Sometimes the work week can feel really long when we fail to be productive with our evenings. So here are some hints and suggestions to make your weeknights more invigorating.
Don’t just veg
I know after a long day at work sometimes you just want to veg in front of the tv. However, take it from an ex-vegger (is that even word?) don’t do it! With Netfilx it’s oh so easy to just watch five episodes of your latest favorite show. Don’t you just feel blah afterwards? I know I do. One or two episodes of something is nice, but what about trying something different?
Start exercising. If you're into sports (God bless you - I am not) join a team. I have a girlfriend who plays basketball every Thursday and loves it. If sports are not your thing try dancing. Sometimes I go to a swing club with some friends and dance the night away. Or grab a friend and plan to have a zumba evening every Thursday. Or get a gym membership. Or if your wallet is feeling empty try exercising with a youtube video. I try and do an easy kick boxing video every evening. It’s only 20 minutes but it’s movement that boosts your mood and health. So try every evening to do some sort of physical activity.
You probably have some artistic talent. For me it’s music I try and play and sing a piece once a week. I also cross stitch, crochet, make perler bead creations, and joined the adult coloring book bandwagon (because I can’t draw to save my life). I also try and cook one new recipe a week and bake different creations. I also have friends who do pottery, draw and paint, knit, felt crafts, write, or have little herb/flower gardens (I murder plants in my spare time so I don’t recommend that hobby). These are just a few creative outlets you can try because it really makes a difference if you even do ten minutes a day of something creative and enjoyable to you.
Now I know some people hate reading (which is weird in my mind). Mark Twain once said, “The person who won't read has no advantage over the one who can't.” You don’t have to read a book a week, but even just reading a poem in the evening with a glass of wine will help you feel so much better, both intellectually and emotionally. Reading is the gateway to compassion in my opinion, because whether you read fact or fiction, the reader is forced to encounter characters and imagine how they feel - what drives them to make the good or bad choices they make within the narrative. I recommend trying to read a few different things: something spiritual, something intellectual, and something fun, yet interesting to you. Reading expands your mind, heart and vocabulary so get a library card or go to a second hand shop and get some books!
This is one I definitely don’t do as much as I should but even 15 minutes a day of prayerful silence - saying the rosary, reflecting on scripture, etc. - can make a world of difference. I think it’s always good to try and aim to go to daily Mass when you can, however, if you work full time, sometimes your hours just don’t work with Mass times or your location of work. So try maybe once a week to get that extra time for Christ in your life. It will make your evenings so much more productive. Trust me.
I say this as an introvert - just to be clear. I also say it as a country girl who after being in the easy socializing environment of college life for four years, found herself living alone in a new city. So believe me when I say I get how hard it is to socialize. I had to carve out my own social life by myself and it took me about two and half years. But I did it. My recommendations are go to Church events: bible studies, choir practices, and yeah, awkward house parties where you know no one. You heard me - pop, pop, pop those comfort zone bubbles. Because as soon as you get to know one good Catholic friend, you will find you have ten more in no time. Everyone knows everyone in the Catholic world so once you have put in the time and effort to make friends, keep putting in the time and effort to keep those friends and be a good friend. Plan to meet up with people for coffee, have skype dates or phone calls with old friends with college. Make it happen, because you need community and you need friendships and you need to grow in charity and be a good friend. You don’t need to have big parties if you don’t want to socialize, just have one or two friends over and watch some downton abbey, have a crocheting evening, make hot toddies and make some lovely baked goods to go with it. Say yes to every invitation, get out and see people! Winter can feel so isolating and sometimes you need to make the effort, even though all you want to do is stay inside your comfort bubble.
So there you have it, some ideas to make the most out of your Febrary evenings and help you make not just the most of your time but, also make you a better woman.