The Importance of “me” Time – Indulgence or Necessity?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIsn’t it funny how the afternoon of 9/11/01 we promised we were going to slow down, appreciate things more and LIVE rather than just working and chasing a dollar. How many can honestly say they do that now?

It seems we’re still pushed into overdrive. Many areas assaults and homicides are up. Drug usage is up. Property theft and other crime is up. These aren’t signs of a healthy society, community or home – and the trickle down happens.

We desperately need some time away – but can’t afford to go anywhere. Make a retreat – in your home! Or take a vacation – closer to home.

Turn off the phone, the tv and the computer. Plan your “escape” – indulge in it. It’s a fraction of the cost of going on a trip that costs you thousands of dollars. Set up a mini-retreat area in your home – complete with things you like. If coffee or tea is your thing get a special tea pot and mug or coffee maker. Use a small desk or table or a comfy chair in front of the window. Feed some birds or put in a butterfly garden. Curl up on a regular basis with a treat and tune the world out.

Get a desk with art supplies – or a comforter to cozy up and watch movies with. Get house plants or do something just for the simple pleasure in doing it. For some people this might be baking – but the key is doing it leisurely because you want to, not because the kids need three dozen cookies for a meeting and forgot to tell you they need it tomorrow! If traffic noises make it difficult to get away go get one of those CDs that have ocean or mountain or other noises and close your eyes and imagine yourself there. Get some artwork and hang in your retreat space and mentally put yourself on that beach.

When the inclination of what you “should” be doing crowds quiet it. Figure in regular mini-retreats – a half hour, an hour. If all you can manage is 15 minutes do that – set a timer and do nothing else for that time. On the weekend skip the bustle and retreat at home – turn the pagers and cell phone off and connect with family and friends who are missed otherwise. Make a private space in the back yard or a room to have a few friends over.

Use the time for what you want to do. Rediscover coloring books or small crafts – forget perfection simply do it for the enjoyment. Get a journal or a book to curl up with. Make it comfortable – if you’re reading get a good lighting where you’re reading at. A comfortable chair might be a $200 investment in your home but is still cheaper than a $3500 cruise!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you enjoy pets but can’t have one take the time to volunteer to walk dogs at a shelter or rescue or spend time with cats who need attention. There are ways to feed the senses and do something for you without feeling guilty about “doing nothing.”

Recharging and unwinding is important to being able to keep the rest of the world going. If you’re tapped out and drained there’s nothing to give back. Give yourself time to recharge and rediscover YOU. Spend the time with family – take the time to spend with a pet or if you have none feed wild ones outside. There are many ways to get away without going anywhere at all – find one.

Look at places to go within 200 miles – this isn’t an extensive trip but might include concerts, museums, outdoor activities – anything that breaks up the “gotta be there now!” of normal life. These weekend trips don’t mean taking extensive time off, can be planned without a great deal of cost and give time to recharge and do something you enjoy.

Make time – life is too short and there’s so many memories to make.

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