The Power of the 30 Second Pause

If your life is like mine, there’s a lot of running around. Get up, get the dog/kid(s) up, do the typical dance of duties with my partner, everybody eats, outside to pee (for the dog, perv), lunches packed, breakfast dishes done, drive to work, work, home from work, walk dog/kid(s)/husband/self, cook dinner, clean up, get kid(s) to bed, laundry, read/watch a show/play a game/chat, bedtime routine, bed. And those are the days without a social life. It’s easy to run from one thing to the next in this mad dash to keep up with your day. I found myself in this flow recently and realized that this harried sense of incompleteness was completely my own doing. My brilliant Reiki Master friend suggested the following: pause. For 30 seconds between each thing, just pause. No pressure to meditate for those 30 seconds or think about anything specific or breathe even. Just pause for 30 seconds.

Since that conversation I’ve been pausing when I get in the car. It may look a little weird to sit in a parking lot or a friend’s driveway but taking 30 seconds to complete an experience is shockingly effective. So today I said goodbye to my family & got in the car. I paused for 30 seconds. I drove to work. I paused for 30 seconds and then walked into my office. I got into my car to leave for my lunch date, paused and then entered the address into my GPS. Ate. Got back into my car to go back to work, paused. Paused at work before entering.  Somehow adding something that takes time to my day makes me feel like I have more time. It feels expansive even. And it rolls into my mantra “There’s time enough for everything.” Cause if I don’t have time to pause for 30 seconds, something’s going really wrong in my life.

Like a lot of things that are good for us (meditation, exercise, eating mindfully) we come up with excuses or forget to add the good things in. I find scheduling them in my calendar and helpful reminders in my phone or on post-its helps. Like the “Pause” post it in my car.

The ugly truth is, if you don’t make self-care a priority, it’s not going to just fall in your lap. Your yoga teacher isn’t going to knock on your door unless you’ve scheduled it. Meditation doesn’t just happen to us, that’s zoning out. A game of pick-up basketball isn’t going to materialize in your living room. Our job is hard. We have to take care of ourselves in order to do our best work. It is important to practice what we preach. One little thing you can do today is pause. Just for half a minute before barreling through to the next thing.

What’s your version of pausing? Let us know in the comments.


Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different states and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. After retiring her individual consultation services, she opened the Abundance Party, where you can get practice-building help for the cost of a copay. You can download a free private practice checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row, get weekly private practice tips, listen to the podcast, hop into the free Facebook Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.



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