One of my favorite moments with a client happened about a week after we finished mapping out her ideal work week and getting her systems in place. I had been coaching her for a couple of weeks about her general sense of productivity, and she was excited to start a new week with her system in Asana and these new strategies in place. She had only been working with these new resources for a couple of days when she reached out to me via Facebook messenger. It was close to 12:00pm, and she simply said, “Hey! I’m done working for the day already. What do I do now?”
After taking a moment to laugh and celebrate together, I realized this was another legitimate hurdle that we had to work through for her! She had been so busy for so long that she didn’t know what to do with the space in her schedule that we had created. There was all of this breathing room just stretching out in front of her… and she was feeling a little lost!
What would you do if you suddenly had “extra time” to fill? The concept of creating some breathing room in your life is obviously something I’m very passionate about, but I recognize how foreign this can feel to many who have been living in a hustle culture mindset for so long. I’m also not one to promote going out and spending lots of money to splurge on yourself every time you have a little extra time in your day! This breathing room you’ve created is a great space to allow for self-care, but that doesn’t have to look like spa days or massages.
In case you find yourself in a similar situation once you’ve created some breathing room in your week, here are a few ideas for self-care without spending money to get you started:
- Answer this simple question: What do you want to do? This extra time wasn’t created so you could fill it with more stuff that makes you tired or miserable. How would you like to spend your time? Is there a hobby you’ve been missing? A new hobby you’d like to try?
- Read a book. If you have a list of books you’ve been keeping “for when you have time,” now is that time! I would also like to point out that listening to the audiobook 100% counts here if that is your jam. If you’re not sure what to read next, just ask around – I promise you’ll find plenty of people with recommendations!
- Journal/write. It could be the next great collection of poetry the world has been waiting for, or it could just be a rambling record of your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Getting words out onto paper can be so therapeutic! Whether you finally bust out one of those pretty journals or open up a Google Doc, writing is so good for the soul. If you need some help getting started, I love this book by Allison Fallon.
- Get outside! I’ve never been accused of being an “outdoorsy” girl, but I do know that fresh air, sunshine, & movement of any kind always make me feel better. Sometimes this looks like a walk around the circle we live on, and sometimes it’s just a few minutes on our front porch swing. Hike a mountain, walk the dog, or lay in your yard. There are no rules here.
- Sit in the silence or take a nap. We are constantly filling our minds with information, and I guarantee your brain needs a break! Pay attention to your breath or curl up in bed with a cozy blanket. Even if it’s just for 10-minutes, you will feel SO much better when it’s over.
- Do something for your future self! Finish this sentence: I always feel better when I _____. This could look like meal planning, sorting through files or mail, cleaning out a drawer or closet, or filling in your planner for the upcoming week. What could you do now that will ease your mind and bring that sense of peace?
- Take a hot second to bring awareness to your current state and reflect. Are your basic needs being met? How are you? What could be better, and how can you make that happen? Taking care of your most basic needs is not selfish, and you will show up as a better version of yourself when you’ve addressed these questions honestly.
Which one of these resonates the most with you? If you had to pick just one, where would you start?
What would you add to the list? We’re all about supporting each other and community here, so please drop any other suggestions in the comments!