Time is a weird construct…
Somehow some days it can seem like I have too much free time yet not enough either, all at once.
I technically have a lot more free time now as I am no longer employed full-time. But the days still seem to pass very quickly. If I don’t put in the energy to be more productive during the day time, what ends up happening is that by the end of the day, even a few minutes on some tasks can feel like a lot when I finally decide to work on them.
Because of this I have to make a conscious effort daily to complete what I consider crucial activities that will benefit me physically and mentally – self-care, if you will.
I may not have all the time in the world to spare, even now, but when it comes to self-care, I owe it to myself to make the effort. I find it helpful to carve out at least 15 minutes every day for each of the following:
- Exercise – I am not the most active person and now that I do not have my gym membership and it’s so cold out (this is prime example of how easy the excuses can pile up for not working out), it’s hard to be motivated to work out. But being active is obviously very important to be physically healthy and helps release endorphins so that I can get some happy hormones in there too. Again, now that it’s cold out, I usually just do some cardio inside with a step machine. I also like using weighted hula-hoop (this works ya harder than you would think) and I’m going to start looking into some planking routines I can do. If anyone has any they recommend, please let me know in the comments.
- Meditation – Meditation is essentially exercise for the mind; this is definitely one of the top ways for mental self-care. It’s a great way to start out the day creating a sense of peace and developing some tools to deal with any problems that may arise during the day. I also love doing some breathing exercises before bed; it makes the process of falling asleep a lot more soothing than my default of having a restless mind. I’m just a novice at this and don’t quite totally have the hang of it yet. But I’m enjoying the process of it so much so that as an early Christmas gift to myself, I purchased a year-long subscription for the Headspace app (I’ll do a blog post going more in-depth about this particular app later on).
- Getting fresh air – Since I do not have to go into an office each day now and I am a homebody in general, it can be easy to let myself stay inside all day long. So getting out and getting some fresh air just helps feel more awake and refreshed. When I’m out getting fresh air, I tend to lump this in as part of exercise because I’ll usually take a long walk around the neighborhood. When it’s warmer, I intend to go jogging by the shore near my house.
- Talk to someone – Again, not sure I want this point to keep coming up but it is my reality so… I’m not employed, so the circle of people that I interact with on a daily basis has shrunken quite a bit. Even before that, I didn’t really tend to connect with many people on a day to day basis. I do not want to become even more of a hermit now so I’m making more effort to reach out to friends and family for an actual conversation. Preferably a phone conversation or face-to-face so that it’s more active and ongoing than say text. Although if some people like text or messenger more, I will do so but both of us have to really be present for the convo (i.e. I and whoever is on the other end should not be multitasking as we are talking)
- Writing – This is not something that I have ever felt came easily to me. In school I would procrastinate most for my writing assignments. They would take me the longest to complete because I would start and stop and keep rewriting drafts because it all sounded so shit to me. But I really want to do more journaling and blogging to get more of my personal thoughts down. The only way to write is to just do it, be it good or bad. I do not want to spend too much time on any ‘editing’ so I will just let my thoughts flow and hopefully it will reveal my true thoughts which can be hidden quite well even to myself a lot of the times. I will be including blogging in this (I can check off writing today by writing this entry!).
- Drinking Tea&Reading – I included these two as a package deal because I just find curling up with a hot cup of tea and a good, hardcover book to be so incredibly cozy. I stare at a laptop screen so much of the day that giving my eyes a break from that is necessary. So this can happen in the middle of the day if I’m feeling like I have been at the laptop for too long or this can be before I go to bed; almost like a bedtime story routine. Right now I am reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It’s a classic but I had never read the story before but I saw an amazing production of this at the Soho Playhouse this past weekend so I want to read the actual story. After this I have the two Veronica Mars novels. I have read The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (but it’s been a while so I will reread for a refresher) but I have not read the 2nd book Mr. Kiss and Tell yet. I was holding off on reading that even though the book has been out for awhile now because I wanted to always have more VM to look forward to (yes, totally weird logic on my part) but now that the show is coming back on Hulu (!!!), I will finally read it. If you guys have any recommended books I should read, please let me know in the comments.
- Cuddling with my cat – I initially did not have this as part of my list, until I just realized that I pretty much do this almost every single night with my furball. This is partially because he is so clingy (tbh I love it!) and also because he’s just a comforting presence for me when I get home regardless of whether it’s been a long day or not. And not to make it morbid but I do not know how much time I have left with him so I want to really enjoy this time with him while we can. He does matter and he deserves my full attention for even a smidgen of my time considering I am not even here to be with him for most of the day.
15 minutes for each of these is just my own baseline of the minimum that I should be doing because I consider this doable no matter how busy I get. I do actually spend more time for each because I have more time right now. Hopefully getting myself into these habits will make it so that eventually when I am more busy, I will still find it pretty natural and easy to do as part of my normal routine.
What do you guys find to be important enough to prioritize at least 15 minutes each day for? Please let me know in the comments.
Enjoy the mew life,