As we continue to invest in making time for ourselves, let’s now focus on being intentional with those precious moments. In my last post, I offered some tips on how create those ME TIME moments in the morning. How has it been going for you so far? I still find it a bit hard to be consistent – particularly in the “Going to Bed Early” sense. See, the thing is, with everyone else going to bed early, I found the house to be beautifully quiet and at 9:30pm, it’s so hard not to get caught up in something that could last well into the evening. I learned that I definitely had to set some limitations on my evening ME TIME so I could get enough sleep to enjoy my morning ME TIME.
There was something that I found interesting in comparing the two quiet moment, however. I seemed to spend my time in the mornings on waking my body and mind up with a slow and positive approach. In the evenings, my focus shifted on soothing my mind, particularly after a long day. Both moments are quiet, and with everyone sleeping, I don’t think choosing something like high intensity aerobics, or creating a full on worship experience in the house, complete with off-key singing, would be such a great idea. (Even though, on some days, I think that would really help!) So what I found myself doing in the evening was focusing more on my mind. In an effort to kick my screen-time addiction, I really try not to get into anything visual on my phone in the evenings, and instead, I’ve found myself quieting my mind in the following ways. (Remember to set a timer so that you can get to bed on time!)
I spend the early portion of the evening doing a final clean up. Most of the time, I’m washing the dishes that didn’t fit in the dishwasher, wiping down counters, and doing a quick straightening up in our living space. For me, I often have a need for audio stimulation when I’m getting some work done. So sometimes I’ll turn on my
wireless earbuds and play some quiet music to start settling my mind. (I love listening to the Living Loved – Feed Your Mind playlist, which you can get here.) And as I put the final touches on my cleaning duties, my mind transitions seamlessly into another quiet activity, and I slip right into the heart of my ME TIME.
I’ll admit it. Some days, I’m just not quite ready to get into the quiet. Sometimes, my mind needs to be fed with the words of others. And so, I podcast. If you haven’t checked it out already, let me tell you that podcasts are AMAZING! Yes, I’m one of those kids that was like “Turn the channel!” whenever someone listened to a spoken word station on the radio. But, you guys! Technology is awesome! We have choices!!! Yeah, you could choose to listen to some monotonous, boring dude talk about how to grow corn, but really, like tv shows, there are a wide variety of topics and personalities to choose from. Some of my favorites include:
- The Popcast – An amusing rundown of pop culture events, with Knox and Jamie. They couldn’t be more different, but their chemistry is awesome. If you miss being up to date with pop culture, because, well….kids, The Popcast is all the E! and People magazine you need. (Honestly, it took me a little while to get used to Jamie Golden’s energy, but I’m glad I stuck it out. She’s hilarious.)
- The Lazy Genius – A mom just like you and me with some very applicable life hacks. Her motto is: Be a genius about the things that matter, and lazy about the things that don’t. Give her a listen. It’s hard not to love her.
- LeadStories Podcast – Two amazing speakers, Jo and Steph, team up to give this Christian-based program on how to best lead your people, whether it’d be in the church, in your community, in your workplace, or in your family.
- The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey – Broadcasting from Austin, Texas, Jamie hosts a variety of guests on her show to talk about books, life, and it feels like you’re right there with them, getting to know people from all walks of life.
- That Sounds Fun Podcast – Nashville based, Annie F. Downs (one of my fave authors) brings in a variety of guests to talk about all things fun. Guys. Seriously. Her laugh in infectious, and her love for people is inspiring.
- The Next Right Thing – Emily P. Freeman, one of my writing mentors (except she doesn’t know it), just recently started this podcast. It’s lovely and soothing, and just right for someone unsure of just how to take that next step in whatever they’re doing in life. We are faced with decisions everyday. Some are harder than others. Emily’s podcast helps us work through those decisions to help us live our best lives.
I could totally go on about the twenty or so other podcasts I love listening to. Sermons are also great. You can pretty much find the audio version of most sermons on a podcast channel. Some even include video. (And I have to watch the video when listening to Elevation Church’s Steven Furtick. That guy needs to be seen!) I urge you to take the time to explore all that that cute little podcast app has to offer.
Getting into a book – and I’m talking a IRL, hands on book, actually made out of paper! – is always a great way to wind down and quiet your mind. There’s something about getting into the pages of another world and using our own creative juices to put our own spin on what these words would look like. Or maybe you’re the type of person that loves inspirational books to put your soul at ease. Perhaps poetry, or picture books are your cup of tea. I remember when I was just out of high school and I had read somewhere that it was literally impossible for a person to read every single book that had been published. So you can imagine that our reading possibilities are endless. There is a book out there for you! So when you take your kids to the library, don’t forget to pick up a book for yourself!
But, maybe you’re NOT a book person….gasp!!! It’s okay, I forgive you. (Insert wink and hug emoji here.) But really, I hear you. I’m not always eager to sit down with a book. On those nights, I pick up a word puzzle book. Yes, nerdy, I know. (Nerd, but not super smart – I visit the answer pages often for hints.) Word searches are my favorites, but I’ve been having a go at all of the other (harder!) types of word puzzles. And before I lose all of you non-nerds out there, WAIT! Because I offer you: The Kinesthetic Puzzles. The jigsaw puzzle, the Rubik’s cube, and other hand held puzzle games. Now I warn you, if you’re feeling the slightest bit competitive, or know you need to complete something by the end of the night, this might not be relaxing for you. In fact, it may cause more stress, because some of these puzzles take time, and in my case, LOTS OF TIME! to complete. If you’re working on your patience, or have it set in your mind and on your heart that you will be using this time as a way to be kind to yourself, then have at it. Puzzles are fun!
Although this is last on my list of suggestions, I firmly believe that this is something that should be included in every session of ME TIME. Because let’s face it, there is someone always there – with us – in our time. Someone who may be whispering things on our heart as we reflect. Someone who may be soothing our souls after a rough day. Someone who wants this time for YOU. And someone who longs to hear from you in return. For those of you who may be just starting your relationship with God, or maybe you don’t really have one, it’s okay. I know this might sound a little weird. But at the end of the day, try thinking of all the things that went well, and maybe didn’t go so well. Your prayer doesn’t have to follow a script. Your prayer doesn’t need to be on your knees. Your prayer doesn’t even need to be a wish or request for something. It can be as simple as “Thank you for this day.” Or it could be several minutes long, with praise reports and prayer requests. But as much as it is important to spend time with you, it is important to spend time with Him. Follow the lead of your heart. If you have gratitude, express your gratitude. If you have questions, ask your questions. If you’re mad about something, get it out and leave it at His feet before the night is through. The more time you spend in this moment, the clearer things will start to become in due time.
And if the words don’t seem to come, don’t worry. He already knows. Take a deep breath and let it all go. Leave today behind. Tomorrow morning begins fresh and anew. Rest up, so you can get the best of it, and be the best of YOU.
Live loved, my friends. Because you are loved so very much.
This post is part of a series focusing on Making Time for YOU: Why Me Time Matters. Please check out my other posts to help you find ways to create and get the best out of those special moments to take care of you!