Why quiet time is so important
Being constantly on the go and relentlessly pushing ourselves may bring a measure of success but it's not something that can be sustained for any length of time without some cost to our health and wellbeing. Whether it's at work, at home or juggling both, finding time to stop and get off the wheel seems harder and harder to find. We often minimise our need for taking time out by reminding ourselves that there is so much to do and we think we are being selfish by finding time for ourselves. However trying to be everything to everybody isn't possible and anyway we are not much use to anyone if we are running ourselves into the ground. Burn out can result when we fail to take notice of our behaviour and ignore the warning signs that we should take some time out to prioritise self care and take action. This can result in physical health conditions and mental fatigue, resulting in anxiety, irritability, poor concentration and insomnia. I personally experienced this many years ago as I was ambitiously climbing the professional ladder, taking on far too much and never saying no. Taking quiet time everyday played a vital part in managing and reducing my anxiety.
Taking quiet time everyday can help you acknowledge, understand and be aware of your physical and emotional state. It will contribute to building your resilience and ability to control your emotions. By taking action you are taking responsibility for your own health and wellbeing.
How to take quiet time
When we are experiencing overwhelm or stress we often find setting boundaries can be difficult and routines can be hard to keep. We jump from one thing to the next and procrastinate at taking action and feel like time is running away from us. Incorporating daily quiet time is important in helping to change negative thinking and stressful behaviours. Here are a few suggestions on how to take your own quiet time.
- Begin by scheduling 30 minutes every day for yourself. Making a commitment to set yourself a routine is very important to get the benefits from quiet time as new habits will be learnt and sustaining them will be easier. First find somewhere where you can sit in peace and quiet. You might have to be resourceful and creative in finding a space where you can be away from distractions, screens and chatter if you work in a busy environment. If you work from home take yourself to a different room away from your work. Sit comfortably and you may want to close your eyes. Concentrate on your breathing, mentally counting to 7 on the in breathe and 11 on the out breathe. Do this several times and feel the tension reduce in your body as it starts to soften and relax. Let your thoughts flow and let them go. Slowly open your eyes as you feel relaxed and refreshed. The more you practice the greater the benefits.
- Take a walk in a local park or green space. Be aware of the beauty of nature around you and notice your thoughts as they come but let them go. As well as feeling refreshed from being outdoors walking in nature opens up your thinking and can be a great way to help you find solutions to your problems and may offer new perspectives.
- Set boundaries. It is very important to understand that there is a limit to what you can do or take on. Being responsible for yourself and your time will build confidence and clarity.
- Learn to say no when you know you are already overloaded. Self care means ensuring you take care of yourself before you can help others.
- Use the time to contemplate on or write down what you are grateful for. According to psychological research it improves your emotional and physical well being and reduces the stress hormone cortisol.
- If you take quiet time at home make sure that those around you are aware and can respect that you do not want to be disturbed.
- Read, practice yoga or take up a hobby that you simply enjoy without pressure to complete.
The benefits of quiet time
- It will help you discover what's really important
- To refocus and reinforce your sense of purpose
- To think with more clarity and make better decisions
- Will refresh and re-energise
- Enjoy silence and just being
- Ability to better control your emotions
- Increased energy and ability to concentrate
- Build self-esteem and confidence over time
- Reduce anxiety, stress and fatigue
- Ability to sleep better
Make the commitment to take quiet time and start today. You owe it to yourself.