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do you make time for down-time?

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We spend a lot of time talking about relaxing, longing for some chill time or dreaming of get-aways, but for a lot of creatives, small biz owners and the like it’s hard to commit to blocking out the time for it in their schedule. Here’s this weeks question:

Do you regularly make space for down time? Or do you just go go go until you’re totally spent? Somewhere in the middle?  Tell us how you sculpt some time for your heart, and your head to relax.

There is always one part of my day that is “mine,” where I do something that lets me exhale.  No paper and pen.  No phone.  No book.  Just me and my breath.  When and where this happens varies but it always happens.  Sometimes it’s as simple as five minutes sitting on my porch with my cat watching the birds in the elderberry tree.  Or it’s a 45-minute walk around my neighborhood taking in the daily changes of the seasons.  Or it’s sitting in my big chair with a cocktail and my thoughts.  Or it’s the extra-long shower using up all the hot water. And while these moments are generally spontaneous, every morning I wake up thinking, “I can’t wait for ‘my’ time.”

I used to feel guilty if I wasn’t “doing” something—checking emails, reading, planning dinner.  Just sitting there seemed like I was being wasteful. But I’ve found that being alone with yourself is energizing, a form of recharging.  Sitting still is a skill we’ve lost (or avoid) and coming back to that has had a significant impact on restoring my creativity, outlook, and my ability to manage stress better.

Barb Skoog is an artist, writer, and seeker of awe and wonder every single day. Her life motto: Strive for purpose, not perfection. You can find her at BarbSkoog.com

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In order to be gentle with myself and more compassionate, I practice.  Practice for me—writing, yoga, meditation, and dog—gives me a regularly scheduled, ongoing time and space to relax, to embody my innate wisdom and compassion.  I write every morning, which gives me space to contemplate, to both speak and be heard.  I practice and teach yoga, connecting directly to my body through presence and breath and movement, meeting myself right where I am.  I meditate, placing my attention on my breath, noticing when thoughts and emotions arise and allowing them to dissolve on their own, cultivating non-attachment.  I take long walks in beautiful, wild places with my dogs.  I give myself these things, can trust myself to show up, and I soften.

Jill Salahub writes about her efforts to keep her heart open on her blog, A Thousand Shades of Gray

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Supporting myself mentally and physically is a huge priority for me and I’ve woven my wellness routine into my days.  I definitely feel it if I start to deviate and as a working mama then my whole family suffers, so my hard won knowledge is that I have to be fairly strict with myself.  I eat gluten free and like to start my day with a green smoothie full of supplements.  I have a few things that make me feel especially nurtured each day; I always have essential oils diffusing in our living room or bedroom, usually a Purification blend. I dry brush and apply body oil before showering, it’s a little bit of an effort that makes my skin feel so much better especially in the winter.

A chunk of Solitude within my day is super invigorating for me, its when my best ideas come in my studio, and whenever I can, I love to sit in the sun for 10 minutes, these two things are like a reset button for me.  Acupuncture is my go-to when I’m really feeling stressed and I recently joined a wellness center so that I can add more detox Infrared Saunas into my weeks.  My soul feels best when I have long unscheduled hours with my family on the weekends, watching 80’s movies with my kids and going out for a quick dinner alone with my husband are priorities.  Something that I’m working on currently is making my bed first thing each morning, its a small thing that makes a big difference, in honoring my sacred space at home I feel the ripples in every area of my life.

Faith Evans-Sills is painter, wife, mother and teacher. She enjoys inspiring others to manifest their most heartfelt ideas through creating art.  Visit her at faithevanssills.com

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I try my best to set some time aside for me.  I listen to my body and when I need rest, I take time to nap or just shut everything off.  I take some quiet time first thing in the morning to have my coffee and ease into my day.  I have a split schedule so somedays can be hard to make time to relax but when my body and mind are exhausted, I try to grab a quick nap to replenish my energy.  Getting my head to relax is sometimes harder but I just breath and try to be in the present moment.  That usually brings me back to center.

Melissa Piccola is a Pilates Instructor who loves teaching and helping people get stronger and healthier.

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Remembering to rest has been one of my greatest challenges.  For a long time, I ran on enthusiasm and adrenalin.  I wanted to do everything—and now!  I hated missing out.  But one day I had an epiphany: I could also miss out by rushing through my life!  That’s when I gave myself permission to slow down.  It helped to remind myself how much I love the quiet moments too: staring out the window at the rain, taking 5 more minutes in my cozy bed, doodling, singing, and oh, the joy of a cup of tea and a book!  I found I could get enthusiastic about downtime too.

Creative living coach Jamie Ridler helps women find the courage and confidence to bring their creativity to life. jamieridlerstudios.ca

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I’m a huge fan of living an intentional life.  And for me, living intentionally includes work and play.  And everything in between—like friends and family and spirituality and exercise.  I have always been a strict scheduler.   At the beginning of every week, I note what work projects I will do and when.  I also schedule meditation, dance, yoga, coffee with friends, and yep, even popcorn and reading.  Coming from a Zen tradition, I’ve learned that scheduling ensures that all parts of me feel like they’re getting what they need.

Sherry helps people celebrate who they are and the people they love through customized tribute books and other one-of-a-kind imaginative and impactful gifts, life coaching, and inspirational books and articles. simplycelebrate.net

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Do you have a story to share about how you are making room for down time in your busy life? Please share your stories here in the comments.

Submit questions that you’d like to see the Mabel Community answer  in this Making a Living • Creating a Life column to:   info@mabelmag.com, subject line: Mabel Community Question

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