Part of being alive in the Lenten season – remember, Lent the “lengthening of things” – is figuring out how to use the extra sunlight. Spring break is here which means different things to each of us. Some are destination-driven with our kids, others are using the time to party in exotic places. Some of us are planning a spring cleaning. My kids are with Lauren in Virginia and I’m at home getting ready for an unfettered week of work and home maintenance projects.

Today, I relaxed. I indulged in March madness. My everyday life wasn’t present. I had the house to myself and my calendar was empty. I felt compelled to go to the gym, start a home improvement project, and make some progress on a number of fronts. Instead, I got on the couch and just watched basketball. I fell in and out of sleep. Nothing was demanding my time. The day was lengthened enough for me to just relax.

Against my sensibilities this seemingly self indulgent relaxation felt like exactly what I needed. I didn’t check my phone or do the dishes in the sink. I just reclined on our couch and drifted in and out of sleep. For many, this opportunity to unplug seems inaccessible. I admit that today was a luxury, but it felt like a necessity. I’d press on anyone bearing tremendous weight that you figure out how to get this time in.

Make a way for unfettered time where you can just relax. Your body and mind need to be renewed and restored, not simply for your ability to fulfill your regular duties but because relaxation is fundamental to a life well lived. You need time to just think or not. You need time to just ignore everything.

This isn’t a refutation of responsibility. It’s not even a call to self care. I’m asking you to just stop. For ten minutes or ten hours, dismiss yourself from everything that requires you to be present. You’ll find that not only do most of your stressors work themselves out without you, you’ll find that the time being just whatever will restore an enjoyment of your regular that you need.

You will appreciate your life more when you surrender it to time that you know you should spend more wisely. This is because you can choose how you spend that time. It is liberating. Do it infrequently, but do it well. Relax and don’t apologize for it. You have too much at stake when it’s time to perform to be exhausted and ill equipped. Relax for a moment. That time you feel you’ve wasted was an investment that will lengthen your time in the day to day.

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