When to use: When you’re feeling as if everyone else has a claim on your time.
Supplies: The outdoors, a pen or pencil and paper.
- Take a 10 minute walk – preferably outside. Leave your phone and music behind. The purpose for this quick walk is to be alone with your thoughts.
- Ask yourself: What would I want to do if I had an entire day to myself?
- Any thought is valid – you’re brainstorming as you move, so give yourself permission to entertain ideas that might feel crazy or impossible.
- After 10 minutes (or longer, if you’ve found the time), note the ideas which excited you most. You can save this list to your smartphone, too.
- Bonus: make a date with yourself to put some of your ideas into action. One day to yourself every three months will have transformative and restorative impact.
Why it works:
- “Take a hike!” is compassionate advice: going outside is proven to have many benefits, including increasing your creativity, focus and connection to others.
- Walking changes our brain chemistry, and helps us each do our best thinking.
- “Articulation is the foundation“: Clarifying what you want, and being able to verbalize your intentions is the foundation for setting yourself up for success. When unexpected free day finds it’s way on to your calendar, you now are better positioned to make the most of it.
Inspiration: I started thinking about how I would spend a free day to myself after another working mom asked the same question in a discussion group. Over the summer, she was going to have a furlough day each week, and wanted to know what everyone would do with it. The answers ranged from cleaning the house alone to going to a spa to reading at the beach to visiting friends. There’s no right answer, just an answer that’s right for you.
Then I remember that Julia Cameron introduced the concept of an artist’s date in her seminal work The Artist’s Way. One full day as a commitment to your own creative priorities. An artist’s date need not be artistic, just inspiring and restorative. If you’re able to give yourself a day, and are willing to share how you spent it, let me know!