Out of the Office: Take a breather

Sometimes I need a reminder to just breathe.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day, with my workload or errands or the generally never-ending to-do list. Finish one thing, two more take its place — like a hydra built from incomplete nightmares. With winter rapidly incoming, the stress ramps even higher.

I miss the days when snow on the ground brought me joy, and joy only. When I woke up last week to see that a light dusting had descended on the world, I groaned aloud and shuffled outside to clear off my car.

It’s October, I grumbled to myself. Why is this reality?

Car successfully cleared off, I shoved the scraper back into its place and turned around to go back inside. Then I paused.

It really was very pretty out that morning.

The snow melted away by the afternoon, and I lost myself again in my overloaded schedule.

A few days later, I was at my desk catching up on email, trying vainly to knock a few things off that pestery to-do list, and finally an inner voice yelled at me to take a break before I lost my entire mind. So I got up from my desk, grabbed a jacket and went out to at least stand on the porch for a few minutes.

It’s amazing what breathing fresh air can do to calm a stressed-out mind and center yourself. Do I have scientifically backed information on hand to support this? No. But I did feel better, standing on the porch with the sun slanting through the trees and that particularly wonderful scent of fall filling my lungs.

Then I turned around and my heart leapt into my throat.

In the yard, lying in a wide patch of grass warmed by the afternoon sun, was a very large, very relaxed-looking female moose.

She was some distance away and minding her own business, blinking sleepily from her comfy place. After getting over the initial surprise, I stood and watched her for a few minutes. She swiveled her ears on occasion, remaining alert to her surroundings, but otherwise she lay there, contentedly sunbathing.

It looked like it felt really nice.

A sudden cold breeze sent me back inside, but I felt calmer and more refreshed after my little outing. As I returned to my desk, my mind remained with the moose — how peaceful she looked, how happy she was just to lie there and take in the sun.

I’ll make a point to remember this as the days get darker and the to-do list persists. Take a minute, take a breath. A little sunshine goes a long way.