Thursday, April 09, 2015

Tip: On the lost art of free time

The same conversation rears its ugly head at least once a week at our house...

My mom: "Why does time seem to move so fast?"

Me: "What happened to all that free time we used to have?"

My mom: "I know! There's no time for fun anymore!"

Said conversation typically occurs on a Sunday night when we find ourselves panicking about the coming week. Instead of feeling refreshed and relaxed from the weekend, all we can do is think about our long to-do list and all the things we didn't get done over the last two days.

Life wasn't always like this, after all. Even 10 years ago, I can remember being able to carve out just enough free time in my schedule to recharge my batteries whenever I needed to. I almost took it for granted that it would always be there for me whenever I needed it. Now, though, free time has become something of a scarce commodity. Maybe you feel the same way. It's almost as if we've forgotten just how to take -- and enjoy! -- the downtime we so desperately crave.

Author Elizabeth Grace Saunders knows a thing or two about the subject, as she's spent many hours tackling her to-do list. The result? Tasks completed, yes, but with one very heavy side effect -- exhaustion. It's during this period of exhaustion, Saunders says, that it's important to relearn the art of free time, she says.
"This requires choosing to not feel guilty about wanting time to truly relax and be creative. If you don’t make a conscious choice for rest, you will find yourself always filling your time by ticking off items instead of giving yourself space to be in the moment—thinking, doodling, reading, musing, or doing whatever fills you creatively."
She also gives a few strategies for achieving a new level of Zen in your life, like staying in tune with yourself, protecting time in your week and not setting an agenda. Yikes! That last one sort of scares me, but maybe it's that fear that could be the ultimate motivator, you know?
"If you can’t think straight, start tripping over your words, have a headache, or feel agitated and annoyed at everything, it’s a sign that something is off. Instead of attempting to push through, pull back and give yourself some space. Your body knows what it needs -- listen to it."
Such amazing advice, don't you think, friends? Let's challenge each other to take back those little moments of free time in our lives, shall we? How do you enjoy your downtime? Do you ever feel guilty about it? How do you stop yourself from that "keep going" mentality? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks! xoxo

P.S. Words of encouragement, five things not to worry about, one simple tip for journaling and how to remember names.

[Photos via We Heart It]

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