When I was in Texas, I attended a workshop led by Dr. Keri Riggs on the importance of creativity, play, and fun and it was pretty mind-blowing. Life today is so fast-paced – there are always errands to run, things to clean, chores to do, calls to make, emails to answer, appointments to go to – that it feels like we are on a never-ending conveyor belt of things to do. Billy and I have been trying to reshape our lifestyle into one that does allow more time for fun and play and creativity, but sometimes we are not successful. We can get mired in all the minutiae of the life just as quickly as not. Finding the balance is hard!
Dr. Riggs asked us all to think of a time that we had fun, just really let go and had fun. And to think about what play meant to us. For me, that means many different things, as I am sure it does to most of you as well. Reading and writing, being out in nature, being with my friends at book club, laughing with my family about something or other, practicing yoga. Then Dr. Riggs asked about what gets in the way – and I am sure my list is again, the same as many of you all, all of the things I mentioned above. I also realized that for me too, that I can “Chevy Chase” a moment, that I have really high expectations of how I want and expect something to be, that I have a hard time being in the moment 100%, as I try to manage it so that my family has a perfect outing or moment. And I need to realize it doesn’t need to be that way sometimes. I need to step outside of that idea, and just be.
We also talked about what we can do to try to help us make the time for ourselves – we all know and have heard how important “self-care” is for us by now. And self-care can be just a small little thing too – a piece of that special candy you love and don’t treat yourself to, for example. For we also learned, a treat is self-care – if it is something you do all the time, it doesn’t count, because it doesn’t actually affect your brain the same way as treating yourself. So it is important to switch it up! If you buy a big box of Godiva and eat a piece of everyday, it is no longer special right? It is there and you can have it whenever you want. And it loses that magic. So we have to make sure we switch it up sometimes.
A few suggestions I took from the workshop that I feel I can actually use are very simple – make a list and put things on the calendar. My very organized brain loves these ideas. Have you ever had time to yourself where you were completely overwhelmed by the fact you had some time, and then didn’t know what to do? (This also sort of happens to me in a book store – too many options and I can’t choose!) Dr. Riggs suggested making a list of fun or self-care type things that you would enjoy, then when you get 30 minutes, etc look at your list and choose one! And the calendar thing – so important I think. It feels sort of like you shouldn’t need to schedule free time, but sometimes you do, at least until it becomes habit I think. I have to schedule in blogging or I wouldn’t get a chance. And when I don’t keep to my schedule, I never get to it! This is something I am urging my husband to do too – text his friends and set stuff up, put it on the calendar! I never miss a book club, and it is because it is scheduled. But this is just how things work for me, it might not be the thing for you, and if that is the case, find the way that works for you. Remember the things that make you smile, and restore your spirit and soul. Find the things that feel like play and fun, and do them.
Right before I left on my trip, I texted my husband that when he got home from work, we were going to go on a picnic, even though rain was in the forecast. We kept it extremely simple – we picked up pizza rolls and cookies from the bakery and headed to a local metropark. Due to the weather, we had the place to ourselves, and it was a wonderful way to spend an hour or two. We opened up the hatch of our SUV and piled into the back together, watching the rain roll in, as the wind blew our hair around. Wyatt absolutely loved it, I loved it, Billy loved it. We were safe and warm and cozy, eating our cookies while the weather was a little wild, just out of reach. We got to see deer and have a priceless moment together, really. It was after work and we had dishes in the sink and laundry to do and I needed to pack and it was probably later than Wyatt needed to be out by the time we got home, but..it was worth it. And Wyatt was fine and everything got done eventually.
What about you? What kinds of things restore you? What do you do to make time for them?