Reactivate the Pause Button 

Jillian DuBoisBlog, Connect Better, Manage Better, Reflect Better, Self Care Better


  • This post shares a trip down memory lane, creating mixtapes of favorite music. One touch had the power pause or stop the tape.
  • There are four things to live by: (1) Examine who you are and live by your values (2) Keep yourself open to beauty and adventure (3) Adopt a practice of observation (4) Fill your cup.

As a lively teenager in the 80s, the most important piece of current technology I owned was my old-school, dual-cassette, portable boombox. I spent hours upstairs in my bedroom, laboriously making mixtapes of all of my favorite pop and country artists. 

It was a fairly complicated process with a lot of troubleshooting. I had to make sure each song was recorded with precision and no lapses between songs. If the dog barked, or my sister called from downstairs, or the toilet flushed, then the process had to start all over.  The tape itself often got caught and pulled out, thus requiring the very technical tool—a #2 pencil—to be brought out and inserted into one of the holes and rotated to take up the slack.

All of this is to say that the most crucial part of the boombox was the pause button. One simple, quick pause could change the outcome of that mix-tape.

After reflecting on the differences between my life now and my life just two years ago, before I started consciously slowing my hurried pace, I narrowed it down to just four things that I believe have created an influence on my life. Click To Tweet

Just one touch had the power to stop or start.

Follow my wild train of thought here, if you will. We hit the pause button in life. Often it is when we want to stop time, relish the present, and prevent precious moments from slipping by us unnoticed. Those are the easy days. The days that hum along cheerfully and joyfully.

Those hard days are a bit more difficult to process and digest. The days when we need a strategy, or a formula, to help us stop living for what is to come in the future and start experiencing the here and NOW.

For many years, I wondered how in the world could I begin to change that mindset. Not to hit the pause button to prevent time from disappearing, but how to fully embrace those breaths that are so graciously given.

After reflecting on the differences between my life now and my life just two years ago, before I started consciously slowing my hurried pace, I narrowed it down to just four things that I believe have created an influence on my life.

Four things that, if I were not doing them, would make my life lack contentment. 

Reactivate the Pause Button #1: Examine who you are and live by your values.

Think about your heartfelt intentions, your core values, what you highlight above everything else. Knowing yourself and being aware of how you function is a foundational step to reactivating a pause in your lifestyle. When you confidently understand what is at the center of your world, it’s much easier to let the extras fall to the side.

Reactivate the Pause Button #2: Keep yourself open to beauty and adventure.

I distinctly remember one of the first times I snuck out of my bedroom with the beloved boombox I described earlier. It was midnight on a school night. I couldn’t sleep so I opened my bedroom window on the second floor, crawled out onto the sloped roof, and laid down looking up at the stars in the dark, country sky. I stayed there for some time as I listened to my mixtape and looked towards the sky at the constellations. It’s almost impossible to be anywhere BUT the moment when you’re taking in something brilliantly beautiful.

Reactivate the Pause Button #3: Adopt a practice of observation.

At the end of each day, find a few minutes to mentally and emotionally go back through your day and keenly bring into focus a handful of those easy-to-miss moments that brought positivity and cheer. Think of it as having that “attitude of gratitude,” but more specific, more focused. From the kind Post-it a student left on your desk to the joyful wag of your dog’s tail as you walked through the door on a tough day. Write them down regularly and become intentional as this becomes a consistent habit.

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Reactivate the Pause Button #4: Fill your cup. (Yes, YOURS!)

This may be an ultra-demanding season of life. We take on more and more as we believe it will bring the confidence and self-assurance we need to feel complete and worthy. Taking care of everyone and everything at the expense of taking care of yourself creates havoc, the opposite of harmony. An attitude of gentleness and mercy towards ourselves helps us operate from a place of fullness, rather than running on empty. It’s a practice that requires a refill each day. 

When I am burdened with that uncomfortable feeling that something is just not right in my life, I can almost always track it back to one of these four things that have been lacking. And you know what? Adding them back in, I find that things begin to connect and become easier to manage. I hope that you find the same.

Grab an accountability partner and practice reactivating that pause button. Lean into those who you know care and empathize and encourage their support. Even though that pause button on the old boombox is obsolete, you can get pretty close by reactivating your own.

If you have just a moment longer, I’d love to hear which one of these you are BEST at and which one you will be focused on IMPROVING for yourself! Me? Well, personally, I am best at 1 and I will be working to improve on 3.

About Jillian DuBois

Jillian DuBois currently serves as an elementary school educator in Clearwater, FL. She has worked both in public and private educational settings for over 20 years. Her passion is to initiate, instill, and infuse joy to those in educational leadership through blogs and podcasts. Jillian uses her voice to help foster hope for student equity and empathy. Outside of school, you will find Jillian outdoors, soaking up the sun and surf, or finding new paths to hike with her husband and son. You can visit her website here!