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“Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.” —Thomas Jefferson
While I wholeheartedly agree that afternoons are a wonderful time for recreation and exercise, I would argue that there is plenty of time for reading and learning as well.
From approximately 3pm until I curl up in bed with a book during the work week is a time that I consider my time. And what I mean by my time is time that is allotted for keeping the steady pace of my life running smoothly.
While each of us has a different work week schedule, most likely you have a window in each day in which you are free to schedule as you need, but still tasks must be tended to. And within those tasks, is the necessary time to tend to your peace of mind.
A simple luxury every day is pulling into my driveway, and stepping out of my car to greet my dogs. Nothing like their exuberant welcome home signifies that it is time to engage in an afternoon routine that will be restorative as much as it helps to facilitate the momentum of moving successfully from one day to the next.
~see more of this beautiful home here~
One of my readers on IG recently asked me how to design an afternoon routine that helps cultivate a simply luxurious way of living. And, as I always reiterate, everyone’s will be unique based on the many variables that differentiate us all, the key is ensure whatever you do does the following:
1. Allows you time to decompress
In other words, you need time each day to put your walls down, take the work mask, the girlfriend, wife or mother mask off and just be with your own thoughts without worrying about judgment or behavior.
2. Offers time for reflection
Regardless of whether your day was celebratory or cringe-worthy, time to take a deep breath and put into perspective what has occurred is a healthy way to set aside the emotions that you may have been feeling at the time and put yourself right. In other words, while we must allow ourselves to feel confused, elated or injured, we also need to think clearly about how to move forward tomorrow. This act of reflection can be simply writing in your journal or taking a walk and allowing yourself time to process the situation away from the place in which the emotion was sparked.
One approach that has worked well for me lately when it comes to quell unnecessary analysis or worry, is at the end of a good or bad day, I refer to a list of emotions, categorized by a general feeling: anger, happy, confused, indifferent, alive or open (a sample list is here) and simply list in my journal how I am feeling. I don’t have to necessarily explain why, but to pinpoint exactly what I am feeling helps me understand why that feeling is causing me to act in a certain way.
3. Enables you to relax
Everyone will have a preferred way of relaxing. Some people will want to meet up with friends or go jogging with a running partner. Others will want to sit in their favorite armchair with a cup of tea and flip through the latest decor magazine. Whatever it is, allow yourself this time each day. Take care of you so you can take care of your life. Other ways to relax: order take-out and enjoy conversation over dinner and a glass of wine, give and receive a foot rub, take a bath, listen to your favorite music, sit out on the porch and rest your eyes, pet your dog, watch your favorite television show, go to a movie, a play or out to dinner at a favorite diner or cafe.
~see a tour of this home here~
4. Tickle the mind
Maybe it’s the book you read before you go to bed, or for me recently it has been my French language class four nights a week. Better yet, read the newspaper and discover the latest study on health or good living. No matter what it is, always remain curious, and you will continue to live well.
5. The means and time to refuel or re-energize
Refueling comes in a variety of ways. Beginning with taking the time to exercise and care for our bodies, it always refers to the time that is needed to tend to our beauty, our emotional health and our bodies needs such as a healthy, but delicious dinner. Upon coming home, pick up your yoga mat and hold a few poses for fifteen minutes. Or put your dogs on the leash and head outside to stretch your legs. Don’t forget to enjoy that monthly facial and indulge on those every once in a while days when you get your hair cut and colored. Ah, then the evening arrives: step into the kitchen and find the pleasure of cooking a meal that is as flavorful as it is fulfilling. Last, but certainly not to be forgotten, prepare and then enjoy a restorative night’s sleep.
~see how this DIY pantry remodel was done here~
Lastly, while this isn’t part of the list, keep in mind that while every work day afternoon won’t follow the same routine, incorporate set signals that tell your mind and your body that it’s okay for it to relax. First of all, a recent study from Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that eating fiber, rather than food high in sugar and saturated fat is best for a restorative night’s sleep. So do pay attention to what you eat, not only before bed, but throughout the day. For me, I crave my hot tea and chocolate truffle before bed. That is my brain and body’s signal to begin to fall asleep and drift to dreams.
Ultimately, it is the everyday habits we welcome into our lives that make a significant difference on the quality of our lives. Enjoy exploring what works for you. While I have set activities and rituals that will always be a part of my routine, walking my dogs, reading, cooking and nibbling on chocolate, I am always looking for ways to improve it when I feel something isn’t allowing me to get the rest and restoration that I need.
If you would like to share your afternoon ritual and routines, I would love to hear and I know the other TSLL readers would as well. Please do share in the comments below. And may your afternoon be simply luxurious!
~THOUGHTS FROM THE EDITOR posts from the Archives: