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It's time....for me time

You know what always amazes me…how quickly time goes by. I looked back at the date of my last blog post and was shocked, DECEMBER 2020!!! SERIOUSLY??!! I try and recall everything that I accomplished since then and I realize I did very little. Yes, I know we are in the middle (or hopefully tail end) of a pandemic and things have been very different but still…nothing! Sorry, that’s wrong, I did finish school and write my exams but that was already on the never ending To Do list. What also amazes me when I try and remember that stretch of time is that I actually had very little “me time”. Not just time by myself but time carved out for me to do something new, something I wish I could do or something I miss doing. Just a small snippet of time where I can ignore the laundry, the dishes, the cleaning, the yard work, the constant “MOM!”, time. Just. For. Me. Not only have a I realized it, I also have an undeniable urge to start doing something about it, but the question is what?

I have recently been talking with my kids about how I wish I read more. My kids are really into their current book series and I talked to them about how I always enjoyed the books I read as a kid and young adult and that I really missed reading. You want to know what their response was… “Then why don’t you do it mom?” Ahhh, the mind of child. They always have a way of just saying what needs to be said. I thought about why and you know what…I had no reason. I came up with a bunch of excuses and none of them were good enough, they were just that…excuses. I explained to them about the never ending To Do list and the more I tried to rationalize what I was telling them, the more I realized I was just feeding them nonsense, there was no reason. So, I decided at that moment that I was going to start taking more time for myself. Time away from the list and away from the family and I promised not to feel any guilt.

The next step was trying to figure out what to do. On our way home from our trip (where this all took place) I started to think about what it meant to “take time”. Should I set a goal, make a list of things I wanted to learn, things that I have no desire to do, how I should feel? After our long drive home over a few days I came to this conclusion, taking time to yourself should be a time where you allow yourself to slow down. A time that you do something you love or miss doing. It doesn’t have to be as low key as reading, just something you enjoy. And the main thing to remember (in my opinion) is this downtime doesn’t have to be daily. Like exercise, you want to set a realistic goal for how often you can do it. Saying you want to start exercising and you want to do 5 to 7 days a week isn’t going to help if you are already busy. Anytime we add something new into our lives we have to ease into it. Short periods of time less often instead of everything all at once, while forgiving yourself if you slip a little. If you slip then you look ahead for the next right moment. When working with new clients I always suggest starting smaller and if and when you can add more then do so, but also be ok with having to reduce times as well. So, I am going to take my own advice. I am going to start small and I am going to start today, the day I post this, July 18.

Here is what I am going to suggest to myself and to anyone else who feels like I have been feeling:

Start with a short length of time, liked 5 min. See how it goes and how it feels. Set a timer and really try to focus on the activity. Ignore the guilt of not completing the to do list or the guilt turning on the TV for the kids.

Start small and work your way up to more time, if possible. Remember that it is ok to not enjoy the activity, try something new each time until you find something and keep an open mind. If one book doesn’t catch your attention then try another. Knitting makes you feel like you have 5 hands then maybe try meditation. I love a good tv show or movie like most people but unless it engages me, it doesn’t help me. I usually have my phone by my side and scroll while I watch. WHY?! If movies or tv watching is your thing then put your phone in the other room and leave it there.

Also AVOID SOCAIL MEDIA! There is so much crap on the internet and the pandemic reporting is overwhelming along with other big news stories. Yes, we need/should know what is going on in the world but in order to handle the weight of the current global situation we need time to turn it off. We need a few moments where we can pretend that we live in a world where everything is fine.

I know not everyone agrees with this or believes they can do it but I am going to try and if I write it down and put it “out there” then I have to do it. So here is my promise, my pledge to myself:

I promise to allow myself 7 minutes 3 times per week where I will sit down, ignore the to do list, and read. I have three books ready to choose from and float between. And I start today. Because, I don’t want to look back 7 months from now (from when I write and post this) and think “Where did the time go?” “I wish I had…..”

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