Carve out time for yourself

Lately, I have been on a writing spree.

If I had my way, I would write a blog post every day of the week, 52 weeks a year. I attempted to do so last year for lent. That failed miserably.

But lately I have a good streak going. I make time for writing (almost) every morning, even if it’s just for twenty minutes.

You know what caused the change? I moved above an ice cream shop. Actually that’s a slight lie—I actually live above the shitty Chinese restaurant next to the ice cream shop. But give me a break, it’s still the same building.

If you’re picturing a 1950’s-style diner painted 100 percent white and serving scoops in sundae glasses, your vision could not be more off. It’s a gelato place with brick walls and marble countertops opening at 7AM sharp, and for my purposes it is my newest morning routine. All I have to do is walk down my apartment steps and all of fifteen feet to be at the front door.

On a mission to find more clarity.

Last week, I said I wanted to find more clarity [which you can read about here]. So, this week I decided to make a change. Every morning, I went to the gelato shop. If I was on my shit getting ready, I got 45 wonderful minutes of writing in before heading to work. If I took my sweet time (meaning I washed my hair for once), I only got twenty—but I still went. In one week, those twenty-minute writing sprints became sacred to me. It was the one time of day I could block out the world and feel like a sane person. I truly believe it made a huge difference in my happiness and general rationality.

I was word-vomiting about my morning writing sessions to my friend Paula, who (like the general library-of-scientific-studies she is) unleashed a behemoth of research on the benefits of writing. Apparently, I’m supposed to be handwriting these blog posts to get the full therapeutic effect. I’m also supposed to be writing three full pages. I’ve even heard you should write the moment you wake up, whereas I shower and get ready before I sit down to type.

Like anything else, there are a million variables I could consider. Honestly, I’m just happy to have those few minutes to myself, and I want to encourage each of you to try it.

Set aside time for yourself, and make that time a priority.

I’m not saying it has to be writing—I know I love writing and you may very well hate it. I’m just saying you should take time for yourself each and every day, even if it’s just for twenty minutes. My friend Marla keeps a gratitude journal. My friend Keena has this weird thing about lying in bed for as long as she possibly can. My dad sits outside on the front porch with his morning coffee (or afternoon beer). Whatever works for you, carve out time in your day to focus on yourself.

That last item may be the most critical component—you have to set aside time. Just like going to the gym, doing laundry, or meal prepping; you need to make it a priority—and priorities require reserved time.

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