By Sage Thee
How are you doing? Are you doing alright? No, I mean it, how are you doing? Are you stressed out? Glum? Maybe even feeling a bit hopeless? Me too. Only three months into 2021, and it’s already been a challenging year for many of us. Between worrying about the vaccine and if it’ll ever be available to everyone, keeping work and school appointments, taking care of the family, staying on top of chores, bills, etc., it can feel impossible just to keep one’s head on straight.
Wouldn’t it be nice sometimes to just have a time-out, away from it all?
Many of us are working and schooling from home, staring at a screen for several hours at a time. A nightmare on the eyes, of course; but did you know it can also be a nightmare for our mental health? A study published in 2017 by Preventive Medicine Reports found increased rates of depression and anxiety in adults directly correlated to their screen time. That being said, I am not here to tell you to stop using your phone or other devices in your downtime, I believe what we are consuming on our screens is the most impactful to our health.
I propose we all commit to a dedicated news-and-social-media-free time. It doesn’t matter what we do, so long as there is no stress from the outside world. I know, I know, in this day and age, we’re lucky if we can pull ourselves away from constant news updates for even five minutes at a time; but for the sake of our health, I think it’s worth a shot.
“Time-out” is often thought of simply as a way of punishing misbehaving children, but it’s much more than that. When children act out, we have them reflect on their actions in a calm and quiet environment, which not only helps diffuse the situation but also gives the child the necessary space and time to calm down. For this same reason, time-out can be well-utilized for us adults, too. We all deserve the time and space to calm down, relax, and destress!
Time-out shouldn’t be you standing in a corner in a dunce cap like some old movie—we are supposed to be relaxing here! You should be somewhere comfortable. Here are some places to start, taken directly from my very own time-out zone:
- Clean and comfy place to lounge: Pillows, blankets, etc.
- Good smells: Candles, incense, essential oil diffuser, etc.
- Good sounds: Your favorite record or artist, ambient noise, a rainmaker, etc.
- Stress-free/relieving activity: Coloring, journaling, puzzling, arts and crafts, reading, yoga, playing video games, even just taking a nap! The possibilities are pretty much endless.
“Time-out” doesn’t have to be its own specific place, either. It can be whatever you need it to be, so long as it is time away from the ceaseless grind of everyday life.
Have you not been able to take a nice bath lately? Or maybe you’ve been missing roller skating? Hiking? Baking? This is hardly an all-encompassing list of possibilities; the only thing that truly matters in the Art of Zen is what works for you. What brings you peace? What are some things you enjoy doing that you haven’t had time to do for a while? Do you like to paint? Read? Little joys like these can so quickly get buried underneath the pressure and responsibilities of life, which in turn just makes the pressure and responsibilities of life all the more draining and exhausting.
Here is your invitation to rediscover some of these lost pleasures. GO TO TIME-OUT!