Something unexpected happened last week. I was snuggling in bed with my 6-year-old daughter, doing our nighttime routine: reading a book (which I got REALLY into!!), rubbing her back, and kissing her goodnight. In the middle of reading, we got into a silly conversation and started making up new words to songs on the radio like, 🎵 🎶 “I had a dream I was licking ice cream off the sidewalk on my day off…” 🎶 🎵
And you know what? It was FUN! It lasted all of five minutes (but the new lyrics may just last a lifetime! 🤣). We finished up, I tucked her in and we said goodnight. But those 5 minutes of fun had an interesting impact on the rest of my evening.
You see, life’s been moving at a faster pace for me lately. While there were times when the slowness of COVIDtime felt foreign, for the most part, I appreciated the space it created. Instead, I’ve found myself swept up in a frenetic pace these last two weeks, unable to slow down.
We’re in creation mode at our Waterleaf Naturopathic Medicine practice, creating new videos and written material, adding to our practice member curriculum in exciting ways. And it requires a lot of brainpower and long hours. And then I go to bed and have fitful sleep filled with dreams about what? Curriculum stuff, of course! My brain simply can’t stop.
This kind of sleep sounded the alarm bells and clued me into the fact that I needed a break from all the work. So I made the decision to start relaxing in the evenings. But after so much pushing and accomplishing, taking these breaks felt uncomfortable. In fact, it felt almost impossible to do and before I knew it, my mind was searching for something else to fill the time. Argh!
I’ll bet many of you know this experience. You’re desperate for a break, but actually making this break happen feels hard. The harder you work to relax, the tenser you become, the more upset with yourself you are. This compels you to turn your focus outward to your circumstances and blame those for your stress and lack of downtime. And before you know it, you’re feeling like the victim of your circumstances as you go around and around the hamster wheel, feeling helpless to find the peace and relief you’re craving.
Yuck, right? This never feels good.
And that’s the cycle I’ve been stuck in for the last few weeks. But then those five minutes of bedtime fun with my daughter happened and I suddenly found myself in an unexpectedly different state of mind.
When I returned to my work that evening, there was more space in my brain, which was so contrary to the brain overload I’d been experiencing. It was easier for me to close my computer and let things go for the night. And THIS intrigued me! I mean, why this sudden shift into relaxation mode with ease?
I reviewed my day, examining the possible moments that could have contributed to a shift like this. I slowly began to wonder: Could it be the five minutes of fun? I mean, that time demanded nothing of me. It wasn’t another responsibility. It was simply a few minutes that invited me smack dab into the present moment while joy and fun wove their way through.
So I experimented. And it turns out spending five minutes a day doing something fun during stressful times promotes exactly this: an ability to step into the present moment, more easily relax and experience a break from pressure, anxiety and stress. And the beautiful part? It turns out those five minutes go on to impact the trajectory of the rest of the day or evening.
I’ll tell you one thing, people. I love EASY, which is why five minutes of fun a day is my new favorite thing! It turns out it’s enjoyable to ponder what my fun will be each day. My youngest daughter and I are having a blast brainstorming ideas. Sometimes it’s planned. Other times it’s spontaneous. No matter what it is, changing that channel for those five minutes a day ends up luring me back into the present. And once again I find that dipping into the present moment, even for five short minutes, has a way of creating space in me and in my circumstances that felt utterly impossible five minutes earlier.
So I’ve decided it’s time to have a 🤪 FIVE MINUTES of FUN CHALLENGE. 😁🤩 for the next 5 days!
Here are the rules:
- Wake up and set the intention to do something fun for five minutes that day. You can plan it or count on spontaneity to lead you to it.
- Notice the impact it has on your day and your stress levels.
- Post about it using #5minutesoffun, email me about it or share your experience with others around you.
- And don’t forget to share any awesome five fun minute ideas, too, and add #5minutesoffun.
I invite you to join me in this challenge in whatever way feels good to you. Do it every day and feel the cumulative difference. Do it on and off for a few days and compare those days. If you’re feeling stressed, overcommitted, anxious or overwhelmed, I simply welcome you to give this experiment a try and see what you find. What if it turns out five fun minutes a day end up lessening the hard in your life and instead usher in some much-needed ease?
Lastly, the above photo reflects my five minutes of fun from Father’s Day:-) My daughter and I were on video talking with my dad and mom when my wife came up behind me and ‘restyled’ my hair. 🤣 Needless to say, it was a regular riot and numerous unique hairstyles ensued for all, as evidenced by the below photo!
Before that call, I’d been in work mode, feeling that sense of pressure and not enough time to meet all my responsibilities. After that call and our five minutes of fun, my responsibilities felt lighter and my mind felt more spacious. In fact, time suddenly stretched. And more minutes of fun wove their way through the rest of my day. Isn’t that so unexpected and surprising? You’ve gotta try it to believe it and be sure to let me know what you find! ❤️
P.S. Know a loved one or friend who is looking for relief in THIS moment? Share my free MICRO-MOMENT RESET with them so they can move into relief, feel more ease, and find more clarity without having to work so hard to make it all happen.
P.S.S. If you’ve been enjoying my weekly blogs and are itching for more daily inspiration, follow me on Facebook (Emily Colwell), Instagram (dr.emily_colwell), and Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh1EqJz3wcFJfICkN60krnQ) . I post frequently and humor leaks into most of my posts!
Emily Colwell, MSSW, ND
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