My life is sort of built around simply being available- as a therapist, as a caregiver, as a medical experiment…. As a result, I have a lot of downtime. This provokes a lot of envy from my friends and acquaintances, but I have to say, it’s not all that. I spend a lot of time trying to keep occupied, but there are only so many times I can vacuum the living room and clean the toilets. I’m bound to stay in the house or very nearby because of my caregiving responsibilities, and that makes my life very challenging some days. For a person very used to being active, even hyperactive, who enjoyed travel and constant stimulus, it’s quite a change.
The funny thing about it all is that the adjustment that seems to help most is taking time to be less active.
I am often at my best when I’m busy- my synapses fire more efficiently, I have a certain endorphin-related good feeling about life and myself in general when I’m doing things I find worthwhile and fun. I can find the reverse happening when I’m not finding what I’m doing worthwhile or efficient or fun, which, in my current situation can happen fairly often. Because of some of the little people in my life, I’ve become aware of this great thing parents use for their kids called a “time out”. That’s where the kid gets to spend time thinking about his/her acting out behavior and gives the offending minor (and the parent) time to cool off. Although never having experienced the benefits of such a system in my own childhood, I’m a fan. Seems a much better way to live than frustrating corporal punishment that creates frustrations and resentments (on both sides) that, while ensuring my work as a therapist for years to come, seems a bit excessive.
Anyway, my time out works in the same way.
When I feel overwhelmed or cranky or whiny or frustrated, I go to my time out place, and I just sit, and breathe, and think about three great things in my life right now. It usually only takes a few minutes, and I feel more focused and clear and grateful and renewed.
Whoever popularized this whole time out concept for kids might make a fortune marketing it for adults….
Or, maybe, that’s me….