Time out!


In the world of fair fighting this is a term to describe when both parties agree to not engage for a specified period of time. In the parenting world it’s where your child is not engaging with other people for a specified reason. However, for the purpose of this blog we are going to be looking at a different direction of the time out philosophy. When is the last time you took time out for you? I love working and staying busy, and this might be the first time in my life that I’m only working one job. However, working full time, being a wife, a mother for two bonus teenagers, and five pets leaves little time for me. I’m not trying to be dramatic here, simply realistic. By nature, of me being me, I am typically cognizant of those people in my environment and I work to make their lives better.

I’ve realized lately that while I absolutely love my life, my family, my job; I need to take time for myself. Time when I’m just focusing on filling my cup and not focused on anyone else. Can you imagine how much more recharged you would fill if you took time just for you, on a regular basis? I think that this would make you a better person and you would be able to be more present in all of your activities and relationships.

Because it has become first nature for most of us to take care of others, I would like to offer you some suggestions on how to take some time out for you:

  1. Set a timer: This seems like a ridiculous suggestion, but please read it all the way through. This is a great technique specifically for people who are time oriented. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Surely you can find 20 minutes a week to take some time out for you.
  2. Drop the guilt: Let’s be honest for a moment. Most of us are not motivated by guilt, so what purpose does it really serve. The only purpose I can find for guilt in my own life is to keep me stuck or paralyzed. Let’s agree to drop the guilt now, and replace it with complete acceptance.
  3. Ask for help: If this is a brand new concept for you, it might not be safe for you to just go out and spend time alone. Ask the person or people closest to you for help, motivation and accountability. What a phenomenal way to partner with those that you love.
  4. Just say no: While this might sound like a petty cliché, in reality is a very solid suggestion. No is a complete sentence. You do not owe anyone an explanation today. Let’s agree to give up the need to justify our decisions. Practice saying no to simple and easy things first, which will allow you to build up to saying no to the bigger things.
  5. Drop the struggle: One of my favorite sayings is that those things that we resist grow stronger, and those things we accept dissipate quicker. How much different do you think your life would be if you accepted your own need for a time out, and allowed it to happen.
  6. De-clutter:  I am, by nature, the exact opposite of a hoarder. Clutter, junk, and messes give me a certain level of anxiety. Can you imagine how much more welcoming and accepting you would feel of your needs if your home, vehicle, office and body were de-cluttered?   It’s an ongoing goal of mine, and while I’m not perfect at it, I can recognize the strides I’ve made.
  7. Claim it: If we go off of the foundation that we create our reality by our thoughts, how much more powerful are out words? I would encourage you to state that you are going to begin taking a time out for yourself. This seems like the natural foundation for allowing this type of activity.
  8. Eliminate the all or nothing: I’m not sure that there are any philosophies as damaging as the all or nothing mindset. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It doesn’t need to be that you take a week in the middle of the jungle with no outside contact or no time for you at all. Why not start with small, measurable, achievable goals? Let’s set ourselves up for success versus failure.


I’m making the commitment to myself that I’m going to take three 30-minute time outs for myself the next week. What commitments are you willing to make for yourself? I think you are worth it! What’s stopping you?

JennBovee, LCSW is a spiritual life coach and psychotherapist. Jenn offers in person and distance life coaching sessions. Learn more about her here: www.JennBoveeLCSW.com