15 Minutes of Magic

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I’ve come to think of 15 minutes as a magical time. I began to feel that way during my son’s active addiction, when we managed to get through our crisis by taking on life in 15-minute bites.

That process—which resulted in the book The 15 Minute Master—helped us keep our sanity and allowed us to go on living, despite periods of intense pain and fear. But it wasn’t always about managing pain and fear. Often, we used our 15 minutes to relax, find some fun, laugh, or just feel normal. 

The holiday season is both joyful and stressful. Full of fun and sometimes anxiety. When dealing with addiction, everything is heightened—even more reason for building breaks into your day. Here are some ideas for discovering your own 15 minutes of magic:  

Watch 15 minutes of funny videos:
Or start your own personal binge-watching marathon of a favorite show (I’m obsessed with Say Yes to the Dress!). Even if you can’t commit to a whole program, the brief respite will refresh you. 

Listen to Christmas music:

Regardless of your religious orientation, Christmas music is uplifting and fun. I recommend Michael BubléChristmas—great voice, great music, and he’s kind of cute, too! You may even find yourself having a little dance party in the kitchen. Or maybe that’s just me…. 

Eat some Christmas cookies:

We spend much of our time denying ourselves in an effort to be some version of “better” than we are. While I won’t recommend excess and too much over-indulging, it’s okay to eat the cookie every once in a while. Just remember that if you’re going to indulge, enjoy it; don’t stuff it into your face over the sink when you’re on your way out the door. Savor the taste and the moment by sitting down and paying attention. That cookie will taste even better! 

Take a ride to look at Christmas lights: I love Christmas lights—especially when someone else has gone to the trouble of putting them up and later taking them down! Jump in the car or take a walk around your neighborhood in the evening. You’ll likely see displays that make you smile right near your home. 

Take a walk: It’s no secret that exercise releases endorphins and elevates mood. Take 15 minutes and go for a brisk walk in the fresh air. Good for the body and the mind. 

And most important—Take a break from addiction: Give yourself a 15-minute break from thinking about addiction. Set a timer if you must and do something you enjoy for 15 minutes. If you find your mind wandering back to your problem, gently pull it back to your moments of relief.  

Fifteen minutes can change things. It’s enough time to start—to refresh your mind, body and soul. Be kind to yourself this holiday season and remember to take care of you—15 minutes at a time! 

Mary Fran Bontempo is a 2x TEDx speaker, author and humorist. Visit her at www.maryfranbontepo.com

Her latest book, “The 15 Minute Master—How to Make Everything Better 15 Minutes at a Time,” can be found on Amazon.