I used to hate it when my parents put me in “time out” as a kid. Sitting and doing nothing felt like torture when all I wanted to do was play. Now, I dream of sitting and doing nothing, even for just a few minutes.
This week, I had to force myself to take some time out. Working every day, in addition to other commitments and responsibilities, was really starting to wear me out. I was grumpy and stressed and frustrated. Mark and I had a rare day off together, so I made a plan. “Let’s go to the beach,” I said, determined to make it happen.
Even though there are some decent beaches nearby, I wanted to get away from our side of the state. We decided to drive three hours west and visit one of my favorite beach towns. As soon as I saw the lighthouse and the sparkling water, I felt a sense of peace that I hadn’t experienced in a while.
Mark and I made the most of our “daycation.” We visited the little shops in town (I won’t mention how many times we went to the candy store), ate a real dinner (as opposed to the snacks we usually eat for dinner while working), and splashed around in the cool Lake Michigan water. We put our phones away and focused on enjoying each other’s company rather than worrying about everything that needed to be done back home.
Driving 3 hours each way to spend the day at the beach might not make sense to many people, but for us, it was worth it. Instead of spending my day off catching up on grocery shopping and housework like I typically do, I was intentional about making this a day of self-care. I don’t like being unproductive, but I realized that a day of relaxation can sometimes be more productive than a day of hard work.
We don’t usually have the time to go to the beach for a day, but on our way home from our mini getaway, Mark and I talked about other ways to take time out for ourselves during the week. Going for walks downtown, taking time to write, and spending an hour reading a good book are some things that help me relax. Dishes, laundry and vacuuming will occasionally just have to wait.
How are you practicing self-care this week? If anyone has any advice on how to balance responsibilities and relaxation, feel free to let me know. For now, I’m taking things one day at a time and learning to recognize when I need to stop everything and give myself a time out.