Modern life is characterised by this persistent sense that if our schedules aren’t packed to the rafters, we aren’t doing enough. Implicit in this is the assumption that we aren’t enough. That by not operating at 100% capacity 100% of the time, we are somehow less than.
The result is that we’re all just so damn busy. Between work, exercising daily, all of the essential daily life tasks from cleaning to cooking to brushing our teeth, to maintaining an active social life, to everything else we ‘should’ be doing.
Stepping back from all of those responsibilities just to take the time to focus on just one thing or one person or even yourself, feels like we are falling behind. Behind what or whom, no one really knows.
Daniel Levitin says in The Organized Mind “the information age has off-loaded a great deal of the work previously done by people we could call information specialists onto all of the rest of us. We are doing the jobs of ten different people while still trying to keep up with our lives, our children and parents, our friends, our careers, our hobbies, and our favourite TV shows. It’s no wonder that sometimes one memory gets confounded with another, leading us to show up in the right place but on the wrong day, or to forget something as simple as where we last put our glasses or the remote.”
When your good friend goes through a difficult break up, you take the time to be there with them, regardless of what’s happening in your life. Why can’t we apply the same principles to our own self care?
This week, schedule time for yourself. Electronics free time, meeting free time, time with those you love. We have to actively recreate the boundaries we have inadvertently given away.
“The popular assumption is that no skills are involved in enjoying free time, and that anybody can do it. Yet the evidence suggests the opposite: free time is more difficult to enjoy than work.”
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life