If you are growing and maturing in emotional health, you’ll notice that your choices flow less from the stark oppositional realms of good vs. bad and and flow more from the less obvious subjective realms of good, better and best.
Sometimes we may fare just fine with any of them. But it may be worth the mental toil of exploring all angles and potential outcomes of each choice, since it’s much harder to undo most choices than not making one at all.
Our free time needs to be used to optimal measure for re-energizing, so it’s critical to weigh the benefits and costs and really choose well.
Setting clear parameters before making choices is crucial. Some examples would be to:
- separate critical needs over luxury items
- assign the proper weight of benefit to self and others, especially those who are in our care
- understand which goals can be altered and which are nonnegotiable
- make value judgments based on our core being and not someone else’s expectations of us
- retain healthy boundaries in knowing when to join in activities with others vs. when we need to refuel on our own
- being aware of our “holistic temperature” (i.e., knowing what area(s) need feeding — physical, mental, emotional & spiritual — and then being intentional with choosing well)
As an example, think about what choices would work best for a weekend following a more difficult work week. You would want to have sufficient time to refuel with enjoyable activities rather than committing to something that would bring more stress.
It also depends on whether you are prone to introversion or extroversion. For the introvert, it would be counter-intuitive to host a dinner party on Friday night instead of doing something that creates peace after the difficult week’s chaos. For the extrovert, a dinner party may be just the ticket!
You’ll know how to gauge your choices by noticing what feels less like an emotional deficit and more like an emotional gain. It may take some time studying what activities bring peace and which bring chaos. Something like a weekend camping trip with others may sound relaxing, but the preparation time and scheduling that is needed may burn you out more than bring restoration. You may choose to opt for a day hike instead.
What you want to avoid is re-entering the next week with a sense of frustration instead of refreshment because you have not been mindful of how to use your time well.
One main element needed for optimal flow and good choices is making sure you are living in the “now.” You need to be aware enough of your current physical and mental signals and flexible enough to change activities as needed, especially if conditions have changed. You will increasingly be able to clearly identify good, better, best activities when deciphering their holistic recharge value. This awareness will then create optimal flow and you will have less frustration.