I’ve always been a bit jealous of smokers. No, I have no attraction to the smelly clothing, the jittery mannerisms or the inevitable health problems. I tried a cigar once because I thought it was cool. As I gagged and turned a nice color of nauseous I realized it wasn’t.
No, the appeal is not smoking, its the smoke break.
Its the chance to go outside, take a deep breath (albeit, a smoke filled breath), and decompress – calm down. When life becomes too much – when people becoming overwhelming, when work becomes intense, it’s time to head out for a smoke break!
But what about those of us who don’t smoke? I walk past these informal groups of people just “chilling” and I have a tinge of jealousy. So I’ve recently begun taking “non-smoking smoke breaks.” I highly recommend it.
How to take a Non-Smoking Smoke Break
- Go outside. Disappear for ten minutes without explanation – the less you have to explain the better. Maybe they will think you’re in the bathroom or maybe they won’t even notice.
- Make up a generic excuse. If you can’t disappear without the “Where are you going? Can i come along?” questions, make up something boring or confusing. This happens a lot if it’s nasty cold outside and it takes you a bit to get on your shoes, coat, scarf, gloves, hat, etc. (One more reason for living in Florida.)
- Take slow, deep cleansing breaths. Stand by the mailbox, lean on the car, maybe take a short walk. Have no agenda for these 10 minutes. You’re not here to check your phone or rant to yourself about the people inside. Try breathing a prayer. Re-center your thoughts and mind. Above all, be fully present in this break. Look around you at the trees, skies, people walking by. Give perspective to the anxiety on your mind and let the stress roll off your shoulders.
- Re-enter the chaos. Put a smile on your face and head back in to the ruckus.
Rinse and Repeat.
As you head into the chaos of the holiday season, times with friends and family can have their overwhelming moments. Keep this little trick in your back pocket to get your head back in the game. After all, us non-smokers deserve a break too.