The importance of making the time for down time.
The day is busy—phone calls, e-mails, work—the usual. Before I know it, it is time to go home. I used to get dinner started right away, but lately my pregnancy brain drives me toward the couch to sit with my feet up for a minute. Often, my angel of a husband will get home and start cooking. Before I know it, we have had dinner, watched some tv, and talked about our day, among other topics of discussion. Weekends are usually busy with friends, laundry, and errands. Before I know it, it’s Monday and that darn alarm is going off again.
Does this sound familiar to you? I’m sure many of you have similar stories, to varying degrees of difference with jobs, kids, or people in your lives. Some of you might have classes on top of this, adding an extra work load and extra stress. Or maybe you are getting married—or divorced—which is an extra set of tasks to be completed.
I hear you. It’s hard. Like, really hard, actually. Some days it seems like just getting out of bed might be the hardest thing you have to do today. Life is busy, and it is only getting busier for us. Whenever I took some time for myself to lounge around do nothing or watch some of my overloaded DVR I would feel extremely guilty. “I really should be exercising.” “I should clean the bathroom.” “I should finish that book I started 6 months ago.”
No, you shouldn’t.
What you should be doing is taking some time for yourself. Listen to your body. What does it need? Sleep? Exercise? Mindless zoning out time? When you don’t take time for yourself, you are neglecting your needs and not letting your brain rest and recover. It is important to take physical and mental breaks from the daily grind in order to let your body recuperate and start coming back to a place of balance.
When we start to lose balance in ourselves, we begin to feel more stress and a disconnect from the world and others around us. We begin to feel a bit lost, and that aimlessness can be unsettling. It may feel like we are going through the motions and not truly living. If you’re ever felt like you are just doing something day in and day out because you have to and without fulfillment, you are living without balance.
Restoring balance can be overwhelming, so much so that sometimes we just give up on even trying because it seems so impossible. Like any other task, break it down into small chunks. A bubble bath one night, a tv show and wine another, or even a ten minute walk by yourself around the neighborhood. The more “me time” you fit in, the better you will start feeling. Assign a night and a time to yourself if you really need the extra prodding. Book a date and keep it, no rescheduling.
Life is busy. And that’s okay. Just make sure that part of your “busy” includes some down time, and that time is reserved just for you.