Making a Date with Myself

Making a Date with Myself

My calendar is getting full.  Every year, September rolls around, and I get out my date book.  I write down the kids’ school days and their days off, I plan for weekly classes and play dates, I keep track of birthdays, birthday parties, and holidays, I schedule doctor and dentist appointments, and I block out the hours that I teach and see patients.  This year I scheduled special weekly time with Lucy and special weekly time with Nate.  For the past year and a half, my husband and I have scheduled at least one date night a week.

As my date book fills up, finding time for myself is a challenge.  If I’m lucky, I can schedule a workout or a walk, but even then, those plans are often the first to be scrapped if something unexpected comes up during the day.

So I’ve made a little promise to myself.  I will make a date with myself once a weekI thought I would share this promise in my newsletter, just in case anyone else wanted to join me … I don’t mean join me on my date, but I mean join me in scheduling their own date with themselves.

 

There is one relationship in our lives that is often the one that suffers the most; ironically, this relationship may very well be the most important relationship we make in our lives.  This is our relationship with ourselves.  It feels quite natural to put large amounts of energy into our personal, professional, romantic and familial relationships.  It is accepted and quite expected that we devote time and energy to growing and nurturing the relationships we have with the people closest to us.  But what about the person that is closest of all? 

We’re not taught as children to have a relationship with ourselves.  I hear comments made about children like, “Isn’t that great that she can play by herself?”  I am not sure that comments like these actually celebrate a child’s ability to spend time with him/herself, rather I think it is meant to celebrate the so-called freedom that this allows mom and dad to get things done around the house.  When I watch my daughter happily playing by herself (dancing, pretending, chatting, singing, swinging), I can only hope that she will remain that at ease and that comfortable in herself and by herself as she continues to grow and mature.

On our way to adulthood, we learn about and experience the things that take us away from ourselves.  We become distracted and anxious, nervous and overwhelmed, and busy and stressed.   We feel our bodies less and less, and we become self-conscious.  We become aware of being observed and noticed, and hence we become aware of how we look and especially how we look to others.  We feel criticized, judged, insecure and ashamed, and as a result, we develop a sense of ourselves that exists outside ourselves and feeds our critical voice.  We feel anxious, frustrated and stressed out.

The overall effect of becoming self-conscious, critical and anxious is that it becomes not so much fun to spend time with ourselves.  It is much easier to be distracted by television, a video game, a party, or a night out with friends.  Don’t get me wrong, I think our connections with our families, our friends, and our communities are of the utmost importance.  But those relationships are no more important than our connection to ourselves.

I have a date scheduled this week with myself, and I plan to make it a regular thing.  A lunch date, a coffee date, a hiking date, a yoga date … maybe even a weekend away date.   I will block off the time, and I will make it happen.  If I have to take a rain check one week, I will make good on my promise.

I invite you to join me.  Are you inspired to make a date with the most important person in your life?  Who knows, you might find that you are very good company and a whole lot of fun?

Together let’s prioritize ourselves in the new year.  Let’s make connecting with ourselves, feeling ourselves and growing and nurturing our relationship with ourselves happen.  Mark those calendars!  





Author Bio

Dr. Jenn Krebs Rapkin, ND

Dr. Jenn Krebs Rapkin, ND

A licensed naturopathic physician in private practice for over a decade Dr. Jenn Krebs Rapkin trained, and now teaches, at University of Bridgeport’s College of Naturopathic Medicine.  She developed and currently practices her own specialized Narrative Body Therapy and is the founder of A Mind-Body Practice, the only naturopathic medical practice in Connecticut to specialize in holistic and integrative mental health.  Dr. Rapkin writes regularly on the topics of health, wellness and mindfulness in her two blogs, The Mind-Body Blog and The Mommy Tune-up.

1 Comment

  1. Mom - September 12, 2013

    Dearest Jenn, what a great essay! As you know I am retired, I live alone and I always have something to do, but I think that I will try to make a date with myself – maybe even scheduling in a time to just knit or finish Nancy Thayer’s book. It is a great idea. I even have to schedule my time at Curves in my life, or exercise of which I place great value does not even happen. (There is no way that I could have had the strength to pick up my precious grandchildren and hold them close if I had not exercised these past 10 years). I am personally in awe of how busy, complicated and full everyone’s life is today. I am afraid that a life of simplicity will never return.

    Also, my dear, Paragraph 5 is a gem. As a child you loved to play by yourself – in fact you cherished that time alone. Your sister was in school from the time that you were born, and you had many a day to enjoy by yourself. You also loved to play with your sister when she was home and you had friends with whom we had an occasional special play date, but as I remember your childhood you were the happiest sitting on the floor making up your own games and enjoying yourself. I made sure that you had that time. As I watched you grow, I made the observation and always believed that children needed to learn how to play with themselves and be comfortable with themselves before they were placed in situations where they had to relate and cope with other people. All your life you have needed and cherished time to yourself, and I am so pleased to know that you have discovered that one way to have that time is to make it a priority and plan it into your week. Don’t forget, I am here to help you do it. I will come anytime you need someone to be with Lucy and Nate so that you can have that very special time alone – my time with them is my first priority!

    Thank you for sharing these ideas with all of us.

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