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How Are You Spending Your Time?


We can’t all do sunrise yoga at the shore these days. Photo by Eternal Happiness on

Our health is directly impacted by how we spend our time.

It seems obvious, when you say it like this. The first things that pop into our minds are spending time exercising and sleeping. We know those directly impact our health.

The math on those is simple: without enough sleep or exercise, our minds and our bodies will not be as responsive as we would like.

However, the importance of how we spend our time goes far deeper than that.


Bringing our day into alignment

So we need exercise, we need sleep, and of course we need to eat, but we also have deeper needs that we can sometimes ignore.

The need to create. The need to socialize. The need to learn. The need to be challenged. The need to work. The need for leisure.

Now more than ever, we find ourselves constrained by our work and our physical environment. Even if we are not physically confined to a small apartment in a large urban area, we still face unusual limitations on our ability to experience and do those things that help keep us balanced and mentally healthy.

But, don’t take my word for it.

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Reflect on yesterday. How did you do in each of those areas. Did you get a good amount of sleep – one that matches your rhythms and needs?

What were your eating choices? Did you make disciplined decisions? Did you give yourself a small break during the day and sneak an extra brownie? Or did you eat the plate of brownies then cram in an apple to avoid a full wave of shame?

Have you taken this time to recharge? Are you reading? Creating?

Break down yesterday into 30 minute increments and explore your own answers to these questions.


What do I have, what do I need?

Paul Wesselmann is an educator and psychologist who is also known as The Ripples Guy. He speaks to educators, students, and to nurses and other caregivers to help them cope with the stresses of their lives. His work seems to be needed more than ever.

On a massive Zoom conference recently, he asked his audience about their ability to meet their needs. Specifically he asked them these four questions:

  • What do I need?
  • How will I get it?
  • When will I do it?
  • For how long?

Of course, being able to answer these four questions means first being able to identify your needs.

By looking at yesterday as a random representation of how you are doing, you can start to identify those needs. (You can, of course, choose a different day. But be certain to choose one that is representative. Choosing your best day, or your worst one, is not fair to you. Ignore the temptation to do that.)

Then review the list of needs from above. What did you create time for? What did you fail to create time for? What took more time from you than you ever intended?

Here are those categories again:

  • Exercise
  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Friendships / socializing
  • Creating
  • Learning
  • Working
  • Leisure

You will likely find that you did not do all of those things yesterday. You might not even do all of those things in a typical day.

But are you missing opportunities to do some of these things at all? If so, you are neglecting an important part of your balance.


Restoring work / life balance

Thinking intentionally about these categories can help reveal to you areas of strength and weakness.

Some people exercise too much when they are anxious, others eat too much. Some people retreat into books of fiction, or watch too much TV. Still others stress-clean, or find themselves painting rooms of their house and sorting old collections of items.

And these things are not bad. We need to cope with the stress of our lives.

However, we cannot ignore the balance. We must ask ourselves the questions that help us find our center.

Work and life balancing, precariously. Photo by Pixabay on

What have we left out when we have watched too much TV?

What have we ignored when we overslept?

If we are spending too much time working, where is the leisure that allows us to re-energize?

Ask yourself again, while looking at your typical day:

  • What do I need?
  • How will I get it?
  • When will I do it?
  • For how long?

Then answer each question. Determine that you will address your need in a specific way.

Then meet that intention. You will be glad you did.


How are you doing?

These past few weeks have been hard, and there does not seem to be a clear path forward. These are difficult times for many of us. Luckily, many of us are able to use social media and entertainment outlets to find uplifting stories to raise our spirits. Better yet, many of us are finding ways to help.

Contact Sakina today.

If you are having trouble with this time, you are not alone.

Therapists like me are available to consult online. We don’t have all the answers, but we can help you find the best solutions for your situation.

Contact me today for more information.

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