Finding Freedom

Finding Freedom 12-8-2015

Once in a while I am lucky enough to stumble upon some free time to myself. Sometimes this is a result of a perfectly orchestrated Nap Time, or a wonderful surprise from a loving hubby. When this happens, I do a little happy dance. Don’t get me wrong, I love my littles, but sometimes a Mama just needs some alone time to refresh and unwind – can I get an Amen?

But after I celebrate…I end up daydreaming and spending too much time thinking of ways I could or should be using my free time and ZERO of that time actually using it! I spend a lot of it in a state of paralyzed indecisiveness. Or I fall down the rabbit hole of Facebook and mindless web surfing.  And then suddenly time’s up and I’m back to reality and grumpier than ever, feeling jipped instead of refreshed.

Sound familiar?

So how can I make sure I don’t waste any of those precious minutes of freedom so I feel rejuvenated instead of zapped and depleted?

Here’s where I came up with a Go-To List.

I sat down and made a list of all the activities I love, yet don’t always have the time or make time for. I also included some household chores, but my tactic here is to pair those things with enjoyable activities so they don’t end up making me feel like a slave to my house. And I only do those things if I actually feel like it during my free time. So instead of worrying my free time away by trying to figure out what to do, I just refer to the list and pick something (or several things) to accomplish that will make me feel filled up and accomplished. Here are some activities I came up with. I printed it and stuck it on my fridge for reference.

52 Things To Do When You Have 30 Minutes of Freedom (or More!):

  1. Load of laundry/fold and put away while listening to music or TED Talks podcast
  2. Paint toenails in a bright, fun color – knit while they dry
  3. Work on a craft
  4. Declutter for 15 minutes while I steep some herbal tea and listen to music
  5. Sit outside (weather permitting) and listen to my audio bible
  6. Do a one room cardio workout to some upbeat music
  7. Light a soothing scented candle and do a 20 minute yoga routine
  8. Make some tea or lemonade and read a magazine or paperback
  9. Spend 5 minutes meditating and then 15-20 minutes journaling or free writing
  10. Listen to music and free form dance
  11. Spend 15 minutes organizing a cluttered area while listening to an audio book
  12. Listen to a podcast or the news in Spanish while doing some daily cleaning/chores
  13. Bake something (chocolate chip cookies!)
  14. Spend 30 minutes cataloging and organizing old photos into an album while listening to music
  15. Listen to a Focus on the Family podcast and pick up twigs/toys in the back yard
  16. Color a page from a coloring book (this is so soothing if you’ve never done it as an adult!)
  17. Put on some mood music and do some Tangling/doodling
  18. Take a nap
  19. Make some scented bath soak, then hop in the bath with some meditation music
  20. Apply a mud mask and read in Spanish while it dries
  21. Watch an episode of my favorite TV show on Amazon
  22. Pray for my husband/children
  23. Make some bread
  24. Listen to an audio book while kneading some playdo
  25. Practice the guitar or play the flute
  26. Do some mending while listening to my audio bible
  27. Write or read some poetry – try to memorize it
  28. Spend some time in the garden: weed, water, harvest
  29. Take an extra long pampering shower
  30. Do some brain builders: crossword puzzles, word search, etc
  31. Put together a puzzle while listening to a mystery audio book
  32. Have a marble foot soak or peppermint foot massage, light a candle or incense and listen to meditation music
  33. Watch a documentary and nosh on a healthy snack
  34. Put on a clay face mask and watch a chick flick or other favorite movie
  35. Do some knitting/crocheting while listening to classical music
  36. Plan outfits for the rest of the week while listening to music
  37. Make some unique jewelry
  38. Make a healthy smoothie and play a game of solitaire
  39. Upload some of the kids’ art into Artkive
  40. Put together a list to create a 10 year time capsule
  41. Gather and put things into the time capsule
  42. Upload digital photos onto the computer and organize into folders
  43. Work on my Emergency Binder or Bug Out Bag
  44. Learn a card trick to show the kids – practice until perfect
  45. Play a good old fashioned video game for 30 minutes (Mario Bros, anyone?)
  46. Create a happy, uplifting playlist and burn to cd
  47. Paint a canvass without predetermining what to paint
  48. Go on a walk or bike ride (weather permitting)
  49. Call a friend or family member, chat, make plans for later
  50. Go to the library (and celebrate when I don’t have to spend the whole time in the children’s section!)
  51. Learn a new photography technique, then experiment
  52. Run some errands (oh, the unbridled freedom I feel, windows down and radio turned up and my house growing smaller and smaller in my rearview mirror! Makes me feel like a wild and free teenager again.)

The result of my list is possibly a cleaner house and definitely a happier Mama. Do you have a method for spending your unexpected free time?

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