You can’t think straight and the simplest tasks seem incredibly confusing. No, you are not losing your grasp on life, you are just in need of a brain break. Our minds can only take in so much information at one time. They need some time and space to sort that information and make it accessible when needed. Brain break! Educators know these breaks very well and use them quite effectively with their students. You don’t need to go back to school. You can do them for yourself.
Before you begin
Fresh air and movement are two important keys for shaking things into place in your brain and working more efficiently. If you are fortunate to live near a beach, grab your phone – safety first – grab a towel and some beach shoes – already in your car, right? Now head to the beach!
See where the tips of the waves meet the shore? That’s where you want to start. Turn on some music, blood pumping music, and start to walk. The sand in that area is generally well packed so you should be able to move at a brisk pace. Walk for about 5 minutes. Breathe in the salty air and the calm of the waves as they come to the shore. When your 5 minutes are up, drop your towel up on drier sand and have a seat. Now you can either turn off the music or turn it to something quiet and restful.
Set your phone timer for 5 minutes and sit quietly. Try to free your mind by acknowledging the thoughts that come and then let them go. Your goal is to let your mind rest and relax your body. Find a focal point such as the ocean or something on the beach or in the sky; anything that is peaceful and not overly stimulating for your brain. Breathe deeply and be aware of your breathing. Notice your own heartbeat. Gradually become aware of the sounds around you. Hear the waves as they break and come on shore. Listen for the birds flying overhead. Bury your toes in the sand and take notice of how far down you go before the sand gets warm. Continue to let go of any thoughts that come into your mind and focus on your body sensations and the sounds around you. When your timer rings (make sure it’s a gentle ring, not something that will cause you to be startled) it’s time to move. Fold up your towel and head back in the direction from where you came. Put on that dancing beat music and walk!
When you return to the tasks you left behind 15 minutes ago you will find that you feel refreshed, recharged, and ready to plunge into them again! Your thoughts will be clearer, and your body will be more relaxed. Your productivity will increase and you will feel more focused and content, observes William Schoellkopf. Brain breaks are not just for students in school. Those of us who are students in the classrooms of life will find them helpful too!