30 ways to take a SHORT break

Beach run


Look to replace gambling with a variety of activities that you enjoy. 

Challenge yourself (or grab your family or a friend) and check out these helpful ideas for shorter breaks (30 minutes or less) - or you can even create your own check list that includes bucket list items or your own favorite activities.  

Pick your favorite idea or the easiest to start with – the most important thing is that you start!  Feel free to add your own ideas to the list to personalize your challenge using the templates below!



30 ways to take a short break (30 minutes or less) 

  • Stretching – simple stretches done standing or from a sitting position can improve your flexibility while reducing your risk of injury.  Stretching feels good as it warms up our muscles and can relieve tension in our bodies.
  • Yoga – yoga creates similar benefits to stretching, but with the addition of enhancing balance, focus and vitality! Yoga increases mental well-being.
  • Drawing, sketching, doodling or coloring – Do you love to doodle, draw or color?  These activities can reduce stress while improving creativity and memory function. Keep a notepad and pencil or a coloring book nearby so you can get creative often.
  • Crafting - Turn your mind and hands to a work of beauty and get creative.
  • Take a drive – PEI if full of “hidden gems” when it comes to travel.  Luckily, we don’t have to go far to experience incredible scenery or something new. Take in the sights, sounds, smells (or flavors) of your adventure – while you multitask as a driver your brain is growing and increasing its neuroplasticity. 
  • 30-minute Digital detox (turn off all electronic devices – smartphones, tablets, tv’s, computers, etc.) – Take time to focus on the present moment – this can reduce stress, recharge your brain and increase your feelings of well-being. 
  • Read a book – there are books all around us – literally! You can easily access your favorite titles with a PEI Public Library card at each of PEI’s 25 public library sites, located across the Island or simply use your library card to download a title of your choice.  Books provide free entertainment (our imaginations can take us anywhere), reading helps us exercise our brain (increasing intelligence), and can inspire and motivate us.  Always keep a book on hand to read to yourself or share with others. Our youngest Islanders benefit tremendously when we read aloud to them too!
  • Write a poem – Do you like to write and be creative? Why not create a poem?  You pick the topic (endless options) and have fun with it.  You may just be a poet, who didn’t know it!
  • Journaling – Have you ever tried journaling? You can write your way to better health. If you are looking to better your well-being, reduce fatigue, and improve mood and memory – writing is beneficial.  A simple “to do” list is a great start if you are feeling overwhelmed. 
  • Set goals – We all have goals we would like to achieve.  Why not take 15 minutes to set a goal for yourself!  Using a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic, and Time-bound) can help you achieve it.  Use the goal setting template provided to create a goal that is important to you (with a plan that will help you stay on track). I plan to create a goal to drink more water – what goal(s) do you want to achieve? Here's a SMART GOAL SETTING TEMPLATE for you to use.
  • Listen to a guided meditation or nature sounds – these sounds help you focus on the present, increasing self-awareness and decreasing negative emotions. You can find guided meditations and nature sounds online to enjoy anytime. 
  • Take a breather! Take a short rest (rest your eyes too) – sit or lie in a comfortable position - pay attention to taking deep breaths and practice relaxing. It won’t eliminate exhaustion, but it will help you to feel refreshed. 
  • Sit in nature and notice the sounds – Find somewhere outside to sit comfortably for a short nature break. Did you know that nature and nature sounds act as a natural distraction away from day-to-day anxiety and worries?  
  • Take a 15-minute “coffee break” – Canadians love coffee – no matter your favorite beverage, why not take time each day to destress and relax?  It is a bonus if you are taking a break in a communal area as it can provide opportunities to meet new people and build new relationships!
  • Chat with a friend (telephone, online or in person) – Friends increase our sense of belonging and purpose – they support us in good times and in bad. Being with friends enriches our lives and improves our health. Be sure to laugh together for added impact!
