Enjoyment. Pleasure. Fun. Happiness. Contentment. Sometimes it’s very easy to forget what they’re like. A busy, modern life as an adult sometimes makes us think they don’t exist, or that we don’t deserve them or have time for them. Well, that thinking is wrong. That voice is lying to you. These things DO exist, and we all deserve to rediscover them.
We can be very hard on ourselves, can’t we? We can feel battered by the demands we put on ourselves to achieve and to do. We can feel restricted by other people and their opinions, expectations and beliefs. That feeling that everything we do with our spare time must have a purpose is dominant. It feels like it’s not enough just to be.
But the things that seem to have little or no purpose are actually the most important things of all. And interestingly, when you pursue them more and more, they actually end up becoming a purpose and evolving into something much more.
1. WE NEED TO GIVE OUR BRAINS A REST
The times when we least feel like doing something for ourselves are the times when we most need to do exactly that. We need time out. We need to give our brains a rest.
Our poor heads feel full to bursting with all the things we have to think about. There are things we need to do. Things we should do. Things we ought to do. Today we’re telling our negative inner voice to that we’re not going to be held down for any longer, because can do what we WANT to do.
Not ‘need’ to. Not ‘should’. Not ‘ought to’. Those are words that stress us all out. Nothing saps the joy out of our days like the things we ‘ought’ to do.
2. IT MAKES YOU SMILE
Take a moment to think about something that makes you smile – something you would look forward to doing. Something you might consider trivial, but you could get lost in it and forget about the world for a while.
It could be something you’d do at home. It could be watching a film or a favourite TV show – maybe something you haven’t watched for a while. It could be a game or a puzzle. It could be something creative, like painting, sewing, baking – or playing a musical instrument or singing like me, or even just listening to music or creating a sketch. It could be something as simple as running a bath.
It could involve being outdoors – maybe you enjoy wildlife, going for a walk or a bike ride, or just sitting watching the world go by.
3. YOU'RE WINNING
What would happen if you gave yourself permission to enjoy a pointless activity for a short time? Maybe it’s time to find out.
We know one thing that would happen, though. Every moment you spend enjoying something, every second you spend looking after yourself, you’re winning. You’re poking stress, negativity and exhaustion in the eye. You’re forcing those things into submission. You’re turning the tables.
4. IT ALLOWS SOME ‘ME TIME’
But when are you going to fit in this spot of enjoyment? It has to be something that works for you. Your habitual and automatic response to this is that there is no time. Don’t listen. Look in your diary, or at your calendar, and block out some time for yourself. Do you have a free lunch time? Half an hour before bed? Could the cleaning wait another day?
Having some ‘me time’ on the calendar gives you something to look forward to – another thing you won’t like to begin with. Give yourself permission to step off the treadmill. Give yourself a chance to enjoy doing something just for the sake of it.