Turning the Noise Off - Why You Need to Take Time for YourselfMay 10, 2023
A while back, I hosted a virtual vision board making workshop where I shared some of the key steps to creating a vision board the right way. (Maybe you were there!) It was so much fun and everyone had a really great time. I was surprised by the number of people who had never created a vision board before the workshop. Unfortunately, what did not surprise me was the common theme of so many recognizing that they need more time for themselves. Not time to get things on their list done, but actual time to themselves, for themselves. I have a feeling that you can probably relate.
The struggle that we’re up against most often is the societal conditioning and the pressure that tells us that productivity equals value. Layer that pressure with all of the other shoulds we build our lives around and how do we even consider taking downtime or time to ourselves when we have so much on our to-do lists?!
The truth is that we deserve time to ourselves and with our own thoughts.
The truth is that we need time to ourselves and with our own thoughts if we want to enjoy our life and show up as our best self with others.
And, the truth is that our productivity has nothing to do with our value or worthiness.
We need time to rest and relax, and to process and decompress. And we need to be able to do all of that before we can even get to our own thoughts beyond the day-to-day. Without this time, we can never truly know our Self because we lack the quiet time to sit and listen to – and hear – our Self. We need this time to unwind from and release all of the external noise so that we can really listen to our inner voice.
Think about a time when the radio or television was a bit too loud. Maybe there was a song playing you didn’t care for or some obnoxious commercials advertising things you had no interest in. After a bit you realized that you were feeling irritated for no apparent reason and couldn’t even form a full thought. Finally, you realized how much all of this noise was distracting and stressing you out, so you turned the sound off and immediately felt a sense of relief. Ahh, you were able to relax and focus once again.
Now swap all of that noise for all of the demands you have on your time, all of the opinions others have about how you should live your life, all of the social media scrolling, the endless meetings at work, the persistent calls for your attention from the kids and everything else that squeezes its way into your days.
How can you ever possibly focus on you if you never turn off the noise?
We all need time with our own thoughts without the extra stimulation of conversation (even if we aren’t part of the conversation), feeling like we should be catching up on podcasts or Audible books, watching that series that everyone’s been talking about, folding laundry, menu planning and ordering groceries for the week, or anything else outside of us. Just time to ourselves and for ourselves.
So, how about you? Do you have a vision board? Does it include a vision of what time alone looks like to you? What does that look like to you? Do you even know?
I understand that you may be thinking, “That all sounds great, but I just don’t see how any of that is possible with everything that I have going on.”
I feel you. I deal with that thought myself. “Just this one more thing and then I’ll…” is not an uncommon thought. But I have set some boundaries with myself, so that I am able to have time for myself regularly, especially during busier times.
For example, in the days leading up to hosting a retreat, I have to be extra mindful of taking some time to myself this week. Hosting week-long retreats takes a lot of focus and energy before and especially during the experience (and especially with two back-to-back retreats!) so I know that I really need this time.
I quiet a number of things the week ahead of a retreat (aka set boundaries.) For example, current projects will be paused and new projects will have to wait for a few weeks (even though I’m excited to work on them!) That’s okay. My head is filled with enough details about the retreats then, and that’s where my focus needs to be. If I don’t turn off the noise of most things outside of the retreats, I will run the risk of not providing my clients the best possible experience, not enjoying the retreats myself, and burning myself out. There’s absolutely no upside to any of that!
We have the tendency to be exceptionally aware of how much we have to do on all of our lists. It’s as if checking things off the list develops into such a strong habit that it becomes the way of life, not to mention how much we choose to take on, and that we forget to take time for ourselves or make it a priority. Worse yet, we feel guilty for taking time for ourselves – or for simply even wanting the time.
I’d be willing to bet that you are abundantly clear about all of the things that you need to do right now. Are you clear about your plan for time to yourself? When was the last time you had some time for just you?
Whether you call it self-care, self-love, mommy time, alone time, quiet time, or creating boundaries and allowing yourself to say no once in a while, you deserve this time. I assure you that the world will not stop if you take a break. I’d be willing to bet that life will flow even better when you take this time – and make it a habit.
When you take this time to yourself, you will most likely end up creating more space in your life because you will be turning off the noise outside of you so you’ll be able to hear yourself. You will be able to get clear about things that are and are not working in your life. And when you see that something isn’t working, then you can ultimately create more space in your life when you stop allowing space for that thing.
Time to yourself can absolutely come in the form of a vacation, a retreat or a weekend getaway, but it doesn’t have to be that extravagant either.
Here are just a few ideas you may want to consider:
- Relaxing in your favorite comfy spot in your home listening to soft, soothing music with a cup of your favorite tea.
- Taking a nap, with or without an alarm set. (I love a 15-minute reset nap almost daily!)
- Actually going to bed at the time you always say you want to, even if you don’t fall asleep right away. Simply relax and let your thoughts wander beyond the to-do list.
- Taking 20-30 minutes of quiet, hands-off time after work in your room (ideally with the door closed as the signal to others that it will have to wait a few minutes.)
- Going on a weekend getaway by yourself, even if it means getting a hotel room in the next city over.
- Cultivating a daily meditation practice. Everyone can take 10 minutes a day for this, even if it means getting up a few minutes earlier while the house is still quiet.
- Going on a walk by yourself without feeling compelled to listen to anything other than the sounds around you.
- Cooking a delicious, healthy meal for yourself and sitting down to savor every bite rather than the usual of largely missing the meal by being preoccupied.
How will you bring some YOU time into your life? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you. And if you are struggling to figure out how to create space in your schedule or how to move past that guilt, I welcome you to schedule a clarity session right here to help you gain more clarity. I’m here to help support you in your journey.
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