Learn to Love Downtime

Learn to Love Downtime

Many spouses tell me that military life takes up so much energy that there isn’t always time left for leisure. I hear this from so many military spouse moms during deployments, from those who are moving a lot, those who work outside the home, entrepreneurs, and even from seasoned spouses.

So what can we do to make sure we take care of ourselves as well as our loved ones?

Tip #1: Turn Your Passion Into a Job You Love

When we find work that we love, our leisure and work time can overlap and create greater life satisfaction. Consider how you naturally spend your leisure time—these activities offer hints into a career that you’ll find fun and fulfilling.

For example, I ask military spouses looking to discover a career passion what games they enjoyed growing up, what sports and activities they did in high school, and what section of the bookstore they’re drawn to. I love asking these questions because I not only watch for their answers—I look at the excitement on their faces when they explain different things that they truly love!

When a client and I find an area of work that’s exciting to them, they don’t look at work and play as so different, but rather as an awesome place of overlap. My make-up artist client reads beauty books for fun. My client considering pursuing a degree as a naturopath works as a personal trainer at the YMCA and does yoga for fun. Even my own leisure time is often spent with a cup of tea and a self-help book in hand.

Follow your passion and it’s sure to lead to a job you love.

Tip #2: Schedule Some “Me Time”

While having your work overlap with your passions is absolutely amazing, it’s also important to dedicate at least some of your free time to things that support non-career values. You can use your leisure time for fun and play, whether it’s a board game with the kiddos or a night out with the ladies. You can focus on personal or spiritual development. You can even watch a fun TV show! However, it should still be time that is used purposefully toward a goal, even if that goal is just to relax.

To make sure they schedule some “me time,” I sometimes ask my clients to sit down and literally put leisure activities on their calendars at particular dates and times. It’s important not to let military spouse life obligations get in the way of creating purposeful downtime, so I ask clients to treat this me time with as much respect as other appointments in their days. These activities don’t have to cost a lot of time or money—just try to find something rejuvenating and in line with your values.

When you’re trying to think of how to plan your downtime, think about your long-term goals and the kinds of leisure activities that support them. It’s so fun to sit down with a client and schedule some artist dates, evenings out with a partner, fun activities with the kids, etc. By finding activities that are fun and in line with our values, we start living our lives intentionally and even more joyously, even with limited leisure time.

Tip #3: Write Down Your Leisure Goals

Military spouses are super busy taking care of others. However, I’ve found that we’re also better at nurturing others when we focus on our own needs too. As you look over your spring goals in the areas of health, wealth, and relationships, write out a list of potential leisure activities that will support their attainment. And don’t forget to include things that are fun!

I know it’s not easy to know what to do with our downtime. That’s why I encourage you to share your ideas in the comments section below—hopefully, we can learn from each other’s successes! Then, if you can, connect your leisure goal to a larger seasonal objective or intention. I’m looking forward to hearing all of your ideas!

Learn to Love Downtime

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