Tip of the Week

Americans rarely take the time to unplug during the work day. In fact, we spend just short of half the day in front of some type of screen, according to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The health benefits of relaxing away from digital technology are well documented, but it still is a challenge for many to find some time for themselves. If you find yourself in this category, consider scheduling a 15 minute break every morning and afternoon. It will be quality “me time,” and before you know it, those 15 minutes will become a welcomed break each and every day.

Here are five simple ways you can turn just 15 minutes into an actual break that will help refresh your whole day - and may just make you more productive.

Enjoy tea time: In under 15 minutes, you can brew and enjoy a cup of tea. Choose your favorite ceramic mug, add hot water and let your tea bag steep. No peeking at your screen while your steeping!

Meditation: Meditation is a great way to slow the heart, calm the mind and recharge the batteries. Just 15 minutes of meditation can help you improve your focus and reduce stress, bringing your energy back so you can accomplish everything on your to-do list. Follow along with a guided meditation on YouTube to help get started.

Take a walk: Get yourself out of your home or office for 15 minutes of fresh air. Pack a pair of sneakers and set a daily appointment on your calendar. Go around the block, or pick up the pace a bit and go for the mile. By removing yourself from your working environment, you can help your brain concentrate better when you return.

Play with a pet: Four-legged family members can quickly bring a smile to your face during a 15-minute break for playtime. Even sitting still and scratching Fido or Fluffy behind the ears can help calm you down and lift your spirits. Plus, your pet will certainly reward you with love and affection.

Stretch out the kinks: Sitting still for too long can leave your body achy and sapped for energy. Do some desk exercises to get your blood moving, like rising up to your tiptoes for a full-body stretch. Close your office door and put your phone on do not disturb to get the break you need. A couple of yoga moves are also an option, and can help relieve any neck or back tension that might be distracting you from your work.

— Brandpoint

Family Movie Night
Now on DVD and at streaming sites:
“St. Vincent”
Rated: PG-13
Length: 1:42
Synopsis: A young boy whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran (Bill Murray) who lives next door.

Book Report
“Big Bad Detective Agency,” by Bruce Hale
Ages: 7-10
Pages: 128
Synopsis: The houses of all Three (not-so-) Little Pigs were broken into and ransacked, and the Pigs are squealing for justice. So Prince Tyrone, ruler of Fairylandia, drags in the obvious suspect: Wolfgang. The lone wolf has big teeth, sharp claws, no alibi - and a single day to find the real culprit and clear his big bad name. When Wolf (reluctantly) teams up with the fourth Little Pig to crack the case, the Big Bad Detective Agency - and an adventure way funnier than your average fairy tale - is off to a howling start! — Scholastic Paperbacks

Did You Know

Studies show that first-born children are more likely to be more responsible, reliable and well-behaved than other children in the family.

Pet Tip

According to the ASPCA, working together to learn behavior and social skills is a good way to make you and your pet happier, thus reinforcing your bond. Formal training helps teach your dog important commands such as “come” and “sit,” but it also helps shape your furry friend’s manners and teaches you to understand your animal’s temperament - all important qualities for a housemate.

— Family Features

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