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When Will You Find a Moment for Yourself?

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” ~Etty Hillesum

For the second time in a week, the gas light comes on in my car. I’m busy, as usual, and so I push it a little farther, run just a few more errands. But I know that I do need to stop and refill before too long, or I will be left on the side of the road. I’ve been stranded before, and have learned my lesson.

Most of us know that when our cars try to tell us they need something, we had better respond or they won’t get us to our destinations.

We usually have some respect for red warning lights on the dashboard, and at least check out the problem. Unfortunately, it’s not always so easy to see our own signals.

Our bodies and minds don’t come with bright red warning lights, but they do give us signals when they’re running low.

Some of these signals are more obvious than others. When we’re hungry, we might be able to skip a meal occasionally, relying on snacks to get us by, but we all know that at some point, we need to eat real food.

We might be able to miss a few hours of sleep as well, and make it through the next day, but we can’t simply expect our bodies to keep performing without rest.

We may be able to survive in a grumpier and lesser performing fashion when we have less than optimal amounts of food and sleep, but we all know that we can’t skip those needs altogether.

But, what about the other needs that aren’t so obvious? Everyone has probably heard about the benefits of spending some time alone just to think and to gather their own thoughts.

If you work, go to school, have a roommate, spouse or children, this time probably isn’t easy to come by. It’s probably also more important than ever.

Lately, I’ve noticed just how important this need for solitude is to me. As a writer who works at home, as well as a homeschooling mother, I am blessed with lots of time with my family. What I’m lacking severely is time to myself.

Between errands, online college classes, a part-time job, volunteering, and meeting the needs of everyone else, I often end up neglecting my own need for a moment to myself to think, breathe, read, write, draw, paint, or do anything that helps me relax.

Ironically, I often find myself wasting ridiculous amounts of time stressing out about how little time I have.

Rather than using the snippets of time I do have to myself by relaxing—which is what I should be doing—I fester about how I never have enough of these moments or a long enough stretch of time, and blah, blah blah, the complaining ensues.

The very thing that I stress about is time—not having enough of it. But then, in a total self-defeating way, I blow the limited time I did have by stewing about how imperfect it is.

I know that a bit of solitude is a beautiful thing and it works wonders for me when I let it. When I neglect that need for time alone, I find myself feeling cranky and distracted, just as though I had skipped a meal.

I know I’m not the only one who forsakes solitude in an effort to keep up with the demands of life. Running on empty seems to be a modern epidemic. The solution is as simple as realizing that self time is just as real of a need as food or sleep, and honoring that need by allowing ourselves to relax in our brief moments of solitude.

Often we’ll have to consciously carve out those moments, and they may be brief, but the rewards will be worth it. A bit of beautiful solitude rejuvenates and gives the strength needed to go back out and tackle whatever the world has in store for us.

Where will you find a moment for yourself today—and what will do with it?

Photo by Casey David

Avatar of Pamela Jorrick

About Pamela Jorrick

Pamela Jorrick is a Jill of many trades. She is a writer, artist, mother, wife, traveler, community advocate and educational facilitator. She blogs at www.PamelaJorrick.blogspot.com.

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  • http://www.thewealthcreator.com/ Dwayne@TWC

    Great post, Pamela. I know exactly how you feel. I used to waste time complaining I didn’t have enough of it for myself. I think a lot of people these days forget to take that time due to the state of the country but I’m hoping more people will read this and remember how important it really is to just stop and BE for a second.

  • Nelsilya

    Nice post, I realized that I really need solitude, time to be still even just for five minutes every day.

  • Liz Molitor

    excellent post…thank you pamela!  even though i’ve learned this lesson (many times) before, like you i have a tendency to push it, even when i KNOW the gas light is on.  great reminders here!

  • Jodi

    Thank you for this amazing reminder about taking the time to slow down!

    I find myself on the phone with my husband who is gone on a military assignment, for hours crying about how I get no free time. My daughter is my full time job, especially when my husband is away! My husband has blessed me with 5 beautiful horses too but sadly, I don’t get to do anything except meet their basic needs because of my lack of time. The obsessing over time has to stop, it is such a waste of the ttimeout AM given, even if it is only for a few minutes.

  • Thislittlelark

    Always a blessing to have these reminders to slow down, and take care of ourselves. After all, you are the most important person to you in your life. Thank you for sharing your words!

