During the week I like to plan everything out, so on weekends and vacations I take a break from planning. My friends like to plan out their vacation/weekend activities, but my philosophy has always been whatever happens, happens. Hakuna Matata! I just lounge around and do whatever I feel like doing whenever I feel like doing it. And this honestly worked in my favor until I had kids. With a 4 year old and a 16 month old, spontaneity has gone out the window. Kids are unpredictable, so it is important to plan out my me-time, whether that is on weekends or vacations. As moms, we are constantly bombarding our schedules with more activities and multi-tasking trying to juggle everything. If we don’t take a break, we will end up breaking apart. It is so important to carve out some me-time for our mental well-being and overall happiness in life. So here are 3 things you can do to make the most out of your me-time.
–Engage in relationships: Take an electronic break and actually enjoy community. You would be surprised at how much time you actually spend on the internet, I am the worst! From little kids to the elderly, everyone is constantly on their phones. People rarely make eye contact, or try to engage in a conversation with others in the same room anymore. Social bonding and conversations perhaps bring us more happiness than everything else in life. Even in the Bible we see this. After God creates everything, He says, “It is good.”
The first time we see God displeased is when He says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Even though Adam had all the animals to play with and an awesome garden to tend, God knew he needed a “suitable” partner. Dogs are awesome but they can never truly be a man’s best friend. We need people in our lives. We can even see this with kids. They can have a room full of toys, but they want to hang out with people. It is an innate need, even for those that are introverts. So make time to really engage in relationships with friends and family. Engage in relationships with strangers: join The Boys and Girls Club, serve at the Salvation Army, go to a church, etc
Experience those things that bring you happiness, and help you de-stress.
For me, de-stressing means getting a one hour massage. For others its a pedicure, and for some crazy people, it’s running or exercise.
Making time to self-reflect on the blessings you have received and being grateful (you can use a journal to do this) is vital. This can also look like prayer or meditation. Our minds are constantly racing from one thought to the next, it is important to be fully present with your feeling and focus on one thing.
Doing something you enjoy, or that you are good at, will give you a sense of satisfaction and will bring happiness and leave you feeling reenergized. When I was in college, after studying for a final, I would sit in front of my mirror and do my eye makeup. For me, makeup was a creative outlet where I could focus on something and fully immerse myself into it, which helped me relax.
Explore new things, places and activities. I am an extrovert, but I am also such a homebody. Thank God, my husband is the total opposite and drags me everywhere. It is so good for your mental health to get out and do new things. Consider it an escape from the normal day-to-day chores and routines. New activities help you gain new insights and feelings creating happy memories. Sign up for a dance/cooking class. Go hiking. Try a new restaurant. Take a trip, etc. It doesn’t matter how much of a hassle it is to plan a trip, or load up the kids to get out of the house. It doesn’t matter what a new class or experience costs, because what we store in our memories are the moments that brought joy and freshness to life.
Time is our most expensive commodity and it seems to be getting scarce. Lounging around in your pajamas and binge watching Netflix is actually not the best way to unwind and be happy.( I know I just blew someone’s mind!) Most of the things I have mentioned can be done for free, that’s right …free! (sorry, I grew up watching a lot of informercials and I always wanted to say that). Be thoughtful and intentional with your me-time whether it is on the weekends, a short trip, or a long vacation. Incorporate some of these techniques to make the most out of that special time, and it may help you live a happier life.