rediscover leisure

Part 1:  Time for Yourself

By Karin Leonard

As a nation, we are working harder and resting less.  In the last 20 years, work time for the average North American has increased by 15%, while leisure has decreased by 33 %.   No wonder burnout rates are soaring!  To move towards greater balance, in these next couple articles we will explore how to reclaim free time.

Carve out Minutes

Between work, family and home, how much time do you have left for yourself?  Do you crave time to do what you want, yet feel like it will never happen?  Is everyone and everything else on the top of your list?  Begin with claiming moments for yourself.

Even if you cannot change the big picture of your schedule for now, you can stake out time and space for yourself.  During the day, notice opportunities to make your day more meaningful.  Take regular breaks, and savor them fully:  step outside for a quick walk or sip a cup of delicious tea, take a quiet lunch and read something you love, or take a few minutes to journal.  Transition times, like your way home from work, can provide another opportunity to sneak a few calm minutes.  Pull into a park or stop into coffee shop to luxuriate in your own company.  With a bit of practice and determination, you will continue to discover hidden opportunities for leisure in your day.

Take Mini Retreats

During the week, allow time for renewal on a regular basis.  Plan some time to go within, from a few minutes to a couple hours.  Turn off the world, and tune into your inner being. 

This is time to connect deeply with your soul, an oasis away from everyday life.  During such an occasion, become still and deeply calm.  Meditate, journal, read or reflect.  

How to do this with a house full of family?  You may want to teach your children early on to honor “quiet time.”  During that designated hour or so, each member of the household engages in a calm activity, be it reading, meditating or drawing.  In the long run, establishing peaceful time is not only a sanity break for you, but also a great gift to your children:  to learn how to be quietly with themselves, in a world filled with noise.

Plan for Movement.

Is exercise among the “really want to do it -- but have no time for it” items on your list?  For workouts to happen on a regular basis, they need to “organically” fit into your life.  When scheduling your week, think about when and where you could exercise.  Whether you like taking walks, belong to a gym, or prefer to work out at home, treat your fitness breaks like regular appointments.  Plan realistic exercise into your weekly schedule.  If you know, for example, that leaving for a workout after you get home is unlikely, plan for an exercise stop on your way from work.  Most importantly, find exercise you love, you will be more likely to make it a priority.

To be continued…


For information:   

Karin Leonard & Associates:  (831) 724-5400  

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