  • Pay it forward – Have you ever had someone pay for your beverage in a drive through?  “Paying it Forward” is a display of kindness often offered by strangers to others, that does not have to involve money. Receiving kindness with the intent to pass it on to another is the essence of “paying it forward”.  Kindness has benefits for both the giver and receiver, creating feelings of happiness and a better, kinder world for all.
  • Small act of kindness (get creative with this one) – A simple act of kindness can be done anywhere, anytime, as much as possible and gives you the power to have a positive impact on someone else’s day. It can be as simple as offering kind words to another person or taking a best friend to a movie.  Kindness makes the world a happier place for everyone.  
  • Finding shapes in the clouds – Looking at clouds is a calming activity that connects you with the natural world and helps you connect to your inner child – how many objects did you spot today?
  • Take a short walk – This is a good daily activity that increases energy levels while helping to keep you physically fit! If the weather isn’t cooperating, find an indoor spot that offers space for walking (local indoor track/field/gym, shopping mall, etc.)
  • Meditation – meditation can reduce your stress and anxiety by giving you an overall sense of calm and balance that will benefit your physical and emotional wellbeing.  Anyone can meditate and it doesn’t require any special equipment.  Also, you can meditate anywhere – at home, while out walking your dog, and even in a work meeting! In a mindful meditation, your aim is to broaden your conscious awareness.  Focus on what you are experiencing while you are meditating, including your thoughts and feelings.  Let all experiences pass without judgement.  Meditation can help you feel deeply relaxed and rested. 
  • Find your breath (with 5 5 5 breathing technique) – slowly and intentionally take deep breaths through your nose – inhale for a count of 5 – hold your breath for a count of 5, and exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 5.  As you repeat this four times, notice your lungs fill with fresh air and think about how it feels.  Imagine the air flowing throughout your body, infusing your entire body with needed oxygen. This can be done anytime and anywhere and is a great calming and mindfulness tool that helps clear your mind and reduce stress. 
  • Write and send a note, card or letter - the benefits are two-fold for the sender and receiver – it can reduce isolation and loneliness as well as strengthen bonds.
  • Light a candle (or use a battery-operated version) – candles have calming properties – the flickering light can provide a tranquil ambiance and help to reduce anxiety. 
  • Play with a pet – it can reduce blood pressure and stress as well as loneliness.  There is a reason dogs are known as “man’s best friend”
  • Whip up a snack - those extra nutrients give you a boost of energy that can help to improve mood and prevent blood sugar drops between meals.
  • Listen to a podcast – podcasts are a great form of FREE entertainment that can help us to become better listeners. There are topics for all interests and age levels.
  • Listen to music (and sing along) – reduce anxiety and pain while increasing mood, memory and better sleep.
  • Express gratitude - start a daily gratitude journal and record what you are thankful for each day- this daily practice increases mindfulness.  We are better able to focus on what we have, rather than what we don’t have. 
  • Create a happy memory jar (read them when you’re feeling down) – All you will need for this activity is a clean jar with a lid, a pencil and some paper.  Start by recording a happy memory on a piece of paper (with the date) and folding it to place in the jar.  Repeat for each happy memory you include in your jar. Read your collection of memories frequently or as needed.  Remembering happy memories can help you to reframe your perspective and realize that the hard times never last. 
  • Watch something funny and laugh out-loud – laughter stimulates your oxygen intake and relieves stress.  It is good for the whole body and helps us release “feel good” hormones known as endorphins.  No wonder they say, “laughter is the best medicine”! 
  • Try grounding/earthing – Have you ever tried walking bare foot on the beach, in water or on grass? Grounding (or earthing) is the practice of walking barefoot on the earth.  It is said to have many health benefits that may enhance sleep and reduce stress. This works when our bare feet connect with the Earth's natural electric charge, stabilizing the physiology of our bodies.  This connection with the earth also enhances well-being.  Pick a safe place (free of sharp objects to avoid injury) to try grounding/earthing today!