It’s not news that we need time away. Routines have a funny way of settling into our bones and tricking us into believing that the same scene day after day is the best thing. We get comfy and cozy and don’t need to move.
Movement out of our comfort zone, even just a little time away, takes effort. One thing I know for sure is that the mere mention of taking time away to make time for yourself potentially sets off two alarms: 1) I can’t take time away…what will my family/spouse/kids/job/business do without me and 2) I can’t afford to take a trip anywhere.
The alarms don’t change the simple truth that we need time away.
We need time and a space without the constant email notifications and demands of other people.
We need time away from cleaning up art activities we do with our kids and scraping dried pancake off the underside of the booster seat. (Seriously, how does it get there?)
When we take the time we need away from our normal routines, big things can happen, often in the form of ideas.
The perfect storage solution for your garage can come to you while you’re walking in the woods.
A book you’ve imagined yourself writing for years starts to become a real story in your mind – hey, you might even start writing it down if you have time away!
Or maybe the simple sense of peace that escapes the day-to-day in the midst of feeling busy and frazzled settles upon you and you remember that even though you’re super busy and have loads of responsibility, your life is still pretty great. And whatever’s not great about it, you can change.
You might even get inspired to change while you’re taking time away.
But wait, the alarms are going off! You might be thinking “I know I need time away, but I still don’t feel like I have the money and spending what I have on myself causes me too much stress, etc.”
There are ways you can take the time you need right where you are. Here are ___ of my favorites.
1. Take an “artist date.” From Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, the artist date is a date you take by yourself. The idea is to explore and find something that ignites your creativity. Take yourself out to dinner for a new culinary experience. Visit a local museum and while you’re there, take a few minutes to write in your journal in new surroundings. Find a local garden or park, bring a blanket, sketch pad, books, and just go chill out for a few hours.
2. Buy a cheap kiddie pool and set it up in the backyard. There’s just something about water that can instantly relax us. Many of us love a nice hot bath (another getaway), but during the summer, they may not be as appealing. A kiddie pool in the backyard with a little water and a beach chair can be what you need to feel like you’ve had some downtime. This is a good way to get the kids out of the house too, however, I would warn that with small children, it’s not always “relaxing” to be in the yard with them. Let them get tired, put them to bed, and then take twenty or thirty minutes on your own.
3. Join a group focused on creating skills. Are you a writer? Challenge yourself by joining a critique group. Singer? Find a local singing group that you can become a part of. Add yourself to the roster of the quilter’s guild. When we commit to something that has regular meeting times and places, we are more likely to follow-through with our commitment. The group encourages and supports us and we find that we perform or produce because that’s what being a member of the group is about. What’s so great about this is that the time with the group can be time away, but the time you take to work on your craft or hobby between meetings is your downtime too. For this reason, having a consistent hobby or something you love to do is one of my favorite things on this list. Anyone like to journal?
4. Don’t cook dinner. Choose something easy and see if you can make it even easier. Cheese and crackers, slices of fruit, and a bottle of wine can make an evening feel like a treat. Not much clean up, the kids are happy (not because of the wine – everyone’s kids love fruit and cheese, right?).
I’d love to hear about other ways you can think of to get away! Leave me a note and share some more ideas!