I consider myself to be somewhat of a vagabond. After being lucky enough to have the ability to unplug and spend several months traveling, I have realized how important it is to takesome time off.
Many people are not able to take several months off from their worldly obligations; I understand that. However, most of us can and should take a day off every couple of weeks (if not more). If you can't do that then at least dedicate a few hours of me time. The point is that we need time to slow down, leave the constant race, and recharge our brains, our bodies, and, well, everything!
So choose a day. Dedicate yourself to making it your day: turn off your cell phone, let your family know this is your special time, and to only interrupt if it's absolutely necessary, etc.
- Read a Book
Read something that will inspire, expand, inform, and motivate you. I don't know that I'd recommend reading a book about your job. Read something that releases you from your reality - even temporarily.
- Do some research
If you have an idea or project use this day to do high leverage activities that will increase your progress. During the week when you have spare time make a list of high priority tasks. Get organized so when your free day rolls around, you can get down to business.
- Plan a trip/ retreat
Identify some areas in which you would like to grow as a person. If you have always wanted to meditate, make plans to go on a meditation retreat. Deeply immerse yourself in your get away. This is a great way to meet new people, try something new, and grow as a person.
Helping others is one of the most fulfilling experiences you will ever have. Many communities post volunteer opportunities in local newspapers and on their websites. Look around and find something of interest.
- Listen to Music
Get in a comfy chair and pop in a new CD or one of your old favorites. Just hit play and listen to the whole thing uninterrupted, don't skip any songs. Try and look for new things you have never heard. The reason I say CD and now iPod is because you hand selected the songs on your iPod and the goal here is to introduce you to new things.
What deep personal questions have you been postponing or putting off? This is a great opportunity to ask yourself some tough questions. Penetrate them; look at them from several perspectives. How do they relate or impact your life? What's your purpose? What do you want to contribute? How do you want to grow? What would you like to learn? What would you like to be doing in 5 years. How do you get there?
To me, this is the most valuable thing you can do on your day off. Manypeople have misconceptions on what meditation really is. Many believe it is just simply learning to concentrate; this is false meditation. Meditation that leads you to deep concentration will just make you more closed. Your aspiration in mediation is to become more open, open to existence. Meditation is beyond the scope of this article, I suggest you go to your local bookstore or library and get acquainted with the subject.
Benefits of Meditation:
- You will develop a calm mind.
- You will progressively go from reactive to proactive.
- You will begin to understand and become aware of your internaldecision making process.
- You will come to understand many of the subtle levels in which your mind operates.
- You will realize that you are not separate but are one with the whole. This will not be a logical understanding but an inner knowingness.
- You will come to understand and not be dominated by your ego. Your ego serves its purpose in society; you need some reference point to be able to participate in it. But, your true identity is beyond your name, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and your body. Meditation will undo all the negative damage that society has imposed on you.
- You will develop trust and not just believe in something. When you believe something that is just in the mind, when you trust that is a deep knowing in your entire being. Trust to go into the unknown.
Put any ideas or things that you are feeling down on paper. Don't worry about making complete or coherent sentences. Just let it flow out of you. Practice writing for 10 minutes without stopping or censoring what you write. After it's down on paper analyze it, what does it reveal?
- Go To a Park and People Watch
Practice going to a park and just observing your environment without verbalization. Pay attention to the little things, become open, many things will reveal themselves to you. You might gain a new insight or idea from just watching and observing pigeons looking for food. (My observation: Pigeons are super focused; they have a target, and keep pushing and adjusting their vision until they reach their goal.)
- Practice a language
If you are going to Italy next year, make sure you know how to order some gelato before you go.
Become immersed in the experience, don't think, just feel. Put your beliefs aside, your beliefs make you closed, because they make you think you already know something. To create something unique and new you will need to suspend your beliefs. Who cares if you are not a professional, this is for you not others; don't worry about how others will perceive you work. As soon as you do your ego (mind) will get involved and simply create something average, because you will be molding it to the expectations of others.
Remember this is your life to explore, to make known the unknown. Make sure you take some time to stop and smell the roses. I know many of us have forgotten that beautiful fragrance.
I hope this serves as a friendly reminder on the importance of taking some timeto just enjoy being with oneself. I would just like to thank Jay for allowing me to share on his fantastic site. I wish everyone the best, keep growing, keep evolving, and keep shining.