Still not finding time for you? Take a cue from some parenting skills
and send yourself to “Time Out”!
If you have convinced yourself that you just don’t have any time to relax and recuperate from the chaos of daily life, consider a parenting technique some people use to try to calm their children down- a “Time Out.” In parenting, the idea behind this technique is to remove a child from a situation that just keeps escalating and especially the power struggle of a child not listening. For some it might be the “naughty chair” or a specific spot in the home that the child knows is a place to sit and refocus- with the hope of calming down. If you keep pushing away time to yourself, do you need a time out from your day?
Still believing you just don’t have time to escape from things- send yourself to “Time Out.” It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes- it can be one, two, or even 10 minutes. Ideally, you should choose a place or location that is accessible to you. At work, can you go outside, or walk the hallways, maybe even climb some stairs? It’s easy to zap up free time by looking at your cell phone or browsing the internet at your desk. If you’re at home, don’t pick up the tv remote, head outside or go to a quiet part of the house. Leave the electronics aside. It may feel relaxing and an escape but it can also add to the stimulus that is keeping you wound up.
One of the main ideas is to take this time to practice some mindfulness skills. Practicing mindfulness means you are in the present moment. If you are walking, you are aware of things like your surroundings, your footsteps, your breath, or the rhythm of your body movements. You maintain an awareness of the things going on around you- not necessarily within you such as active thoughts. Mindfulness is not using that quiet time to think about unpaid bills, laundry piling up, what’s next on your agenda, or troubling relationships, work stress, and so on. When you have an awareness of your surroundings, like birds chirping, a gentle breeze, or the smell of clean air, you are practicing mindfulness. You are in the present time.
If you can’t get out of your workplace, try using some noise cancelling earbuds to drown out intrusive noises. If you choose to listen to music during that time- take notice of each instrument you hear during a song. If your thoughts drift to anything outside what’s happening in the moment- reel them back in and focus on what is happening in front of you. The short break from your day may help rejuvenate you and it may take some practice to keep your thoughts focused on the present. The more you practice, the more you will master these skills.
If it’s your lunch break, try to find someplace other than indoors if you can. Take note of what’s happening through sight, sound, and feeling. Remember to bring your thoughts back to present focus if they start lingering to something other than what is in front of you. Making this time can be important in getting yourself back on track, especially if your day is crammed with things that involve other people’s needs.
So, don’t forget to put yourself in “Time Out” everyday!
Sheilagh is an Artist and Art Therapist who believes in healing with art and creativity.