Taking time out when time is limited does not seem to be an easy fit in a busy life. Taking time out doesn’t mean stalling, or ignoring, all those plans you have made — it actually means investing time where it counts. Hearing your child, or colleague, as opposed only half listing. Taking time out means consciously reserving 5 minutes, an hour, a day, a weekend or longer to recharge, reboot, find release and gain capacity. Taking time out has the same effect as taking time off – and the effect will create time for when you really need it.
Taking Time Out: 5 Minutes
- Take 5 to breathe, shut your eyes and let you mind drift — every hour. This does wonders for concentration, focus and ability to remain on top of your game. If you are in a heavy-duty job — this might seem impossible but even in the most high pressured environments you can steal away a few minutes. Some professions even have breaks as a mandatory part of their schedules, as it has been proven how important this is for health and safety. If you are in a ‘normal’ office setting, turning away your eyes from that screen and looking out the window — or an imaginary outside — will make a change to how much you can cram into your day.
- If you are in a meeting, conference, team setting where taking 5 every hour would make you stand out too much – calculate how many 5 minute breaks you have ‘missed’ and go walking during lunch hour. Get your oxygen in, take in some natural light and vitamin D, and just move. A walk a day keeps the Doctor away — along with good nutrition, mindfulness and healthy social life, right?
- Take 5 minutes every evening to really talk to your partner and/or children about their day. Listen – and really hear — what they have to say, and engage in what may be on their minds. Share the moment and enjoy real connection.
- Return the favour by telling them about your day – and the key is to find the positive. Even if you don’t like your job, hate your boss, and traffic drove you insane that day – beat the mood monster by concentrating on the positive glimpses you had too. It is remarkable how much better you feel when you take a positive pill, rather than a negative booster! And just as you listened to your partner, s/he will be more ready to hear you if you start off on a positive note, to then share what was difficult too.
- Read for your children – hopefully for more than 5 minutes – to share precious time that you can never get back. Create a cosy, calm time that will anchor them forever. They will go to sleep feeling safe and happy – and always remember these moments. The bed time story time is for shared togetherness, so put away the Nintendo, Sega and if you want a clever helper that comes loaded with free stories get a Kindle – and down load all those favourites you enjoyed – or discover new bedtime tales to share with your children.
Taking Time Out: An Hour
An hour at any time of the day, or week, of time reserved just for you will make you a new person. Make this hour count — whether this is a scheduled Me Time, to take a long walk – or share time with a friend or loved one. This hour is a time to recharge, recreate, rebalance and not coincide with your joyful pub run with mates. This is ac time for you to find ‘you’ again on a different level.
- Book a cooking class or Photography course – or another topic that peaks your interest – far away from your daily grind. Do it for you!
- Enrol in Open University, or other Online education courses to finally get going on those faraway dreams you may hold. You talk about it – but this time really do it. An hour every day – or week – to better yourself, how about it?
- Book a trial session in a Gym with a Personal Trainer to understand the basics. You may be a gym virgin, and feel awkward at first – but Boy! do you feel invigorated once you understand how to squat, bench press and lift. Everyone in the Gym started at some point. The lean, mean machine standing next to you will not smirk, but rather smile encouragingly, I promise! An hour every week with a trainer, and then an hour every other day or so by yourself will make the difference. The beauty is that once you get the moves you can do this anywhere, and everywhere – even when working away.
- Get yourself a DIY kit to give yourself a facial, pedicure, manicure or any treatment that takes a bit longer than those 5 minutes you spend in front of the mirror every morning. Light some candles and pamper yourself. Get into a personal scented zen mode, and feel refreshed, recharged and beautiful. (Don’t open a bottle of wine keep it zen, fresh and healthy 🙂 )
- Really treat yourself to a SPA session with Hot stones, Massage, Steam, ice bath and shed some of that old tired skin into a new shiny ‘feel good feeling’.
- Book yourself an hour to just read, meditate and think – just let your mind go and make this all about the New You that you find lurking under all those daily stresses and must-dos.
Taking Time Out: A Day
Make a Day of it! Multiply those feel good moments you dream about, and make a whole days’ worth of walking, talking, culture, music, SPA treatments, new education to just letting go of the ordinary.
- Organise a day trip with loved ones and friends. Go camping – or Glamping :), Fishing, Hiking, Trekking, Bicycling. As long as Nature is involved all is fair game. Oxygen, light and the simple enjoyments that come along with doing something you don’t do every week can recharge you for months.
- Become a Culture buff for a day and se that expo you read about. Go to the Museum and take in a guided tour – learning and seeing new things invigorates the mind and the senses. Treat yourself to Theatre or Opera tickets, and see what it is all about. It’s all about discovering new areas that you sometimes speak about, but never do. This time – create a cultural day for you.
- If you always dreamt about flying, parachuting, diving, para gliding or any other dare-devil activity – make it happen. Do it! Book that one day intro course – and see if it is all talk, or if you can actually also ‘do the walk’. You might like, love, or hate it! But – at least this time you did it!
- Take your partner for a day away from it all. Book a hotel room, and sweep her / him off their feet – quite romantic even if its only down the road. You don’t even have to spend money on a room. Just rearrange your own pad into something different – and lock away all social media, TV, Radio and do what you don’t do everyday. Enjoy a day of rediscovery. I am not here aiming at what you all think – but really just to reconnect, really take time out for each other and seeing the person in your life again and celebrating her/him!
Taking Time Off: A Weekend or Longer
Real time off is of course a precious commodity – and not always so easy to organise with colliding schedules involving schools, jobs, professional challenges, pets, summer gardens, real or perceived obligations etc. You can find the real reasons for how difficult it can be — and also the excuses. Taking real time off means a different level of planning, and can also be a bit stressful as so many logistics have to come together. Once you have done it though, and actually gone away – and come back – OH! The plans you had before seem to have all changed. That thought you had will have become a resolve, and dreams a reality within reach. By taking real time off you will save yourself on so many levels and really be ready for the new challenges ahead.
By taking real time, you choose a destination, and declare it ‘Time for Me’ or ‘Time for We’. Not a chased super organised — must do it all — kind of trip, but rather a vacation as opposed to a holiday. What is the difference?
A Vacation involves vacating ones mind, and letting go of the ordinary chores, jobs, thoughts – to just enjoy new cultures, foods, adventures and discovering new things about yourself and your loved ones. A vacation is also the time to boost your health, exercise more, drink in nature and good nutrition. Not to indulge in heave drinking or exhausting rushing around – but charge the batteries for months to come.
A Holiday is often a rather overly organised trips with a set programme; feeling you ‘must’ do this and that; and often include excesses that exhaust more than relax you. Depending on where you live, the words vacation and holiday are used to say the same thing – the whole key is to vacate your mind, leave the ordinary behind and simply exist for days on end.
Productivity increases in many countries can be measured by the length of vacation time its citizens have. Germany, France and Scandinavia are examples of countries that often send consecutive 4 weeks off every summer, and statistics show that the level of burn out is lower and productivity higher. Health injection at a national level, why not?!
Time Out is Time Off
Taking time to listen and really hearing; talking and really voicing; seeing and really visualising — will put you back in charge of your life again.You will find new way at looking, connecting and making it all happen. Your dreams and thoughts will seem achievable, and your energy levels surge to new heights.
The challenge is to stay the course when you come home. A vacation will normally make that happen, whereas a holiday makes it as brief as the time you took off.
When are you taking time off?
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