Spare time is highly coveted by many adults who have regular jobs. We dream of vacations to beautiful places, or engaging in our favorite hobbies, or just relaxing and watching television is enough to satisfy some. For others, however, spare time brings up all the negative thoughts and feelings that they distract themselves from during the work week. These people can fill their time with other activities or perpetually helping others. There is nothing wrong with helping others or staying busy, in my mind. However, if you are doing it to avoid being with yourself, then there could be a problem.
When I propose time off to you, or when it comes up in your life, what springs to mind? What emotions to you notice in yourself? Do you welcome the idea warmly? Do you feel ill at ease, like “what to do?” Is it frightening? Do you find yourself filling that imaginary time with obligations reflexively? Just for kicks, you might want to think about your weekends and, if you don’t usually work on Saturday or Sunday, what you typically do during that time. How much of the time is spent shopping for groceries, doing household chores, watching children, or something that you “have” to do? How much time do you get to unwind and do something you actually want to do? Watching children is fun for many, and they love their kids, but even the most dedicated mothers and fathers want some time when they can hear themselves think, or when they can talk to people their own ages about adult things. How much of the time do you reserve for yourself? How much support do you get for “you” time? Is that something you’d like to change? Imagine what it would be like to carve out time for yourself automatically and guard it consistently. Does that make you feel relief? Envy? Fear? Does it strike you as “selfish”?
Ultimately, the time you spend with yourself can be gratifying, soul-saving and vitally important. If you have a fairly intense job with lots of stress or contact with the public, it is even more important to have time spent doing what you want with people you actually want to be around, or by yourself in comfort and ease. Now might be a good time to examine how you get along with you, and whether you want to improve that relationship.