I wanted to start good habits when I began to work full-time. I freelanced for many years working outside of my home, and I knew this new position would keep me more tethered to a desk. We are supposed to get two 15-minute breaks along with our lunch break. I noticed coworkers going outside for their cigarette break. But I craved to move my body and breathe fresh air. I wanted get out of my work mindset a bit, take a real break to renew and recharge myself for the rest of the workday. So I invented the apple break.
I love working in downtown Providence, RI, because it’s so walkable with many options to choose from. There’s historic Benefit Street. I can stroll along the Providence River, or go downtown to window shop and people watch. Even the Roger Williams National Memorial is a convenient destination.
I would get outside rain or shine and start to walk in one direction, eating my apple. Sometimes I’d pick up the pace and walk quickly, sometimes it was a more leisurely stroll. And as soon as I finished eating the apple, I’d change direction to turn around and head back. Then I always slowed down my pace to walk mindfully. I’d take deep breaths and take a moment to notice my surroundings. I would observe the ivy climbing up a tree trunk, the fragrant blooming flowers, the breeze, or simply marvel at the changing color of the maple leaves.
And I found it was easy to spend one of my 15-minute breaks outside.
Now that I’ve been working full-time for a year, I can reflect on this new habit and how I’ve incorporated it into my daily work schedule. It’s definitely easier to get outside when I’m in Providence as opposed to the other courthouses around the state. I prefer fresh, local apples that are in season. And when I couldn’t get apples, I’ve been able to enjoy smoothies on my walks as well.
Now that autumn is around the corner and it is officially apple season in New England, I’m ready to restart my apple break habit. I can’t wait to visit the farmer’s market and stock up on crispy, fresh apples. My 15-minute break will be more pleasurable. It is a true break in the literal sense. I’m away from my desk, moving my body, and invigorating my senses while eating delicious fruit. Then I’m ready to tackle whatever challenges may come my way.