  • Robert

    Hi Pamela,
    Thanks fob sharing that.
    Yesterday I felt myself getting edgy and stressed, so rather than push through I sat quietly for nearly 2 hours just de-fragging, and letting go.
    Later that day I was amazed at how focused I was at my job, but more importantly how much joy I got out of simply doing a job well!
    It’s so important to know yourself well enough to stop when you need to rest.

    Thanks,
    Robert

  • Simplymom317

    Wonderful to read – hard to envision – even harder to implement!  This past spring, after the untimely death of my 19-year-old son from an accidental drug overdose – I vowed to not take anything for granted.  I have repeated that statement many times before in my 55 years; however, his passing left such a hole in my heart that I really will never take ANYTHING for granted any more.  Thank you Pamela.

  • PamelaJorrick

    Thanks Dwayne. We do live in such a hectic world, but even if we can’t slow the whole world down, we can give ourselves the gift of a few minutes. I too hope more people will take the time to just be.

  • PamelaJorrick

    Thank you, and Yes- we are the most important person in our own lives- we should take of ourselves.

  • PamelaJorrick

    It’s so hard not to push it, isn’t it? There are so many things to do in a day, it’s hard not to just go till you drop. Those few minutes really do make a difference though- I hope you’ll take them today :-)

  • PamelaJorrick

    You’re welcome Jodi. Children give us so much, but they are also a whole lotta work- especially when doing the work by ourselves. I hope you’ll take nap times or anytime your child is busy to read a book, relax, or do whatever feeds your soul. Maybe go pet the horses. Anything but housework- that will always be there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lina-Dickinson/1477845590 Lina Dickinson

    This is a great post and I really needed to be reminded of it today.  Thank you!  xo Lina

  • http://twitter.com/AlannahRose Alannah Rose

    Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry for your loss.  I can’t even imagine what you’ve gone through.  Much love to you. <3

  • PamelaJorrick

    How wonderful to have 2 whole hours to yourself! Good for you for enjoying it, and noticing the positive results. 

  • PamelaJorrick

    I’m so very sorry. I know that there are no words that can ever heal the pain of losing your child. My oldest son died as a baby 16 years ago, and as you know, it changes life forever. I think we all tend to take things for granted in the busyness of life and when tragedy happens, it jolts us to the reality of how precious life and time together is. Prayers and love to you….

  • Angela

    I feel this way sometimes. How do you let others know you’d like to take time for yourself without making them feel like they did anything wrong or that you don’t want to hang out with them? Thanks!

  • Fiona

    Oh my goodness sooo true & something I needed to hear today!

    I’ve spent all day neglecting myself in pursuit of completing my to do list & do some extras! & now I’m exhausted… Not just tired… I feel totally drained!

    How can we learn to take those moments to ourselves??? I don’t know but this post certainly has made me take a serious look at some changes I need to make.

    Thanks for posting :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Fischer/725916507 Sarah Fischer

    Pamela :)

    Solitude’s importance was realized by me way back in day. Ok, maybe not too far back, I’m only 22. When I became old enough to stay home alone after school I learned how much I loved my time alone. It was a time when I was most innovating and being creative. This stayed with me as I’ve grown up. It’s amazing the things I’ve taught myself in my alone hours. For instance one day home alone I decided how much I liked wood floors. My mom came home to find her old carpet torn out and me redoing her hardwood floors. She was a little shocked but I have the greatest mom ever! Anything creative and different I’ve wanted to do, she says go for it!

    I often here others my age say “I’m bored” when they think they have nothing to do. I honestly don’t know what bored feels like. I really don’t. I’m always finding some various ways to entertain myself. I paint, I make, I cook, I bake, I create. I understand it’s important to have relationships with others but I think many develop those so well they’ve forgotten about their relationship with their self.

    Today is Tuesday and with my college schedule I’m off today cherishing this moment by myself ….:)!

    Love,
    Sarah

  • http://www.offthemat.co.uk/ Rebecca

    Thank you for this timely reminder. I was just thinking today that I still haven’t got started with the meditation practice I promised myself I’d try. There always seems to be something else to do, something else to think about.

    “The very thing that I stress about
    is time—not having enough of it. But then, in a total self-defeating
    way, I blow the limited time I did have by stewing about how imperfect
    it is.”

    I couldn’t agree more with that quote!

