What is a #PeaceBreak?

It normally begins Sunday afternoon while I’m preparing dinner, helping the kids get through last minute homework, or trying to take an afternoon nap. That nagging feeling of anxiousness reminds me about all of the work I may have left undone at the office, the meetings I have to attend for the week, and the emails I have to answer. My heart begins to race, and I ask to myself, “Why can’t the weekend be longer?”

Does any of this sound familiar? It does to many of my friends on Facebook. They may not admit it to some, but their posts and the memes they share document the anxiety they are feeling about Monday morning. What if I told you that you can face your Monday from a place of peace and not anxiety? What if I told you that you are capable of commanding peace into your Monday that will have a lasting impact on your week? What if I told you that, despite the pressures you experience at your 9 to 5, you can endure it all with God’s peace?

Many years ago, I also dealt with a heightened level of dread as the sun set on Sunday evenings, so much so that I developed debilitating lower back pain that would cause me to have to leave work and “take to bed” until the pain subsided. Most of time, the pain was brought on by stress I had internalized, but I was so focused on the pain that I never thought to examine its root cause: anxiety.

It wasn’t until a friend suggested that I pray about my pain that I began to incorporate scripture in my life, specifically Matthew 11:28 that says, “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. For me, this scripture opened the door to a new level of thinking, trust and reliance on God to help order my day in God’s peace. Reciting scripture was not the only thing I did to help me remain centered in God’s peace. I also actively prayed over my day, practiced breathing exercises, and I incorporated something I call a “Peace Break” into my work day.

Why pray over your day?
For me, prayer is essential. If I have a challenging meeting on the books, I pray. If I am working on a project, I pray. If someone is getting my last nerve at the office, I DEFINITELY pray. Prayer helps to order my thoughts, my words and my actions. It also helps me to remain calm through frustrating moments on the job.

How can breathing exercises help me regain my peace?
Breathing exercises benefit the body in a variety of ways. According to the American Institute of Stress, practicing breathing exercise helps to decrease stress, relax the muscles, and lower blood pressure.When tensions begin to rise at the office, I start my breathing exercises. I also incorporate what I call a peace mantra that I say to myself to help me realign with my center of peace. It goes something like this: Inhale peace…exhale fear. Inhale peace…exhale anxiety. Inhale peace…exhale frustration. Saying this helps me to refocus and decrease my level of frustration.

What’s a “Peace Break”?
A “Peace Break” is a 10-15 minute period of time when you remove yourself from your office, your phone, and your email to realign yourself with your peace. It is impossible to do this at your desk. You will stop to answer your phone. You will stop to respond to that urgent email. Someone will stop by your office to have a conversation with you about the project you’re working on.  So, leave your office and take a walk. While you’re outside, practice your breathing exercises, say a prayer, and get yourself back to your peaceful place.

It’s been 10 years since I’ve had lower back pain. In that time, I have learned how to use prayer, breathing exercises, and my “Peace Break” to usher me back to my center of peace. Do I have bad days?

Yes. Do I always get it right? No. But I do know that when I actively pursued God to be my central focus, and embraced his peace, then my life changed. And it will for you, too.