Take Time Off

Just think about the way we talk about time. If you believe the catch phrases surrounding time, then I ask you, can time ‘run out’? Can time ‘heal a wound’? Does time have the ability to ‘stand still’? And, for this message, can you really ‘take time off’?

It’s Memorial Day weekend as I write this, and I am hoping to convince you that when you can, it’s necessary to take a break from your work, put a pause on your ‘have to’s’ and realize that while you can unwind and relax, you really can’t take ‘time off’. Time will continue and so I’m asking you to challenge yourself to take an intentional break from your schedule, knowing full well that time will still go on, but how you view it and how you use it will change.

Time really never stops or turns off, and neither do you. But, you can select how you spend your time, where you spend it and with whom you spend it. So choose wisely, because even though time never stops, you only have so many hours in a day, days in a week and days in this life.

Here are some Action Steps to help you take a break:

1) Unplug: Take a finite amount of time and choose to turn off your laptop, cell phone, game system etc. I know, it’s easier said than done, but it’s probably the only way that you will really be able to remove yourself not only from your life but from hearing about the lives of the hundreds, and maybe thousands of other people on your Instagram or Facebook. How long should you unplug? Well start by trying it in small pieces. The first time, unplug for 15 minutes. The second time, maybe an hour.  You can go for a walk and leave your phone at home. Or you could turn your phone off one hour before bed. There are many options, but once you start doing it and seeing how you feel, I would bet you’ll find additional opportunities to make unplugging a habit!

2) Press Pause: If you’re like most of us, myself included, you are on the go whether physically or mentally all the time. This is true for your waking hours, and probably true even in the middle of the night! We can’t turn our brains off, and we shouldn’t. But with a busy brain comes a feeling of constant motion and the compulsion that we need to do and do and do. Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘human doing’ as opposed to human being? If you find that you are in a constant state of ‘doing’, I challenge you to press pause and see how it feel to just ‘be’. It will be difficult initially, but it will get easier and even more fun. Here’s how to get started. Look at your calendar and find a 15 minute time slot that at this moment is ‘open’. Make an entry for that time and call it ‘PAUSE’. When that time comes around, you can sit quietly and think, you can go for a walk, you can watch tv, or you can lie down in your bed. You can try anything that isn’t really ‘doing’. Once you’ve completed this one time, I suggest you repeat it. Either do it more often, or try a longer timeframe. By pressing pause, you give your mind a chance to relax and your body a chance to breathe. Just try it!

3) Have Fun: What? Fun? There’s a word you may not have said in quite a while. With a more than full life and endless responsibilities, how can you possibly have time for something as frivolous as fun? Having fun is just for kids or those who aren’t plagued by non-stop have to’s, right? Wrong! We all deserve to have FUN, at least once in a while. Otherwise, what is it all for? It’s time for you to add some fun into your life! How? Make a list, right now, of 5 things you love to do! Just 5! Do it now, don’t put it on your endless To Do list and then never do it. Once you have your list, circle one thing that you can do this week. It can be for 15 minutes or one hour, but you  need to do it this week. Maybe you love watching ‘Friends’ on TV or maybe you have a favorite artist you want to listen to. Maybe it’s going out for lunch with your girlfriend or calling your high school bestie. Whatever it is, for the one thing you circled, I want you to go back to your calendar and schedule it in! You can call it FUN or whatever makes you smile, but schedule it in for THIS week! And Ta Da, you are on your way to having fun! The more you flex this muscle, the more you’ll be able to create it as a regular routine!

4) Get outside: With our electronic tech-focused world, we are inside and sitting more than ever! In the unprecedented pandemic experience we have had, you were probably inside your house or apartment more than you can remember. Now is the time to push yourself to go outside. Just by being in fresh air, whether walking down a city street or on a beach, you are changing your environment and taking action. Think of all the things you can do outside. You can take a walk, sit in a chair, ride a bike, talk on the phone, just think and breathe. Never before have we all needed this more! Challenge yourself to get outside every day, rain or shine, 5 minutes or 2 hours. Once you get in the groove of doing this regularly, it will become a habit. It’s also a great way to adjust your environment and give your brain a chance to reset. It’s incredible what unique ideas I come up with when I’m walking outside and the same can happen to you.

So, here are 4 ways to help you take a much needed and well-deserved break in your busy routine. Try one, or try them all! You may not be able to take time ‘off’ but you can surely turn off your have to’s, give yourself a chance to relax and take control of your schedule!

If you want to chat about this topic or something you think I can help you with, feel free to schedule a complimentary chat with me via my calendar link!


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