Stopping and pausing in a busy day is one of the most efficient ways of relieving stress. Nowhere is it said you need an hour, a half hour, or even five minutes. Just taking thirty seconds to take a deep breath, to look out the window, or to stretch your cramped muscles can do more than a five kilometre jog if the timing is right. Even watching the play of dust mites caught in a stray beam of sunlight can alter your perception of your day for the better.
Studies tell us that February is a depressing month, with the wrappings, bows and exuberance of Christmas well behind us, the anti-climactic let down of January, and the many weeks before us of no three day weekends or statutory holidays until spring. February too is the time of rain, days and days of soggy, intermittent greyness enveloping us and cocooning us in our own sombre mood, cutting us off from the momentary joys that are ours if we just take a moment to reach out for them. How are you doing in this department? Here is one simple question to ponder – for a second or two.
When the sun streams into your office, reflecting off any bare surface on your desk, or causing the paper to erupt in blinding whiteness; do you:
A) Curse and get up to close the blinds because you can’t get any work done.
B) Leave the office because the sunshine is calling your name.
C) Take a moment to close your eyes and really feel the warmth of the sun slowly but determinedly coursing throughout your body and then get up, take a really good look at the beauty outside your window, breathe it in, and then, and only then, re-adjust the blinds so that the sun can still touch your soul with the feathery lightness of a brushed kiss, smile – and go back to work.
While I suspect (B) is the desired option, we can’t always do that, which leaves us with (A) and (C). A is the one that most of us probably do - but consider (C). In this vein, even Lord Denning in his famous words “it was bluebell time in Kent” inadvertently or otherwise, acknowledged the significance of permitting the natural world around us to invade our work-day world.
Spring is erupting all around us right now. New buds are emerging, and small animals slowly open their eyes, shake off the winter lethargy and attempt their lumbering semi-awake trundle across our city roads. Catch and hold, even if only briefly, that feeling that you have when at the end of the day you step outside to feel the sting of cold spring air on your face, or the single droplet of rain jauntily traveling down your cheek to settle on your lip, that first breath of freshness of the newly washed world around you, when your day is finished, and carry it with you home to your family. Keep that feeling with you and take it out intermittently during the following day to examine it, and take a moment to reflect upon it. There is a whole world contained in that pause – your world.
Remember, when you are most busy, when you have the most witnesses to interview, the most research awaiting, and the heaviest stress is when you need that fifteen second or one minute pause for reflection.