When you finally manage to steal a moment for yourself do you:
Get right to the enjoyment and fun, or…
Lay on the sofa waiting for something fun to come along and entertain you?
About 18 years ago I became a mom again, to the world’s most amazing, gorgeous and genius babies–my twins, Roque and Reyna. (I’m sure you feel the same way about your babies, human or otherwise.) Well, although they are amazing, gorgeous geniuses, caring for them was exhausting. They ate every other hour. For fun they decided to alternate their feeding hours so just as I got one baby fed and to bed the other was waking up to eat. I remember thinking, “If I could just get 4 hours of sleep in a row I’ll be set.” From time to time my mom would take them for the day to give me a break.
That was the perfect time for me to play, right? Not.
I had no idea what I wanted to do. I’d always clean, do the laundry, groceries and run the errands. Then I’d be home, exhausted half asleep on the sofa watching TV while they were gone. Now please understand, if I was super engaged in what I was doing and enjoying it, I wouldn’t say that was a crappie way to spend my time. However, the fact is I was completely disengaged and wouldn’t have recognized FUN if it tried to smother me as I slept.
It never occurred to me to do something I enjoy, something fulfilling. Granted I did enjoy having the chores done but that left me feeling sad and lonely with little energy to do more than sleep.
Fast forward to today and I can tell you with a clarity I did not have before, it’s CRITICAL to stay connected to what you like and enjoy. Otherwise, you’ll fall off the path to Joy-ville, and end up in Funky Town.
After my 2008 Breakdown I learned about self-worth and realized how abusive I was to myself. Nothing will teach you that faster than acquiring an autoimmune disease and becoming disabled. I disconnected from any sense of what felt good and fun.
When I started learning about mind, body and soul wellness, well-being, I realized I was ill-equipped to live a life of love, happiness and peace. No one ever talked about not working too hard, getting enough sleep, and taking a timeout when you needed it. It happens so fast and easily without you noticing.
It would take some time, but I finally figured out what I enjoyed. Before the 2008 Breakdown I couldn’t get there. I didn’t understand how our bodies are affected by living in a society where “busy-ness” is valued more than “effectiveness” and how this way of thinking has left 93% of the population feeling stressed out, guilty, and/or exhausted.
How to Use Time to Create Happiness
The first thing I had to do is be mindfully present. We hear about this concept of being present and in the moment but how often do we actually do it. To help keep grounded in the present focus on what you are doing and nothing else. Notice your bodily sensations, the thoughts running through you mind, and how you are emotionally feeling while being where you are.
Then create time for play. Play is art, books, cooking, movies, music, comedy, traveling, flirting and daydreaming. We tend to dismiss play for adults. Usually play is perceived as unproductive, petty or at its worse, a guilty pleasure. We are made to believe once we’ve transitioned to adult status it’s time for us to get serious. As a result, between personal and professional aspirations and obligations we leave no time for play.
Last, journal every day. Write about what you did and the things you accomplished. Notice how you felt and celebrate your wins. Before you know it, you will be completely tuned into what you do that fulfills you and brings you joy.
Be committed to never lose touch with your inner child. The one that loves to laugh at silly jokes and sing as loud as she can while dancing wildly to her favorite song.
Put It To Work: This week practice being mindfully present, create time for play and journal about your days. At the end of the week read what you wrote out. Start a list of things you enjoy doing. Things that make the time fly and make you feel passionate and energized when you do them. Keep this list on you and when you get a minute go do one of the things on your Play-List. I keep my Play-List on my phone.
Play Time is one of the Happitunities I talk about often. Play time is meant to be purposeless, voluntary, fun, and pleasurable. Give yourself permission to enjoy the healing and connectivity playing brings to a heart-centered, joyous lifestyle.