“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.”
~ Sarah Dessen, Just Listen
No matter how committed we are the love and care of others, no matter how much is on our plate, no matter if we are Kings or Queens of Leisure or have every last minute scheduled, we need to make sure we get some little windows of time completely for ourselves.
Time for ourselves is not some airy-fairy feel good concept. Time for ourselves is as necessary as breathing. It helps us to stay tuned into to who we are and what’s important to us. Time for ourselves recharges our batteries. It fills us with nurture and new ideas. It helps soothe and heal us.
Often it isn’t that we don’t have time, it’s that we’ve become a very low priority in our own lives.
Here are ten simple ways to claim some of your precious time just for you:
1. Take fifteen minutes at the beginning or end of a grocery shopping trip to have a cup of coffee and flick through a magazine at a cafe. I have girlfriends who have become speed shoppers, racing through their chores to get lovely long cafe time as their reward.
2. Sign up for a class one night a week. Not to give yourself yet one more thing to do, but to escape for a while and spend time on something you’d enjoy learning such as dancing, mosaic making, chainsaw ice-sculpture or Italian cooking.
3. Get up half an hour earlier. Spend that time journalling, meditating, or planning your day. Enjoy a cuppa, take a big breath and then let the day begin AFTER you’ve had some precious time to yourself.
4. Turn off the TV tonight. Sit down and write a story. Or a poem. Or a song. Stories fire up our imagination, help us heal the past, and let us dream the future. If you enjoy the process, come back and write some more one night each week.
5. Go for a walk. On your own. You could ramble around the neighbourhood, drive to a park or beach, or wander through the city. You can walk in the morning, evening or even in your lunch break. Breathe. Look. Listen. And feel how your whole soul begins to unwind…
6. Plan a weekend date with yourself. Give yourself a few hours alone to see that movie no-one else wants to see, to go to the Gallery, or to wander through the Farmers’ Markets or the Artisan shops you love.
7. Go to bed early with a book. Books are like magical carpets that take you to other places and times.
8. Clear a day in your diary and choose your own adventure. Let the chores go for one day, get someone to mind the kids, do a little extra study each night so that one entire day stretches before you like some precious empty beach. Now, do whatever you want. Sleep all day? Fine. Catch up with old friends? Perfect. Sort out your record collection and then visit a craft show? Superb. A morning surf, good breakfast with the weekend papers and then the rest of the day working on your current restoration project? Soul Magic!
9. Start or recommence a craft or project. Maybe you loved embroidery as a child. Or scrapbooking. Maybe you’ve been thinking about putting a vegetable garden in the back yard, or researching the family tree. Take some time to put your materials together, and then spend a little time each week devoted to this craft or project. Let it become a kind of good medicine in your life.
10. Say NO to something you don’t want to do, and then let the time you would have spent with others be yours alone. How often have you found yourself out with work colleagues or friends, wishing instead that you were home on the couch, watching your favourite show and eating soup and toast in your pyjamas? Your time really is precious. Start saying NO when it feels like duty or hard work, and use that time on something you’d prefer to do!