I don’t know about you, but I can get very nervous if I’m on my own with time stretched out before me. Anyone else been there? A bit of scheduled time where you will have time to yourself and then that thought hits you…what am I going to do?!
I call it The Fear.
That feeling that creeps up upon you until you feel like you’re drowning in panic when you have no plans, and there is no-one else around.
When I was younger, I remember saying to people – “I don’t get bored”. When challenged on this, I reassured them – “seriously, you could leave me on a chair for 5 hours on my own and I would not get bored”.
I wonder now what it was that so assured in my younger self that I would be totally happy with no-one but myself. But more than that. Totally happy with nothing but my thoughts.
Now the idea of being alone with nothing to do and no-one to talk to terrifies me.
But how often do we read or see articles about how to make the most of your limited time? How to multitask in life to achieve everything? How often do we feel strung out and need nothing more than a bit of rest time?
But if that time comes unexpectedly, you get The Fear. So here are a couple of relaxing – or at least therapeutic – activities to make the most of the ‘me’ time without getting The Fear:
- Paint your nails – a relaxing, absorbing pastime that leaves you feeling and looking better. I dream of having perfectly manicured nails, and I always used to, but now I feel like I don’t have time. Well move aside vegetating on the sofa, these nails need doing! If nails aren’t your thing – just take a bath, or have some sort of pamper. You’re worth it!
[Note: do not do what I do. Paint nails when you have to be somewhere 30 minutes later…that just ends in tears / smudged nails]
- Organise – we all have that one drawer (entire room of the house) that needs sorting. One of those, – four hours later, sat in a pile of papers – kinda sort-outs. But the thought of doing it can be daunting, and it’s one of those things that once you scratch the surface, you’re in it for the long-haul. However, set yourself this kind of challenge when you have time on your hands and you’ll not only be doing something productive but, more often than not, you’ll get engrossed in the task plus stumble across all those nik naks you forgot about.
- Photographs – when I was younger I couldn’t wait to finish the film in my camera to go to the chemists (seriously, I was only born in the mid 80s but I sound so old!) to get it developed. Now those days have gone but I think its both a good and a bad thing. You upload your pictures off your SD card and onto your computer or external hard drive – all safe and sound but do you ever look at them?
Ever have those afternoons as a child where you stumble across faded pictures of your parents on the beach or old men who turn out to be your dad’s great uncle – those opportunities will pass us by if we don’t have hard copies of our pictures.
How about sort your photos into folders online, by date, and then upload onto a photo printing site like photobox and get them posted to you? You can pick up some cheap photo albums and spend a few free afternoons or evenings reminiscing whilst putting together some great albums of great times.
- Indulge – this may differ for people, but I am the type of person who loves getting new toiletries and make-up, but confession time. I’m too scared to use them. Anything that is particularly nice or expensive I squirrel away as I want to keep it good. But why? Its such a waste. I used to do the same with new clothes – didn’t want to take the tag off them. How ridiculous. So I’d be wearing clothes I didn’t really like, cheap or old make-up and standard chemist-bought toiletries, all to ‘keep it good’! So indulge – take the cellophane wrapper off that make-up, pour yourself a bath and use that beautiful bath oil, light those expensive candles. Indulge.
- Read a book – now I love reading, but when do you get the chance? Often we’ll feel guilty about sitting doing nothing but reading but do it! Reading exercises our mind and can be a really relaxing pastime.
- Clean. Now a lot of you will be groaning at this, but have you ever gutted your house and then sat there feeling amazing? I love that feeling but I hate cleaning. I know this is about ‘me’ time, but some of the ‘me’ time is to actually put your time to good use. Taking care of your home, which is more often than not your biggest expense in your life, is worth the time and trust me – you’ll feel brilliant afterwards.
- Reconnect – when you’re so busy and have work, life, family and financial commitments it can be easy to let those carefully nurtured friendships slip away. Use your ‘me’ time productively and reconnect with those people. Go through your phone or social media contacts list and send messages or call those that you haven’t spoken to in a while but want to stay a part of your life. I did this recently and contacted, and eventually met up with, three different people from my life who I don’t have mutual friends with and otherwise would never see. Its great and gives you new perspectives and new topics of conversation. So try it, just contact three people and see what rewards it brings.