Time... I have been hearing a lot about time lately. Getting there on time, setting a time, scheduled, traffic time, this time, that time, how many hours of sleep... What I keep hearing from people I know is that they wish they had more time. More time to do what they want, to rest, to read, to create, to play, to laze.
I get it, I wish there was more time for all of that too. I don't spend as much time commuting for work anymore. I used to take the ferry every day in to Seattle, which was a great amount of time to read, rest, knit, write, relax, talk to friends before I got home. Now I drive more time to get to my yoga classes and my day job is just a 5 minute walk from my door. It's a luxury I truly appreciate. I have had to learn to make time to read, write, meditate, sleep, work on my side hustle. It hasn't been easy, there are days I just have to give myself permission to sit on the couch at the end of the day and just veg out. I have to let myself be ok with not always doing something else when I get home, because we also need veg time, rest time and not just sleep time, but rest time. It's hard for me not to beat myself up over the fact that I 'should' be getting something done. There's that damn word again 'should'... I am getting better however, being so sick for the last three and a half years I didn't have a choice, I had to rest.
So for those out there trying to figure out how to carve out some time in between the job, the relationship, the kids, the pets, the house chores, the food shopping and cooking, have you really looked at your day to see where you might be missing some time to yourself? Even if it is just 20 minutes. Are you so in the habit of just doing all that you do that you have forgotten how vital it is to your self care and mental health that you make time for yourself first and foremost? You can't keep giving to everyone out there if you don't take the time to charge up your battery. In my case and for many others, we try to do too many things at once to make that time happen. The list is too robust because we really want to do it all... I have found that just winnowing it down to one thing at a time has been incredibly helpful. As the classic energizer bunny that was a hard thing to do. So far it is working out pretty good and because I have been consistent with it, I have found some extra energy to do a few other things after that one thing.
I chose meditation because I believe it was the most natural place to start. Why you might be wondering, well for me I have been a meditator off and on for several years. Not always at the same time of day and not always successful (in my own estimation), but kept at it. I would take a break for awhile and then come back to it and say to myself, "Sherry, you know this makes you feel good, what the hell is your problem with just committing to doing this every morning for 15 minutes!!" So this time I decided to do just that and got myself some tools to help with that. I downloaded two different apps, the insight timer and the 1 Giant Mind app. I like them both for different reasons and have learned so much about myself and my meditation style and some great input that I never expected.
I have found that after 30 days of consistent meditation that I have had good sits and not so good sits. I have learned to give myself permission to explore a little more about what I expect and let go of some of those expectations and just go with what shows up. I have to say it is getting easier, not that there haven't been some bumpy days, there most certainly have, but overall it has been better than I ever anticipated it would. I have also started doing a group meditation once a week, which I have never done before and am finding that I am enjoying it more than I thought I would. I also have found that for me and my present situation that laying down works better than sitting for a calm and relaxed meditation practice. I don't fall asleep and it gives my body the chance to deeply relax and release tension and I come out of the practice feeling so energized and relaxed.
It's 15 minutes of my day that I do before I get out of my nice warm bed for the day and it sets me up for a better day. I am going to give myself another 30 days at this before I decide what the next tweak I want to do to my schedule is. Honestly I have been doing some other practices as test models for what resonates and what doesn't. I got rid of my TV service over the summer and I used my Apple TV to watch what things I actually enjoy and stop paying a large sum of money for something that I wasn't really using. I find myself listening to music more often, podcasts (Oh my goodness, all the podcasts ever, amen), audible books and reading either on my Kindle app or a real book. I have found I go to bed at a better hour and get better sleep when I don't spend hours at night watching TV.
Some suggestions: pick one thing that you want to explore doing more of, whether it is reading, yoga, meditation, art, whatever it is that speaks to you try to add just one hour a week to doing more of that and see how you do. Once you get the feeling of enjoyment out of whatever it is, you might find yourself making more time. Start small, give yourself room to live it and try it and see how it feels. You can always change your mind on whatever it is and sometimes you may have to alter your plans, but you owe it to yourself to at least try. You will thank yourself after, and so might the others in life you when they see you smiling, relaxed and happy.
You are so worth the investment in yourself, you just have to decide that you really are...