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When our kids get whiny, defiant, or difficult to get along with, what do we tell them? They need some time out. They need time to cool off, think about what they did, or just step away from the situation. Perhaps they need a nap!
What do we do when we are the ones who are whiny, defiant, or difficult? (Don’t tell me you don’t have those days, too. I won’t believe you!)
It’s not always easy to put ourselves in time out. We have work to do, tasks to complete, children to supervise, and on and on. We push ourselves to keep going because we must. (Enter Wonder Woman…)
But I’m not Wonder Woman, and neither are you. It’s okay to admit it. We are human, and we have our limits. The trouble comes when we don’t recognize that we’ve hit one.
How do you miss the importance of taking time out for yourself? How do I miss it? Do we not believe that it is important? Perhaps that’s the first step. Acknowledging that we need a time out to recharge. Whatever it is that demands our time and attention will still be there in a few minutes. Sometimes we need to set it down and walk away for a minute.
(If what you’re setting down is a small child, there are ways to do so safely! I’m certainly not advocating walking away from a child in need of supervision, such as in a bathtub. Ensure the child is safe for those few minutes without your eagle eyes…)
Whether it is a short time out or an extended break, we all need them. Short time outs can take place in such unglamorous places as the bathroom or closet if needed. Longer breaks require advanced planning but can have equally extended benefits.
Why is taking time out for yourself so important?
We need to reconnect with the Lord.
Even Jesus escaped to the hills to pray. He often went off early in the morning, before He faced the challenges of the day. Do you do the same? Set aside time (even if it’s only a few minutes) in the morning before others are up and demanding your attention, and take some time to connect with the Lord. Read, pray, memorize Scripture verses, sing praise songs — you need this time for you!
We need to reconnect with others.
Particularly if you work at home or are a stay-at-home mom, you need an opportunity to interact. Date nights with your spouse, coffee with a friend, Girls’ Night Out, Bible studies — all of these give you an opportunity to connect with others and hold a much-needed adult conversation.
We need to reconnect with ourselves.
That may sound really strange to you, especially if you are an extrovert and LOVE being around people. But even extroverts need time to get away and be by themselves. Introverts (those of us who need and enjoy quiet time), need this time even more because it is in those quiet times that we are able to recharge and prepare for times of being social.
When we take the time to get away and reconnect, we are able to become “bearable” again, just as our children tend to do during their time outs. Tensions seem to diffuse, new perspectives can be gained, and energy levels restored. We become better people (spouses, moms, employees, friends, neighbors… you get the idea) when we take time out for ourselves.
Are you good about taking time out for yourself? What have you found to be the most helpful time outs?