We are a society with lots of hustle and bustle, and with that many of us are busy all the time. From the time we wake up until we go to bed, we are busy with something. We go to work. We do stuff for the kids. We cook. We clean. We have family obligations. We plan activities for later.
It’s very time consuming!
We all need a break now and then. We require time to unwind, relax, and get away from all of the things we have going on around us, all the to-do lists we have, and all of the people that are counting on us in seemingly endless fashion.
All too often, many people take their breaks by trading one stimulus for another. While it may certainly be enjoyable to go to a movie instead of cleaning the kitchen, or while it’s great to go shopping on a day off, the fact is that these and other similar activities are not providing rest to your brain and your body. You may be enjoying yourself, but if you’ve ever wondered why you’re still tired, sometimes more so, after taking some time to do things you enjoy, it’s probably because you’re not really giving yourself a break.
On top of keeping yourself overly active, many of these activities have something else in common: They cost money. This adds to the stress that many people have as they have to find room in the budget to pay for the movie tickets or the sporting event or the trip down to Disney World.
So, what can you do in order to really give yourself a break, and also give your wallet a break at the same time? Thankfully, there are many things that you can do.
- Go for a walk or a bike ride in a nature filled setting – If you have a park with trails nearby, this can be a wonderful activity. While it will require some level of ‘being physical’, the relaxation it will bring to your body will provide you an overall sense of peacefulness. On top of that, even though you are undergoing physical activity, the fact that you will be refreshing your mind will help promote a really good night’s rest, so if all goes well, you can wake up the next morning feeling both physically and mentally refreshed. And, you’ve just gotten some exercise on top of it!
- Listen to some relaxing music – If you love music, and most of us do have some music we love, you can really lose yourself in this one. Lock yourself in a room, turn the volume up (or put headphones on if you have to keep other sleeping bodies in mind) and get lost in some great music. Often times a relaxing CD will do, but you can also find a CD that you used to love but haven’t listened to in a long time. Chances are it will bring back some good memories and you’ll find yourself relaxing as the music takes over.
- Read a book – Finding a good book to read is like discovering an entire new world. If an author does it right and you connect with the story, the words on the page will form images in your mind that will take you from this world, and while leaving your current troubles and hectic schedule behind, if only for the time you get lost in your story. The best part is that most people have access to thousands of such stories by virtue of public libraries.
- Write a letter – Put the laptop and tablets away for this one. I’m talking the old-fashioned way where you get a paper and pen out, and write a letter. Find someone you haven’t heard from in a while, someone you miss, and write a letter. Write what is going on, and what you’re feeling as well. If you have problems you can share, write about those as well. Writing things down will actually free you of some of the burden that’s associated with stress. If you actually mail it or not is up to you, though if you do, I’m sure letters are so uncommon these days that the person that receives it will no doubt cherish it.
- Spend romantic time with a loved one – Hold hands. Sit down by the fireplace with a good fire going. If you have someone you love, spend some quiet time with them. You don’t even have to do much talking. Just touching will bring you close, will help you unwind, and it could even lead to more fun activities that are also shown to relieve stress!
- Take a nap – If you find that you’re tired all the time, and that the nighttime just doesn’t give you enough time to catch up, treat yourself to a nap every now and then. A couple of hour nap could provide the same boost to your body as an entire night of sleep does (though the trick is to get the same amount of sleep that you usually do). It can definitely recharge you, and if you haven’t treated yourself to a nap in awhile, trust me, you are missing out!
These are just a few of the ways that you can treat yourself to one of the best gifts you can get: the gift of time. The bonus about the activities above is that they are all free! If you lose yourself in one of these activities or something similar, you will find that it’s easier to rest, it’s easier to think, and this will lead to you being able to solve more problems, get more done, and be more effective in your day to day activities. So, really, taking rest time is an investment in your everyday life. Once you treat yourself to some ‘down’ time, you’ll find yourself making room for it and wondering how you ever lived without it for so long!
Readers, how do you treat yourself to alone time, and what activities do you most enjoy that carry you away? Do you find that rest time actually enhances your productivity?
Thank you for reading.