In our return to work this week, I have been searching out moments of peace - 5, 10, 30 minutes where I am doing something just for me. Yes, I do have the evenings after the boys go to bed to watch tv or craft, but I am also often doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, or grading papers at the same time. I get caught up in those other things, and less-than-satisfying time hogs (hello, The Bachelor) and the time doesn't truly feel restful. But allowing myself uninterrupted time to do something I just want to do hasn't been a part of my days.
I've decided this needs to change. If I give myself permission to just do the things that are calling my heart, even if for only a few minutes, then I am forced to take note and appreciate the time.
Tonight the boys had swimming lessons and it wasn't my night to take them. Usually, I would use this free hour to rush around, cleaning up dinner, vacuuming, making lunches, folding laundry, and crashing in front of the computer. I decided that tonight would be different. I would view the hour as a gift to myself - what did I want? And the answer tonight was simply to curl up on the couch and read. I have a book I'm enjoying, and a few more at the ready, but with only the 15 minutes or so I get in before I fall asleep at night, I am not making quick progress. So, after 10 minutes of cleaning the kitchen and starting laundry (I set the timer so I wouldn't get carried away), I made my way to the couch. And I read until the boys got home.
I felt like I'd been on vacation. I am more rested and relaxed than after 2 hours of TV, and I still have plenty of time to get lunches made and a couple other chores done before bed. But that time? Heavenly. So worth it.
Now, I don't have that kind of time every day. But yesterday it was a 10 minute walk at lunch to a cute card store just to browse for fun notecards. I returned to work rejuvenated. Monday was tougher - a busy day that almost escaped. But my five minutes of peace came in making a new running playlist. Totally not the productivity the day was calling for, but a few minutes to just do what I wanted.
I'm getting past the idea that "me-time" has to be away, big, and planned weeks in advance. It can come every day as long as I intentionally tell myself that I am worth it. We all are.