How many hours have you wasted in just waiting? Waiting at the doctor office, waiting in the emergency room, waiting on hold for the insurance company, waiting for your life to not be on hold. If I could count up the number of hours I have spent in a holding pattern, I would need a lot more fingers and toes than I have now.
As I am sitting here typing this, I am currently waiting for a support worker to come on shift. My son needs eyes on him at all times so when there isn’t a support worker on shift, it’s Mom’s turn. My life seems to be defined by the four walls of his room and sometimes, it’s hard to not let it get to me, to not become a little stir crazy. So, I have been working on ways that I can be productive and creative to help keep myself sane.
Some of these suggestions will work better in certain locations than others, but try any or all of them out. Things that are new to us, that challenge us, that engage us mentally will force us to regain our perspective, get the positive energy flowing, and emotionally recharge us so that we are prepared for the next battle. Try to add some me time to your day!
40 ways to be productive by having ME time
Here you go ~ Enjoy and have FUN!
- Learn a new language
- Find a new hobby such as scrapbooking, crocheting/knitting or tatting
- Draw or paint
- Give yourself a mani/pedi, try a moisturizing face mask
- How do I love thee, let me count the ways…
- Start a blog
- Start a side hustle like virtual assistant, social media manager, or freelance writer
- Take online classes through Udemy, Coursera or Craftsy
- Take online college courses, for fun or for a degree. Many colleges have free classes available online. See Open.edu
- Learn graphic and/or website design
- Learn calligraphy, hand or brush lettering
- YouTube videos. It’s not all clickbait, there is a lot of educational content there too
- Listen to an audio book or podcast
- Read a book
- Do puzzles, crosswords or Sudoku
- Take a virtual trip to another country. Google ‘virtual trips around the world’
- Binge watch movies or a TV series that you haven’t seen
- Start a planner or create your own
- Learn how to create digital printables and sell them
- Write a poem
- Write a short story or a book!
- Journaling. Have you seen some of the amazing journal layouts out there??
- Write a list of all the things you are grateful for
- Create a bucket list
- Meal plan for next week, next month or the holidays.
- Exercise. I have a pair of 5lb free weights and a kettle ball I keep handy
- Learn how to play a musical instrument. There are some Ocarinas and Kalimbas that are small enough to take anywhere
- Plan the ultimate family vacation. I love researching things like this and it will keep me busy for hours!
- Play board or card games with your family
- Plan your short or long term goals. We get so stuck in the here and now that we often forget to set goals
- Play the stock market – for real or pretend
- Master photography
- Learn Sign Language
- Use sensory objects and fidgets; they are for everyone!
- Meditate, do yoga, or just relax
- Watch a TED Talk, documentary or Curiosity Stream
- Learn how to play chess
- Finally delete all those emails from your inbox
- When in doubt, browse Pinterest for new inspiration for home, life and family, with some new recipes thrown in.
- Listen to music. When was the last time you sat down and just listened?
How it has helped me
My depression and anxiety are probably at the lowest point they have been in the past year and I have a new enthusiasm for life that has been missing for quite awhile due to forced inactivity and caregiver burnout. I currently have tried about half of the things on this list and, honestly, I feel like a much better person for stretching my boundaries.
Right now, I have a fair amount of ‘situational boredom’ due to the fact I am short on support workers for my son. I have chosen to try to use this me time wisely, by improving myself and starting a side hustle, instead of spending it mindlessly playing video games or scrolling through Facebook and stressing about life in general.
What are your favorite activities to do when you have forced downtime? Leave a comment below!