I've been reading a book called Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindburgh. A good friend gave it to me for my birthday. It was written in 1955 but the musings, thoughts and ideas really resonate with me.
In 1955 in the US there were increasing numbers of gadgets designed to make life 'easier' in the kitchen and home, and it was becoming more normal for women to have life and careers outside the home too. But there were so many demands on time and attention that she felt that women needed to make time for solitude and creative pursuits, and that doing so would have a positive impact on their parenting, relationships and outlook.
I couldn't agree more, and yesterday had the good fortune to spend just a day on my own away from home, routine, chores and work. I walked in the woods and then down by the sea. I sat on a beach and read a book until my fingers went numb. So then I found a little tea shop and drank tea and read some more and wrote down the ideas and thoughts in my head. I had a day of drifting and it really felt like I was being recharged from the inside.
I think we need these pockets of alone time, unstructured and free. It's restorative and beneficial to our stress levels and emotional health. Even a few moments of quiet contemplation or meditation can help. Reading a book, colouring, knitting...engaging in something creative can be just as good for your physical health as a heart pumping exercise. See if you can schedule it in, alongside the exercise of course!