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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Find Ways to Refocus and Take Time for Yourself

Dec 26, 2019 11:00AM ● By Kimberly Boney

Just Breathe

January 2020
Story by Kimberly N. Boney

WHEN LIFE GETS hectic and altogether overwhelming, as it often does, one of the hardest things to remember is to just breathe. It’s advice we hear often but rarely heed. Remembering to breathe is far more than the physical act of taking oxygen into the lungs and releasing it back into the ether. It’s a day-to-day commitment to make time to rest and relax. We can’t be our most productive if we are constantly burning the candle at both ends. Taking time to breathe is the first step in living our lives to their fullest potential. Follow along for 20 ways to just breathe in 2020. 

Sleep In. One morning a week, allow yourself time to lay in bed a bit longer. While you are there, catch a few extra winks, read a chapter from your favorite book or watch an episode of your favorite show. Giving yourself downtime isn’t overrated. 

Take a yoga class. It’s more than just about taking time to stretch and breathe. Yoga is a wonderful all-body workout and a particularly good core strength builder but without the propensity for injury that comes with other exercise regimes. And it’s as beneficial for the mind and spirit as it is for the body. 

Commit to coffee, lunch or wine date with a friend. Taking a moment to laugh and talk about the good, the bad and the ugly with a loved one can work wonders for the soul. 

Take a walk. Not only is it good for your heart but taking time for a bit of fresh air and nature can help redirect negative thoughts. 

Listen to some peaceful music. Have you ever noticed that you drive more aggressively listening to fast-paced music? Wind down a bit with some jazz, acoustic guitar, nature sounds or soft instrumental music. 

Watch the sun rise. Grab your cup of coffee or tea, find a window, a patio or park bench and soak up those beautiful moments when the world first opens its eyes for the day. 

Watch the sun set. As the sun goes down on the day, reflect on what you are grateful for. One of the things at the top of your list might just be the enchanting display of colors painted across the evening sky. 

Replace your exercise routine with a fun-filled activity. Your workout doesn’t have to be on a treadmill or weight machine. Consider lacing up some roller skates or bouncing around on a trampoline for an hour. You’ll have a blast, but you’ll also get that workout in. 

Keep a journal. Taking a few moments to express yourself by putting pen to paper might be just what you need to ease the stress of the day. It’s a judgment-free zone that will allow you to organize thoughts. 

Put your hands in the dirt. There is something magical about the feel and smell of earth at your fingertips. Whether it’s a fruit tree, a vegetable garden, an array of succulents or your favorite blooming branch, watching something grow and knowing you helped make it happen brings joy to the heart. 

Take a staycation. Check into a local bed and breakfast or hotel for a night. A break from the normal sights and sounds around you will promote rest and increase productivity once you jump back into your routine. 

Head to the beach. The ocean air, the sound of the water lapping the shore, and the feel of the sand between your toes has the power to rejuvenate.

Order takeout. Your family will survive for a night without a home-cooked meal. We promise. 

Ride the swing at a playground. Feeling the wind in your hair will help you recapture the joy of your childhood, if only for a few precious moments. 

Flip through a book of old photos. Recalling memories with loved ones and seeing how far you’ve come over the years might just be gratitude personified. 

Pull out your camera. Capturing a treasured moment or a beautiful element of nature on camera will give you something sweet to look back on later. 

Turn your phone off for an hour. Yes. Completely disconnect. Taking a moment away from the incessant buzzing of texts and notifications gives your mind a much-needed place to decompress. 

Go for a solo drive. Put the windows down, turn on your favorite playlist and sing along as you cruise down the open road. Leave all of your stress on the highway behind you.  

Take a day to do absolutely nothing. And we do mean nothing. No meetings. No supermarket runs. No lunch or dinner dates. You are allowed to take an unscheduled day every now and then. 

Have a massage. You’ll literally feel your muscles loosen under the fingertips of a good massage therapist. We promise your mind and your soul will unfurl, too.  • 


 Kimberly N. Bonéy is a freelance writer,  jewelry designer and owner of HerStory Vintage and herstoryvintage.com. When she’s not writing stories or joyfully creating new jewelry in her home studio, she’s enjoying time with her family, traveling or perusing flea markets, vintage and antique shops and estate sales for new inspiration.