All the sages and all the current researchers agree,”All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Breaks enhance brain power, refresh our souls, build bonds to those we love, and strengthen everyone’s emotional health. Every day should include breaks for family-time, me-time, and quiet-time. Come the weekend and at least one day a week should be devoted exclusively to such times.

Have you planned your weekend Take a Break times?

Confession: stealing some of this post from an old one of my blogging friends Elizabeth.  You can read her post about families by going to  Mirth and Motivation.   I am just using only a few of her thoughts.

Here is the quote by Gautama Buddha, that drew me to this post of hers:

A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But if these minds get out of harmony with one another it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden.

Elizabeth goes on to say:

Even in the animal kingdom, the family ties that bind are based on common ideals; familiarity, love and expectations that are shared.The ducklings above enjoy the company and protection of each other. Their mothers (or perhaps one is their dad) hover around them… and they feed and play together. In that simple act of bonding, they have established their family ties. It won’t matter if the ducklings came from different moms because what we see, right now, in front of us, are a group of ducklings enjoying family time.  They are, as Buddha put it, at home and in harmony with one another and that is part of what shapes their family connections.

My life was full of pets. I was a lonely child and pets were my first best friends.  One was given to me at Easter; I was about eight.  He or she, I didn’t know, gave me much love.  We bonded  Lucky would scamper after me when we were outside playing together.  And I  usually fed Lucky while eating part of my breakfast.  He or she eventually left our house to join some other ducks at Broomall’s Pond in Media, PA’s park. Media was my home town.

The researchers agree, eating together bonds and strengthens all.  I am grateful when I converted to Judaism that Shabbat meals on Friday nights became part of our Family Tradition.  Those meals strengthened me, my children, and showed our many diverse foster kids another way to think about what matters.

The tradition lives on and our grands love helping us light the Shabbat candles and then to blow out the match and receive the blessing. Part of our way of doing the traditional Jewish Blessing is to hold hands, but not to form a circle.  Where the circle breaks we imagine connecting to our former foster children and all the children of the world.

David says the blessing in Hebrew. I say it in English. I find connection to my past from the English benediction  said  at most Christian churches. I remember my pleasure when I discovered it was the English translation of the Hebrew blessing.

That blessing, “May the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face shine upon you and give you peace now and forever more.”


Tip one: Work hard to have one more formal dinner every week.  Light candles, have the best food of the week, talk about things that matter. Do this with family or friends as your current age and life stage dictates. Best if done at home and everyone helps with the cooking.

Plan time each day and each week for family play, me-time, mates-time, quiet time.

Tip two:  Keep it simple.  Play can be joke telling at dinner time, or establishing a family or friends movie night via DVD,  walking in the park or woods alone or together.

A young adult away from home? Family time can be writing a letter to send home, sharing a newsy email or a joke, making a phone call.  Cranky Old Lady me says don’t ask for money at those times.

Grandparents apart from children and grandchildren, do the above, and of course, you don’t ask for money or offer too much advice and bit your tongue when critical remarks bubble up. You are off duty as a critic once your children leave home.

Well, not quite.  I allow myself to give advice, known as criticism to adult children. I do so if I hear the same complaint three times in a row or when I think death might strike if I don’t say something.

Tip three: Mate-time can be spending a half and hour talking about what was good and bad about the day. Accentuate the good, but don’t forget to vent a bit about the bad.  Five good mentions to one complaint are considered the best ratio.

Also for those not yet mated, one can use one’s best friend and that includes a dog or cat, or diary. You have to act like your own best friend until you are mated.

Tip four: Me-time can double as quiet time for some. You get the picture, I am sure.

Tip five: If as the Buddha suggests family times are not like the garden that enhances all, time to think about some counseling.  Don’t let stigma keep your life from being all it can be.


Kindness is one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Training Exercises.  It often involves being generous so please like this post if you do, comment on it and negative comments as welcome as positive one, best of all share it.   You will be helping me stay strong and maybe some others as well.

If  regular practice of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises does not improve the quality of your life, more might be needed.  That is the time to think about a support group, counseling, or therapy.

Good luck, life is a struggle,  caring relationships matter must but are difficult as well as wonderful. Despite all life a feast.



Sometimes my posts are a bit peppered with mis-spellings, oddly used words, weird punctuation.  These stem from a lesser known learning disability called dysgraphia, but also from rushing.  My apologies. Don’t read or check back in a day or so, as I usually catch most of the errors when I re-read.  Also practice forgiveness is a useful Emotional Fitness Exercise, so forgive me, I do the best I can, we all do.  Sometimes the best is not good enough, that is when forgiveness matters and forgiveness is yet another Emotional Fitness Training Exercise.


Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

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