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Could the Micro-Break Method Reduce Your Stress?

June '17

Now that summer has officially arrived, I hope you’re tucked into those books that bring you so much pleasure and relaxation. At the end of this newsletter, I’ll list the summer reading suggestions I gathered from readers last month. Meanwhile, there is another kind of downtime activity I’d like to call to your attention; micro-breaks.

If you’re like many midlife women, your to-do list is long and getting longer, as you hop from one task to the next all day long. By night you probablly find yourself wiped out and ready to crash. One way to avoid this exhaustion and feel more rested by the end of the day is to install micro-breaks.

This approach requires you to take brief time-outs between tasks. For example, perhaps you’re at your desk first thing in the morning catching up on all your email. Once you finish, instead of leaping onto the next assignment, you take a micro-break. Maybe you simply stand up, stretch, take a few deep breaths, and then sit down again to move onto the next project.

When I was a dean at Wellesley College, one of my job’s many benefits was the location of my office in a small house. My favorite micro-break was to head for the kitchen and pour myself a cup of coffee before I returned to the next assignment.

I noticed that my yoga instructor even gives us micro-breaks between poses. After every stretch, she reminds us to, “take an easy breath” before we embark on the next stretch.

So what about you? Ready to give the micro-break method a try this week? Or, if you already use this approach, please share your experience – love to hear about it.

Now onto macro-break territory – your summer reading. Below is a list of suggestions I received in response to last month’s newsletter. Thank you one and all for submitting them to share.

1. Donna Leon’s detective series continues as a favorite. Maureen Dipiero writes, “Donna Leon is one of my favorite authors. I still have 5 to read.” Ellen Maycock notes, “I have *consumed* Donna Leon’s books over the past year! I highly recommend them! So sad that I’m at the end of the series now, and am eagerly awaiting her next book.”

2. “I’m now in the midst of the 4-book series by Elena Ferrante on a friendship of two women from Naples The first is My Brilliant Friend. Also highly recommended.” – Ellen Maycock

3. “For a delightful and fast-moving read, Dancing with the Tiger, by Lili Wright–a dear colleague from DePauw.” – Ellen Maycock

4. “Pirate Hunters by Kurson – “Although it is a true story it reads like fiction, … such a wild and unlikely story! Includes major points of economic and Pirating history in the Carribean, and suggests that some original democratic processes were present on pirate ships, which made it such an attractive ‘lifestyle choice.’ Fantastic stuff.” – Anne Gothro

5. “The Hate U Give by Thomas – Favorite audiobook of summer so far; both the story and performance are riveting.” – Anne Gothro

6. The Vanishing American Adult by Sasse – Junior senator (5-generation farmer and historian) from Nebraska makes a lot of rational, non-partisan sense when talking about raising his kids, adolescents, and the big issues that no one is talking about in our neighborhoods or in the senate.

7. Sarah Shepherd’s new book, Sarah’s Haiki: Poems about Living with Hope and Courage is described as containing “probing, no-holds-barred insights on life, poignantly expressed in this courageously written collection of Haiku poems.” Congratulations, Sarah, on this newly released book!

May you have many happy micro and macro-breaks this summer!


  1. Lenore Dudek Howe said on June 29, 2017:

    Hi Bonnie,
    I like getting these updates, and reducing your stress is

    a great topic. Do you have any short courses or e books
    regarding tips for stress reduction?

  2. Bonnie said on June 30, 2017:

    So glad you like these updates, Lenore!
    With regard to short courses, or ebooks on stress reduction, I’m working on a book that will help reduce stress called, “Midlife Magic: The 7-Day Self Care Plan to Boost Your Energy and Make You Smile.” Your request encourages me to get it completed this year!

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