Taking Time for Yourself


I recently found out I’m low on vitamin D, which makes sense because I usually stay out of the sun. Maybe even to the extreme sometimes. Who else comes home from Maui looking the same as when she left? So when I found out I needed more sunshine, I was excited about the possibility of gettting some color for a change. I decided I’d spend ten minutes outside a day, at least. That would be wonderful…

But why has it been so hard?

Why is it that most times when the sun’s shining, I look out the window and think, Ooh, it’s perfect out there. I need to get outside. And I will…in a minute. Then I finish email, fold the laundry, make a few phone calls, get some writing done, and pay the bills. The next thing I know, it’s time to pick the kids up from school, help them with their homework, run off to basketball or piano, and figure out dinner. By then, the sun has eluded me once again.

Or (and this is even worse) why do I, when I do get outside, have such a hard time shaking the feeling that I shouldn’t just be sitting there? Why does the ten minutes seem like thirty? Why can’t I turn off the to-do list in my head?

In the last few weeks, these ten minutes have really gotten me thinking about how busy I am. And about how much I need to slow down. But if you’re like me, that’s easier said than done. Because there’s a lot we can do in ten minutes, right? A lot we can check off our lists. (And not many of those things can be done sitting outside…)

The other day, I forced myself. When I looked out the kitchen window and noticed what a beautiful day it was, I seized the moment. I stopped what I was doing (shock), went outside, and sat down on the warm patio. My dog came over to me, I’m sure wondering what I was up to. She nestled down beside me, and there we sat, our faces to the sky. For ten–no–maybe even fifteen minutes.

When I went back inside, I was relaxed and warm and content. If I didn’t have to pick up my kids from school, I might’ve even stayed out there longer. Those few minutes, in some way, recharged and refocused me. And now I’m thinking, wouldn’t it be great if we set aside ten minutes more often? Ten minutes to sit outside? Or call a friend? Or pray?

Ten minutes to just be still?

I’ve decided I’m going to try. I’d like to make enjoying the fresh air and sunshine a habit. And hey, I might even get a tan this year.