A few days ago, a client revealed to me that she's a stealth leisurist, or someone who secretly indulges in time free from work or duties. For the record, this is not a woman who is lounging on the couch eating bonbons all day. This is a working mom who finds herself with the option of (somewhat begrudgingly) enjoying the occasional free time during the week.
Before you gasp and faint like an M&M meeting Santa Claus in this classic commercial, leisurists do exist. Although, don't try to look up this term in the dictionary because I completely made it up. Interestingly, the sample sentence under leisure in the dictionary is "I don't have much time for leisure." No wonder leisurists often operate in stealth-mode.
Yet, all this sneaky leisuring perpetuates the myth that we must be bionic about our busyness at the expense of our pleasure. Instead of contributing to our own mental and physical rejuvenation, we're contributing to the culture of shame and guilt over taking a little time for ourselves. Instead of upgrading our systems and rebooting into a better version of ourselves, we're feeling manic, panicked, and burnt out.
From my private sessions, I understand how very unsettling words like leisure, play and rest can be if they haven't been part of your vocabulary or your lifestyle. Also, I'm a Type-A woman brought up Catholic in New England. It took a whole lot of personal loss in my mid-20s to spend time on actual leisure, play and rest without having to first earn that time like a martyr.
When I did, it felt like freedom. It is freedom. And it could be yours, too, my friend.
As always, I want to give you a way into busting yourself out of this jam. Grab a pen, paper and timer. Ask yourself:
- Which one of my actions is most contributing to the cult of busyness? (We're all guilty some of the time, so don't beat yourself up.)
- How is that 1 action affecting my physical body? My mind? My energy?
- When I take this 1 action regularly, what is it teaching my family, friends, coworkers or other people I care about?
- In 11 minutes or less each day, how can I trade this 1 action for some not-so-secret, shame-free leisure time?
If you dug the questions above, but are about to flag this email to come back to when you have more time (likely never to return), I invite you to book a one-off Smart Start with me right now. You'll come away from this single session with a massive feeling of relief and 2-3 strategic action steps customized just for you.
Or take it from this recent Smart Starter: "If you're telling yourself you don't have the time or space for a session like this, you're the exact person who SHOULD sign up! You'll thank yourself!"