Isn't that how it should be, as the song goes? Where have the "lazy days" of summer gone? It seems summer days are busier than ever. Our clothes are different and the temperature is warmer, but as always we are swept up into the business of keeping busy. 

I've been more aware of this lately as my summer continues to fly by. Just by slowing down a bit I've been able to make more time for myself. I'm amazed by the profound effect of mindfully pausing to soak in the essence of summertime, even for a few minutes. I invite you to try this for yourself. Read on for a few tips in making more time and space to enjoy more time to "smell the roses" and life in general. 

Squeezing in down time is an art. It can be random or planned. It can be alone or with company. 
You really don't even need to go anywhere or do anything. Just hang out right where you find yourself, take a few deep breaths, and relax. Many of us are on a non-stop track of busy-ness so its harder for that to happen. More effort is needed. Down time needs to be scheduled. Here are a few ideas:
  • Sit by yourself and eat meals alone as much as you can for some quiet time while you nourish yourself
  • Go for brief a walk after meals, which helps digestion and relaxes you before continuing the day; outside is best if weather permits
  • When you get home from work and before you turn on the TV, music, or news radio, sit and relax quietly for 15-20 minutes to decompress. This helps your brain and nervous system "unplug" and sets the stage for a relaxing, easeful evening. Also try this after a long meeting to help collect yourself. 
  • Manage social obligations better: limit outings to twice a week and only make dates with people you really enjoy. Plan 2 weeks out so you spread out your engagements. This leaves space for last-minute or unexpected things to come up, which they always do. 
  • Practice saying no politely. Avoid accepting everything that comes your way. When in doubt buy yourself some time. If its not that important you might just forget about it.
Your free time is incredibly precious. Firstly, you are most deserving of it. Secondly, only the most enjoyable and useful people are worth giving it to. Anyone or anything else leeches time and energy. Conserve your free time and be most selective where you put your energies. 

After trying some of these tips, do you still feel there aren't enough hours in the day? One huge time-waster is television. Most of us lose several hours a week to watching shows if not more. Try to narrow down your  TV hours to shows you like the most. Watching TV before bed might sound relaxing but its actually very stimulating for the nervous system and then we try to go to sleep "buzzed." It doesn't make for the most restful sleep. Do something else on some nights: read, listen to music, go for a walk, take a class, meet a friend, play a game with your family, etc. 
 
I invite you to notice how busy you are; without judgment or criticism. Just take note - and then take action. The busier you are, the more you need to try to reclaim precious time even if its starting with just a few minutes here and there. Start somewhere. Can you carve a little bit of "me" time for yourself? Spend some time outdoors getting fresh air? In one week? In one day? Notice how that feels. This can be the beginning of an invaluable, life-long practice; one of self-care and self-love. You are worth it!  I'd love to hear what you've tried and enjoyed.

Many Blessings,
Heather