Take Five!

Honestly, I think I live quite a self-indulgent life. Being single and having no children, I have a few advantages over some of my friends. (And they have advantages over me….but I’ll stick to my own plate here.) I control much of my time and attention and resources. I don’t have to ask permission to do things, or coordinate with the schedules of others, or find sitters for kids or animals. Like I said… there are advantages to being who I am.

For the month of August one of my friends challenged me to do something for myself every day. I had to share what I did with our little online support group. A simple challenge. I was definitely game. I thought it would be easy….and I actually thought I was already doing a lot of things for myself, so in a way it would just be an exercise in thankfulness.
I have to make a confession here. I have been feeling discontent in several areas of my life lately. Most of us go through those times here and again….and I have felt unhappy, and restless. I have prayed about it a lot. I have talked about bits of it with friends and family, but as a Myers Briggs (personality test) “thinker” (as opposed to “feeler”), I tend to have to first notice the emotions, then figure out why I am feeling that way, then decide how I should be feeling, and then get my mind going in that direction. Often I have difficulty talking about things before I think them all the way through because my mind heads in so many different directions. You would call it rambling when I actually do it. The patient friends who do listen through as I process this stuff (and not many are that patient!) usually don’t get a lot of words in the conversation….and are often taken on a journey that heads over the river, down the mountain, and through the woods before it reaches equilibrium. (Sort of like this paragraph.) So anyway, the point is I have been discontent, figuring it out, and caught up in all of these thoughts floating around my brain.
Now back to this little exercise. Doing one thing for me a day. I have realized it’s harder than it seems. Yesterday I found myself trying to convince the ladies in my group that eating frozen grapes was a worthy accomplishment for indulging myself for the day. These ladies don’t judge and let me slide by with that. (I threw in a plank for good measure, but really….frozen grapes are a nice little gift to give yourself.) Today I started work early, didn’t even eat anything until I had a bowl of cereal at about 1:30. I probably would have just kept working most of the night (and was going to have to really pull something out of my creative mind to use for my “me time”), if a friend hadn’t messaged me and invited me to dinner. It was perfect….I stepped away from the computer, threw on clothes (yes, at 5:30 I still had not gotten dressed for the day….don’t judge me), and had dinner with a friend who listened, encouraged, and refreshed me. And my eyes, which had been watering from staring at the computer screen too much, got a rest. Yes, I came back home and worked some more, but that last hour was very productive and when I closed down that work computer I actually felt good.
Just a few days into this month I have already realized something. I don’t consciously and consistently make sure I am doing something that refreshes my soul every day. I like to think I am a bit of a free spirit, but those who know me well know I have a mind that doesn’t shut down well. A guy that used to do my nails was forever tapping my hand and giving me “that” look that said “Relax!!!!”  (I think he got tired of saying the words and that was the most polite hand gesture he could come up with.) Before him I would have said I was always relaxed. I now acknowledge (after the message has been delivered by legions) that it is difficult for me….though I can go through the motions really well!
My challenge to you is to join me for the rest of the month and spend Five Minutes For Me. Do something for yourself for at least five minutes a day. It may be a walk around the block, closing your eyes and just breathing, or spending five minutes in focused conversation with a loved one. Try to change it up and not do the same thing every day. I think some of you are going to find what I did….you spend less time doing it than you think you do. We live in a busy world….let’s not be too busy to live well. Oh…and five minutes is an absolute minimum. Some of you need to do more….even to the extreme of a “Me Day” or planning a “Me Vacation”.  And this is your time….to do something to make you smile for you.
The result for me has been this. In a super-crazy demanding month, I am learning that focusing on me  even for a few minutes a day has changed my mindset. The discontent is fading. I’m feeling a bit more involved in life. I’m praying less frantically, more soulfully, and I am more thankful for my lot in life. And I am very grateful for friends that challenge me, and those that refresh my soul. Take five….and let me know how you do!
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