Be the bearer of a simple break


Over the past several weeks, we’ve explored the benefits of giving yourself permission to take breaks throughout the day. We know the benefits. We know different methods. We know we are more productive when we pencil in time for … well, nothing. But have you ever considered the psychological and social benefits of gifting someone with a bit of time back into their day?

“Simply put, lending a break to someone else aligns with altruism, which is a selfless act or practice to promote someone else’s well-being,” McKenna Gottfried, RN, well-being navigator, Parkview Center for Healthy Living, said. “And while lending a break to someone else directly benefits the well-being of the recipient, the act of kindness also generates a ‘helper’s high’ that benefits the giver. Such acts of kindness also promote social connectedness, and people who have strong connections to family, friends, co-workers and others around them have stronger immune systems, lower rates of anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem.”

While sometimes identifying opportunities to lend a hand or do something generous is easy, other times it might come from a “just because” mentality. Here are some simple suggestions for promoting well-being among your social circle.

Give someone a break …

  • Prepare a meal or baked good, or surprise them with a gift card
  • Offer to clean or grocery shop
  • Create a care package with things like tea, bubble bath, a great book or a gratitude journal – anything you feel the individual might enjoy that also encourages self-care
  • Offer to babysit or run an errand on their behalf
  • Consider mowing the lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow or planting flowers
  • Grow a garden and distribute your extra produce

Make gifting a break part of your daily routine …

  • Hold the door or elevator for someone
  • Offer to carpool
  • Toss a quarter into an expiring car meter
  • Give a smile and say “hello”
  • Offer a sympathetic ear when someone needs to talk