Question from a reader: “Where do you draw the line between self-care and over indulgence? For example, watching Netflix, how do I know the difference between ‘this feels good’ and ‘I just wasted 5 hours.'”
Such a great question!
This really comes down to knowing yourself (or getting to know yourself – fun!).
I’m going to use this post to talk about what you can do with your downtime so that it 1) feels like self-care and 2) you can use it to refuel you vs. feel like you’ve wasted time.
Before we dive in… I want to share that usually too much of anything doesn’t feel good. Overall, paying attention to finding a balance in anything is a great idea.
For example, I love organizing but if I spent all of my downtime organizing it would no longer be fun. It would be a chore.
I also love Netflix, but if I spent all of my downtime watching Netflix it wouldn’t feel relaxing anymore. It would feel like lost time.
- How much downtime do you generally like to have?
- When do you need downtime most?
- What do you enjoy? Of these things, which do you wish you had more time for?
I’ll use myself as an example…
When I’ve had a busy week with loads of plans and I see in my schedule that I have free time, I get so excited. I’ll block that time out for myself.
Once that time is here I’ll feel through what would actually be fulfilling in that moment. What do I want to do?
Instead of automatically doing something, I’ll be intentional with asking myself what I would like to do.
I have a short list of what I love to do with alone time (I’ve learned these things through experience).
- Do I want to make dinner for myself, or pick something up to bring back home?
- What am I in the mood to do with this free time? What would be fun? What would feel good?
- Would I like to lay down and watch a show? How much TV would feel relaxing and rewarding?
- Is there anything else I’d like to do?
If it helps… think through to the end: “If I were to lay here for 3 hours and watch Grace and Frankie (love this show) how would I feel after those 3 hours?” Is this what I would like to do?
Then notice what comes up for you and just take it from there.
There’s no right or wrong answer or experience.
Do a little review of “How did that actually feel?” afterward.
No judgement. Just noticing.
After a while you’ll feel like you know yourself and your likes well, if you don’t already.
What do you enjoy?
A variety of things I like to do (and of course, these are personal to me – yours can be very different or the same) with my solo-downtime:
- Reflect: Right now as 2018 is coming to a close I find that I want to use my downtime reflecting on the past year. How did it go? What did I love about the past year? What would I want to repeat next year? What would I change? I’ll go through finances, past goals, old blog posts, old journal entries, etc… This is so fun for me!
- Relax: I’ll take a shower, get into my PJ’s, turn on a Netflix show, grab a cup of tea, a fuzzy blanket and just rest + relax. I’ll let my brain totally turn off.
- Organize: I’ve always loved to organize since I was a kid. There’s something so physical and rewarding about organizing to me. I love to map out plans on paper, I love to rearrange my office, I love to go through my closet and get rid of things I no longer wear, etc… If I want to feel organized and accomplished, I might choose to do this. I often am in a place of feeling inspired when I organize.
- Play: When I want to play I’ll pour a glass of wine, I might look on Pinterest, plan outfits, etc. On Black Friday I also bought my favorite childhood computer game, The Sim’s. It’s all of my favorite things in one: decorating, taking care of a family, playing house, etc. This is something that allows me to check out 100% and have fun on my own – I love it.
- Connect: Another thing I might choose to do with alone time is FaceTime a friend who lives far away or call my family to check in. I also might scroll Instagram for a while. Sometimes Instagram feels fulfilling, and other times it doesn’t. Again, you have to check-in and guess what would feel best.
- Move: I really enjoy taking long walks on my own. Sometimes with music or an audiobook, other times just with total silence. I can usually tell what I’m in the mood for.
- Dream: Ah, this is a fun one that I’m enjoying right now! I love to dream about future plans. Things that excite me. Things that I’m looking forward to. Here, I might create a vision board, collect photos for inspiration, etc… I love to think about the future and what I want it to look like and find ways to take baby steps toward those dreams.
What do you enjoy doing in your downtime? I’d encourage you to pull out the notes app in your phone, or a journal and start jotting things down and brainstorming. Get it out on paper. See it for yourself so you can be intentional with your downtime.
I hope this post encourages you to just think about what you want and give yourself permission to do those things, no matter what they are.
I hope you feel inspired to get to know yourself and your likes a bit more so that you can spend your downtime doing the things that will fulfill you.
Thoughts? Ideas? Share them with me in the comments!