Sometimes I get surprised at just how often I have to "take" time to do certain things. I often get so caught up in things like work and preparing for work (I'm a teacher) that I start to feel guilty about taking time to do things like hike or run or even just sit around and drink a cup of coffee and read for a while. But time for such things isn't something I should have to "take"--these things should be simply a natural part of my life the way I live it. I shouldn't always have to be productive, or busy doing things for which I can quantify how much I've done. Rather, I should be focused on things that will keep me sane, relaxed, and ready to face obstacles when they come up, instead of being so busy all the time that I get stressed out and I can't deal well with obstacles.
I do have to say, though, that I consider myself lucky--I recgnize the problem and I'm able to deal with it pretty well. When I catch myself thinking, "No, I can't do that," I regularly stop myself where I'm at and reconsider my decision--and very often I end up putting down whatever I'm doing in order to take that walk or go for that run or even to sit on the couch with a cup of coffee and do nothing for half an hour or so.
I know too many people, though, who aren't able or willing to do that same thing. Unfortunately, they end up being very stressed in their hectic lives, never realizing that their lives are hectic because of decisions that they make, not because that's the nature of life. They don't allow themselves the simple pleasures of slowing down and enjoying themselves, for they feel that doing so would take away from their productivity, or that they'd miss something important while they were "wasting" their time.
What is your relationship with time like? Sometimes I have to remind myself that there are 24 hours in a day, and not all of the waking hours need to be productive--heck, if I spend four hours doing non-productive things, then I still have 13 waking hours to accomplish things I need to accomplish. The question then becomes, am I not able to take time for more enjoyable things because I'm not using my productive time well? We all have a relationship with time, and for most of us it's a pretty complicated one. Have you examined and evaluated yours yet? When you do, make sure you consider the time that you should be "taking" for your emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Those may be the most important hours of your day, and if you're not taking them, then you're neglecting something quite essential.