This week I’m thinking about time. The annual March Break is just around the corner. Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend (March 10th). It’s the ‘time’of year when we mark a change in the season and look for an end to winter and the beginning of spring …hopefully! Time and emotional health go together.
A recent study from a national sleep foundation produced some interesting statistics about time:
- The average adult gets 6 hours and 40 minutes of sleep a night, 40 minutes less than required.
- The average working day for most of us is 9.5 hours.
- The lack of sufficient sleep causes 30 % of us to fall asleep at work and 36% to nod off while driving!
- Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest triggers to a clinical depression.
- The usual wake-up time for most adults is 5:35 a.m., and the standard bedtime is 11:00 p.m. (I’m behind the average on both counts!)…over 17 hours of awake time a day.
So, what’s the big deal about the time ‘crunch’?!
The problem might be our time management skills. We may think we have lots of it, but time is an elusive commodity. We can get easily distracted, and often find ourselves engaged in activities that consume more of our intended time, leaving us feeling victimized by the clock. In truth, wehave ourselves to blame for not being careful and intentional about setting priorities with our use of time. It is a constant ‘sign of the times’that so many families and married couples are unhappy and conflicted. What often underlies their relationship discontent is the chronic absence of time they have for each other - what I refer to as ‘relational attention deficit disorder’!
So, let’s take a lead from our bi-annual time change to find some personal and practical ways to re-set our clocks and make time ‘work’for us. Some ideas:
- Sleep time: Be vigilant and protective about our sleep. Set good sleep routines for ourselves. Find healthy ways to wind down at the end of the day. Be intentional about keeping our bodies well-rested.
- Daylight time: Begin to take advantage of the extra hour of daylight to do something extra - a walk after dinner, or some outdoor spring clean-up.Activity, daylight, and ‘feeling good’ go together!
- Down time: Take a cue from the school break to find some ways to give ourselves a ‘break’from our work and usual routines. It doesn’t have to be a trip to the Caribbean! Get-aways are just around the corner - a park, sporting event, movie night, or a new restaurant to try for the first time. Down-time and break-times are healthy for us in so many ways.
- Personal time: Carve out and set aside some time just for ourselves - time to read a good book, engage in a hobby, or pamper ourselves with something special. So, few of us take time to do this. Let’s be intentional about it!
- Spending time: Let’s be particular about where and with whom we spend our time. Make time with family and friends who are important to us. Set a date. Schedule it. Dinner for two? Book the place and the people to vacation with. Campers - reserve your sites. They’re going fast!
This spring, lets promise ourselves to watch and use our time carefully!
It’s one very good way of taking care of our emotional health.