Schedule Time to Relax?

By Melissa Tosetti

According to Facebook, the majority of my community is currently stressed out, exhausted or sick – and, as I type this, it’s only December 8th.

During any given week, our calendars are packed with errands and must-dos on top of which we try to squeeze in our want-to-dos. In the last six weeks of the year we have to use a virtual crowbar to try to fit in all those additional holiday-related tasks and engagements on top of our usual chaos. No wonder we’re such a mess!

One of the key habits for Savvy Living is to schedule at least one night a week, preferably two, to stay home and relax. These down time evenings are for setting up your slow cooker before you leave for work in the morning, so when you walk in the door that evening, you’re greeted by the smell of dinner ready to be enjoyed. Then, you can focus on spending the rest of the night reading, watching TV, partaking in a hobby, playing board games, whatever it is you do to unwind.

The reason down time is so key, especially this time of the year, is because it gives your body a chance to recover from:

• Longer days of trying to get everything done.
• Going from heated rooms out into the cold and back in again.
• Imbibing more heavily in delicious, but rich holiday food and alcohol.

One of the triggers for overspending is stress. Whether we overspend to relieve stress or overspend as an outcome of being too busy. By scheduling down time you give yourself an opportunity to reduce your stress and by slowing down, you’re able to make better spending decisions.

Right now, you may be thinking I’m out of my mind for suggesting taking away more of your time, while writing about how you don’t have enough of it. But what ends up happening when you limit a resource? You get very picky about how you use it. For many of us, busy-ness has become such a habit that we don’t pause to make conscious decisions about how we want to spend our time or what we want to take on. We just do it.

By giving ourselves that time to disengage, it also gives us some much needed distance from the frenetic pace of our lives. This creates an opportunity to look at it from a different perspective. Not to get all Zen on you, but think about it like this: If you’re caught in a fast moving river you get bashed from one rock to the next and you can’t see where you’re going. It’s challenging to even know where you should be going. But, if you can climb up onto one of those rocks to rest and rejuvenate, you also give yourself a chance to see what’s coming up and potentially plan the next leg of the journey for a more pleasant trip.

If it’s too late to implement this tactic in 2018, go ahead and take a few minutes, right now, to block time out on your calendar starting in the new year.

This is a habit I’ve been implementing for the past three years – decompressing at home on Tuesday and Thursday nights and it’s not an exaggeration when I say it’s been life changing!