Making time for what matters most to you requires balance, a deviation from the million needless distractions that occupy our minds. A realisation of how limited our focus and energy is, a realistic acknowledgement of where this boundary is and to stop continuously crossing it for the sake of keeping up with appearances and trends, or giving into fear of social judgement.
Our job is to look after ourselves, and when we do that, those we love and who we touch in our daily lives will be too touched in a positive, meaningful way. We can demonstrate boundaries and through this, give other people permission to do the same through our own example.
Prioritising downtime and being disciplined in scheduling it, protecting it from other interferences and maintaining is key to self care. If you can achieve this, the changes you see in yourself can make you even more determined to stick to it.
I talk about this stuff because since returning from my travels, I have been strictly practising restorative downtime in a number of ways:
- Checking less for messages in Facebook Messenger and my WhatsApp. The phone is a tool you use, not the other way around. Knowing exactly what it’s uses are and for what purpose will help you distance yourself emotionally from it. It helps you to connect those you love, it’s not something to love itself.
- Two evenings a week of blocked off time from communications where I allow myself free time to do whatever I want (i call them ‘white blocks’). That doesn’t include household obligatory activities such as cooking or cleaning, it means doing WHATEVER.
- Meditation for at least half an hour each evening and longer if I want on the weekends.
- Spending more time journalling and blogging and staying off Netflix (although I’ve found staying away from my beloved Netflix pretty difficult to do!).
My priorities has flipped from people-focused to being more focused on myself and while it potentially comes across as selfish I’ve noticed that I’m a better colleague and a better friend because of it. Because I give to myself, I can more freely give to others without resentment or feeling they owe me something. I’m a better listener and can participate more deeply in meaningful discussions with others, lighting up their minds, as much as my own. I can laugh and joke more, making others laugh too and feel relaxed around me. I think two evenings a week is a small sacrifice that others can take, for what I can give.
At the end of the day we’re all adults here, we’re also highly connected thanks to technology but too much can erode our minds, our capability of level of thought as distractions weaken our ability to concentrate. Its our responsibility to set the boundaries at the risk of pissing people off or causing offence. The risk is worth it, cause your time is ultimately your most valuable currency, your only currency one could philosophically argue. Connecting deeply with yourself and trusting your inner compass to help make decisions around what you spend time on, what you value most is looking after yourself.
When it comes down to it, you owe it to yourself, it’s your ultimate responsibility and because none else can be looked after, if you don’t look after yourself.