Picture a book that had no margins — the words completely filling each and every page of the entire book. Would that book be an easy read? No, it would feel chaotic and busy, probably even overwhelming.
So it is with our lives. If we don’t allow white space to breathe and refresh, but instead pack every moment of every day full to the brim with to-do’s and projects, our lives will feel chaotic, disorderly, and exhausting.
If you have a full schedule, you probably won’t naturally find much margin or breathing room in your life. Instead, you have to be intentional about cultivating it. Here are some ideas:
1. Allow Two Extra Hours Each Day
Instead of packing every hour of the day with an activity or project, schedule in at least two hours of margin time. This is buffer time to allow for the interruptions that are bound to happen. And if you don’t have two hours’ worth of interruptions in a day, you can use the extra time to do something relaxing and refreshing.
2. Schedule Time for Refreshment
We’re all wired differently, but one thing is true for everyone: we need to make time for refreshment. What this will be and how this will look will be unique to each person.
Some people are refreshed by doing something like sky-diving or rock-climbing. Me? I’d prefer to have a heart-to-heart talk with a friend or to cozy up in a quiet and clean house with a hot cup of tea or coffee and a good book.
Ask yourself what truly refreshes you. Make a list of the things that come to mind and then think through how you can incorporate some of these things into your everyday life.
Maybe it’s taking time to call a friend to catch up for 15 or 30 minutes a few times per week. Maybe it’s hiring a babysitter so you can go out to coffee with friends for a few hours every other week. Or maybe it’s just shutting down the electronics early, making yourself a cup of tea and spending 15 to 30 minutes with a good book before bed.
3. Foster Beauty & Creativity in Your Life
Make time for beauty, art, and creativity in your life. Once again, what constitutes “beauty” for one person will look different for someone else. But we all need to take more time to soak up the beautiful things in our life instead of rushing through our days at breakneck speed.
One of the reasons I aim to always have some kind of handwork project going — be it knitting, embroidery, or something else — is because it gives me a sense of fulfillment to create with my hands. And this creativity often breeds creativity and energy in other areas of my life.
I also love to drink tea or coffee out of cute mugs, listen to music with rich depth, try yummy new recipes, watch movies and read books with really great story lines, and burn delicious-smelling candles. Each of these are little ways that I seek to cultivate beauty, art, and creativity in my life — and in our home. They are such simple things, but they inspire and enrich my life.
4. Count Your Blessings
If I’m too busy to count my blessings, I’m just plain too busy. Reading One Thousand Gifts really inspired me anew in this area.
My mom gave me a Blessings Journal — a little journal with one line for each day of the year for you to write a blessing down. I’ve loved this because it’s so simple: it only takes 30 seconds each morning to write down a blessing or two, but it helps me to start out the day reminded of the wonderful blessings in my life. You could do something similar with a notebook or journal.
Take time each day — either when you get up or when you go to bed (or anytime in between!) to recount the many things you have to be grateful for. This will change your whole outlook on life!
When you take time to breathe deeply and have margin in your life, you’ll not only be in a much healthier and happier place, you’ll also be more refreshed so you can give out to others. Not to mention, you’ll just plain enjoy life a whole lot more!
Want more practical help and inspiration for finding breathing room in your life? Pick up a copy of my book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode