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Take time to reflect

Take Time For Yourself

I have a hard time sitting still, do you?  There is always something to be done, somewhere to be, or, if you’re a parent, someone you need to care for.   “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to have time to do…” is a phrase I think all the time.  Do I follow through and do it?  Not often enough.  Why is it so hard to take time for yourself? When you think of getting a cup of coffee or taking a walk, just for you, what thoughts run through your head? The “I should… ” thoughts, right?  Who is preventing you from taking time for yourself?  Often, it’s you!

Me Time It Isn’t Selfish

My struggle is feeling guilty for spending time on myself instead of being “responsible.”  I just re-read that sentence and it looks absolutely ridiculous, but I think it all the time.  “I have all these other things that need to be done and I should be doing them!”  The truth is, and we’ve all heard it many times, we NEED to focus on ourselves too. It’s not selfish, in fact, it’s necessary!  Take time for yourself; it’s as healthy as eating vegetables and exercising.  If we don’t invest in ourselves, how will we have anything to invest in the people we love? Besides, all of those things will be waiting for us when we get back.

We All Have Time To Invest In Ourselves

A couple of weekends ago, at the end of a particularly stressful week,  I was having this conversation with myself.  I really didn’t have it to spare, or so I told myself, but I did it anyway. It felt like a luxury, as if I was playing hooky from life for a while. Someone recently reminded me that sometimes the best thing you can do is to allow yourself a little time.

We need time to reflect apart from the kids, dirty dishes, laundry, errands, work and so on.  It’s easy to forget that we are people too, outside of all these responsibilities that demand our attention. We still have interests, dreams and the need for self-investment.  We impose this neglect on ourselves. We think being the perfect wife, employee, or mother requires us to always be selfless.  We would be even better at all of those roles, not to mention happier, if we made a few deposits into our own accounts.

A little self-reflection is something we all need and yet we usually tell ourselves we can’t fit it into our schedule.  This really isn’t true if we think about it for more than two seconds.  How much TV do we watch in the evening?  How much time do we waste scrolling through Instagram or Facebook? This is something I do at least once a day and I would bet that time adds up to more than 30 minutes!  That is exactly how long this walk took.  The difference was that at the end, I felt relaxed, happy and more connected with myself. It is amazing how a few minutes can make us feel nourished and refreshed. Being intentional with how we decide to spend our free moments can make all the difference.

A Stitch In Time Saves Nine

I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase, but just in case you haven’t, it means making a little effort now will save you more in the long run. It really is the same as being intentional with money.  Nickel and diming ourselves out of quite a few bucks every month from sodas, snacks, coffee or whatever appeals to you is so easy to do. Have you ever opened your wallet only to be surprised that the cash you had like a minute ago is GONE?  No, you haven’t been robbed, you’ve simply spent a little here and a little there.  Isn’t that how time is?  A little TV, some time on social media or browsing the internet and suddenly, you’ve frittered away three hours of your evening! If we slow down and tighten up our spending, we suddenly have a few more bucks on hand to save toward something more meaningful.  Efficient use of time is the same way; the more wisely we handle it, the more we have for whats really important to us in the long run. Planning with purpose…it makes a difference!

  Be in the Moment

After a walk through the woods, I sat at the edge of the pond, watching the geese, recently back for cooler weather. They contentedly preened and flitted, in no hurry at all, happy to just be.  How lucky they are in some ways. I think this all the time when I watch animals.  Have you ever noticed how completely delighted a dog with his head out the window is?  Or how about your cat, napping serenely at the foot of the bed in a spot of sun?  Animals are so good at enjoying the moment.  I think the awareness we have as humans is both a blessing and a curse, because with those things come worry and stress.  I wouldn’t trade my awareness for their more temporal existence, but I do think there is a better way to master our attention. We would do well to learn the art of enjoyment from our furry friends. Slow down, breath deeply, and appreciate the moment without rushing to the next thing!

Enjoy the moment

One Day At A Time

On this particular evening, I paused to think about the day, about what I wanted for tomorrow and about how those measure up with my future plans.  Doing this is so helpful.  For instance, if I think about a particular direction I want to go in, I immediately end up at the finished product.  That can be really overwhelming.  Instead, its much more plausible to think of what the daily habits required to attain that goal are.  What does a person who blogs do each day?  How does a person with a successful business organize their day?  What does a fit person do differently?  By focusing on these attributes, it makes the daily activities required to arrive at that destination feel a lot more doable. I’m sure an Olympian, a businessman, or a writer are the products of hard work, not inheritance or luck. By breaking it down this way, it isn’t as intimidating. Actively making disciplined choices and giving yourself credit for what you’ve done will set you on course to accomplish your goals.

Sitting there on a beautifully golden fall day, I felt less stressed and more contented than I had in days.  I took the time to examine how I’d been spending my time and I felt satisfied. I had also made the time to notice. Equally important is just taking a moment to be still, listen and notice the beauty all around: the birds singing, the leaves rustling and the colors of fall. It is so simple just to slow down and take time for yourself.

Be purposeful in your day today.  Its going to pass either way, but wouldn’t you rather look back six months from now surprised at how far you’ve come? Wouldn’t you like to know that you took time for yourself each day to do something that brings you joy? It doesn’t take much; even 10 minutes a day adds up to over an hour by the week’s end.  You deserve a time out. You deserve to savor a few uninterrupted moments.  Your future self will thank you and your present self needs some nourishment.

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