Throughout her book, How did I Get Here? Barbara de Angelis, Ph.D discusses her personal phase of being a “nothing and a nobody” and how it helped her see life from a freshened perspective. Unfortunately, our society emphasizes staying constantly busy and being on our feet to help everyone else that we have forgotten the value of taking time out for solitude and reflection. Even taking just five to fifteen minutes a day can make quite a difference.

I am aware that some avoid this because they know that it involves facing even the worst aspects of ourselves. The reality is that avoiding our fears is not the answer since a fear is an indication that something is not right and must be addressed and dealt with. Otherwise, it will keep building up over time until it throws itself in our faces in one form or another. Taking time out for ourselves means allowing ourselves to feel whatever we need to feel and not trying to run away or blame ourselves for it.

While these activities can also contribute to the balance, taking time out for ourselves does not mean constantly distracting ourselves with things like surfing the Internet or texting our friends and family. Even blankly staring at a wall might bring an unexpected answer as taking time out for ourselves also means giving ourselves permission to be a vessel of blankness. To most people who inhabit the western part of this world, this can sound quite intimidating though in reality, temporary blankness is sometimes the best thing that can happen.

Not taking time out for ourselves is also ruining our health with diseases such as those of the heart (literally) and can be quite fatal. Taking time out for ourselves means doing what we need to in order to release the stress that has been piling up on us in whatever way we need to. For some, this means journaling, for others it can mean a short walk or drive, whatever floats our boat.

Our society currently emphasizes excellence in achievement. While this is generally a great thing, it also practically emphasizes that we just keep going, going, going practically nonstop. Aside from diseases, this is also putting on a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety on much of our population, to say the least. After one or a series of successful achievements in projects and tasks, keeping a fairly low profile for a little while in between afterward is usually best.

Taking time out for ourselves can mean doing some small but very valuable activities such as gardening or painting. Both teach us to have more patience and to slow down and enjoy the moment. We are all on a journey and if we don’t stop every once in awhile to try to figure out where to go next, we start to feel lost and instead of waiting for the answer, we start throwing ourselves into things or deliberately distracting ourselves. Unfortunately, our society, as it currently stands, believes that the answer is to just keep filling ourselves with more and more material things. The fact is that material things only satisfy us for a very short time. Things cannot give us love back the way other people or being devoted to spiritual beliefs can. We cannot have both at the same time. This is what Jesus meant when he said that we cannot serve both God and maman.

Last but not least, taking time out for ourselves, especially if it’s going to be long-term, means avoiding getting involved in more big projects for the time being. This means not doing anything that requires a sustained amount of physical and mental effort, stepping out of the bigger world to avoid more stress than we already have and facing that which we do have. It means not avoiding a thing about ourselves which may come up. It means allowing ourselves to step back so we can come back with more expanded ideas and wisdom. It means simply allowing ourselves to just be.

Author's Bio: 

Lacy S. Pierce has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Art. She is currently working for a market research company. She has volunteered for a hospice, a church youth program and is currently volunteering for a bookstore and a school mentoring program.