  • Chen

    i know the burnt out feeling, two babies under the age of 3 and a husband working permanent nightshift with only one night a week off is doing my head in.  ive not had a single moment to myself in a month now and im definitely running on empty, im a snappy nasty person at the moment as a result.  even typing this im feeding one baby while the toddler is demanding orange juice and the cat is yeowling to be fed…this is my time out :( (sorry lil pity party)

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch | be me. be natural.

    i always stress out about how little time i have. and create unnecessary stress, then waste time stressing!! silly me!!

    Noch Noch

  • PamelaJorrick

    The solo mama routine is soooooo draining, and makes those stolen moments even more important. When my kids needed a nap (and so did I) but they didn’t want to lay down, I would do tea parties with one of those relax and sleep cds playing in the background. I’d read a couple of GoodNight Moon type stories, and soon they’d fall asleep. A few minutes to read to myself or journal in silence wasn’t much, but it helped a ton. Best wishes to you!

  • PamelaJorrick

    What a blessing for you to have learned the beauty of solitude at such a young age! And very wise of you to grab it and enjoy it when you can :-)

  • PamelaJorrick

    It’s hard, and you have to be creative. I also have to remind myself constantly- even though I know better, I’ll waste time getting sidetracked and with busy work when I could better use a few minutes to just relax and think. Good luck to you!

  • PamelaJorrick

    That is a hard one, and I struggle with it too. As a writer, I need to be alone to think, and sometimes people take it the wrong way. I wish I had an easy answer. 
    Sometimes, the self time takes the form of stopping on the way home for a walk, or taking the dogs for a run or a yoga class. I can’t always get the bubble bath I crave, but I try to take what I can get. 
    I’d love to hear how other people deal with avoiding hurt feelings, and still getting a moment to themselves.

  • http://askdrolsen.com/ LakeForestChiro

    I truly enjoyed this post.  I agree with Nelsilya that even with a busy schedule a 5 minute of tranquility will make a big difference.  Any activity that we have only for ourselves will make us feel more at peace.  How often do you take this time?

  • Anonymous

    You have discovered what so many harried women fear the most, and you not only overcame it, you embraced it. Congratulations! I’ll get yelled at by a lot of women who are legitimately busy with their lives. But I’v been married, i’v been divorced, i’v been a single Mom. I’v worked full time jobs. I’v been exhausted. I took valuable time for myself and stayed sane because of it. What many women who complain the loudest always seemed to me to be, however, is afraid to be alone. Afraid not to be wanted, needed, demanded! The thought that the world would not fall off it’s axis if they bought instead of made cupcakes, scared them to death. You know how to be alone and that’s the best gift you can give yourself and anyone you have any relationship with during your entire life. Good Job!

  • http://www.stopstressandanxiety.com/ Mulkurnia

    Enjoyed reading this post.  Personally, I find that finding time for myself sometimes require a courageous act of leaving the busy thoughts behind and to allow myself to relax and do nothing. 

  • Louise

    Guess I’m not the only one frequently running on empty.. Telling everyone else they need time for themselves!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Diane-James/100003508995909 Diane James

    Enjoyed your thoughts on solitude and taking a moment for ourselves very much. I find my entire day goes better if I start off with at least a half hour of reading, writing, meditating, or just sitting and gathering my thoughts. I know that’s not always possible, but I’m able to do it more days than not, so I count that as a success. Regarding meditating, do you think Jewish meditation and Buddhist meditation have anything in common? R. E. Sherman writes in Buddha and Jesus: Could Solomon Be the Missing Link? that he believes Buddha may have been influenced by Solomon’s proverbs. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • Kristi Tanner

    I loved this inspiration Pamela!  I started seeing a therapist because I couldn’t figure out why I was always on the verge of a melt down – carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders gets exhausting.  I found the way that I truly relax and take “me” time is to do yoga.  For on WHOLE hour, I don’t worry about what my boss needs, what my husband needs, what my friends need, what tasks need to be completed, or what I need to do to better myself.  And yet, yoga is the best thing I can do for myself, now I can see it.  I leave feeling lighter, energized, positive, and thankful.  Thanks for this great post!

  • Ipmisra

    Exactly it true with all of us. We make a list of all work to be done but caring oneself is always last on our priority. if we simply learn to care ourselves as much as we care our new car, we may be doing justice to our body !