Downtime, Siri, and Recharging–Three Tips To Give Yourself Some Me-Time

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

There are times when I crash.  Hard.  Shut down.  Totally recover.

Formerly, the downtime that I encountered often time came at a perilous cost to my mental well-being because it gave me a period to think and self-reflect.  I used to feel guilty or like a bonafide, well, loser when I’d have an open schedule because I didn’t know how to handle my own freedom.  (Note: Thinking is great, but not when you over think.)

The other sociological issue that stems from time off is that our culture, especially in the gay community, is driven almost entirely by the mentality that if you aren’t busy, you aren’t worth anything.  Think metaphors: time is money.  Our sense of self, and, in some cases, society’s sense of who we are, is based on how much we can achieve and how many circles we can run around ourselves.

This cycle is deadly to our sense of self.  Downtime is absolutely essential to our ability to not only grow but to create and drive our passions.

This year has particularly been quite a challenging one for me both professionally and personally.  I’m sure that any downtime I have over the next several months will involve me embracing how I’ve evolved.  There’s tightness that I need to release.  There’s going to be joy to share.  I’m game for it all.

So, if this blog sounds all too familiar, here are three strategies that I suggest to capture some time for rebuilding:

1.   It’s only on your plate because YOU SAID YES TO IT! Siri can’t keep up with all of your scheduling requests on iPhone.  Your Outlook calendar looks like a physics homework assignment.  You can’t remember the last time you had a Facebook event that you said “no” to.  Guess what?  Your schedule looks that way because you agreed to take on a million and a half engagements.  Why are you doing this?  What do you hope to get out of attending three open houses in one five-hour span?  There’s something psychologically driving your schedule that you should tackle.

2.   It is OKAY to say NO.  Seriously.

3.   Be honest.  You’d be surprised how far it gets you.  Feel like you simply can’t add on one more thing to your Friday night?  Do you need a day just to treat yourself to some peace and reflection?  Don’t feel guilty about it.  Tell the truth: “It has been a long week.  I really need to recharge with a night in, some wine, and Netflix.  Can I take a rain check?”  “I’m feeling a worn down.  I need the day off.”  You’d be surprised how far these simple moments of truth will take you.

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