We need time to:
Process thoughts, feelings & emotions
Rest, relax & heal
Process our day, work, kids, events
Assess how we are, what we need, what we want
Appreciate what we have
Appreciate our health, wellbeing, our family, our friends
Set goals, focus on our journey
Be creative & motivated
To problem solve & find solutions
To re-connect with our true selves & our inner wisdom
Society and our conscious mind have convinced us that time for ourselves is a waste of time. That it is not productive, that we should feel guilty, that we are lazy and selfish if we take time out but actually as you can see it is absolutely essential for our mental and spiritual health.
Changing the way that your mind has been programmed for so many years can be challenging at first, and it may take many attempts before 'taking time out' becomes an essential part of your daily schedule. However the more often you do it the more benefit you will feel. The more benefit you feel the more often you'll do it.
So What Does Taking Time Out Look Like?
It's important that you choose an activity that works for you. If you don't enjoy it, then it will be harder for you to maintain it. Yes, meditation is the ultimate goal but if you have never done it before and you try to sit silently for any longer than a few minutes your conscious mind is going to be too big an influence on you. Remember that your conscious mind has been programmed to be constantly productive so it's going to convince you that this is a waste of time and you should be doing something else.
So here are some suggestions that you might want to try to find more time for yourself
Meditation - if sitting in silence in difficult then listen to a guided meditation to help you to calm the conscious mind
Journaling - write down thoughts, feelings & emotions - without judgement
Problem Solving - write down anything that is causing you stress or to worry, write down your feelings, emotions & thoughts regarding it. Then write down possible solutions and outcomes. You may not get the right answer straight away but you can start to rule out the ones that don't work. You also may need to go back and re-read over a period of time but eventually your subconscious mind will let you know the right path for you.
Yin Yoga or a very gentle yoga practice with slow, passive meditative movements
Walking - Go for a walk in nature, listen to the sounds around you, take big deep breaths of cleansing air
Sit by the Sea - Watch the waves, feel the breeze on your skin and the sand beneath your feet
Receive a Reiki Healing
Receive a very gentle massage, one which will allow you to completely relax
Yoga Nidra - Deep Relaxation
Keeping a gratitude diary - Write down every day everything you are grateful for that day. You may be grateful for the same things every day but still write them daily, you'll soon find more things will come to you the more often you do it. Acknowledging what we are grateful for helps us to feel more positive about ourselves and the world around us.
A Counselling Session - talking through your thoughts, feelings and emotions with someone completely non-judgemental can take a lot of your chest and help you to process, release and find solutions.
Make Time Out a Habit
Do not judge yourself for not taking time out! Yes, ideally you want to be scheduling a regular daily practice and preferably first thing in the morning but that isn't always possible. Schedule a time that works for you and if you miss it one day, let it go. Your conscious mind might try to tell you that you failed and that's that. Let it go and ignore it, just remember how it made you feel when you did do it. If you miss it for a few more days, so be it. If you have picked something that you enjoy and that works for you, you will remember how it made you feel and you will be drawn back to it. Again the more often you do it the better you will feel and the better you feel the more often you'll do it.
Please feel free to add in the comments below what works for you? How do you take time out? What benefits do you feel?