If your days are bogged down by a busy schedule, it might feel impractical – if not impossible – to make room for some much needed Me Time. Do you feel selfish shutting out the world around you when your colleagues and loved ones clearly need you? Shouldn’t that be the least of our concerns in the face of an endless to-do list?
Not at all. In fact, taking time for yourself is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and those who count on us. Our daily responsibilities and obligations drain us of the energy and focus vital to tackling work, relationships, and the world at large. Simply put, taking time for self-care is taking time to ensure we bring our best selves to the table. The difficult truth is that the times we feel we couldn’t possibly take the time for self-care are the times we most need it.
That still begs the question – how do we find time for ourselves when we can barely keep up? We’re so glad you asked.
How To Fit Self-Care Into Your Busy Schedule:
Tune into Your Needs
It’s important to understand that self-care isn’t a luxury – it’s vital to being a physically and emotionally healthy human being. The first step of self-care is taking the time to sincerely ask yourself: What do I need? Give your body and mind the same attention you give your work. Do you notice when your stomach starts to rumble and take a moment to refuel, or do you push hunger to the back of your mind in favor of finishing that report? Do you feel the tension in your shoulders and find a few moments to stretch before refocusing yourself, or ignore your stiff joints until you have a headache and nothing left to give?
Sometimes the answers are simple. Sometimes we just need to drink more water, set an alarm on our phone to ensure we don’t skip meals, and take five minutes for deep breathing before we start our day in earnest.
But sometimes the answers aren’t so simple. Sometimes we’re feeling lonely, or unfulfilled, or overwhelmed with our work load. Maybe you’ve been feeling less than stellar about yourself lately, and you need to set aside a few moments to say positive affirmations. Maybe you’re feeling isolated and would really benefit from a girl’s night out. Maybe a half hour of journaling before bed would allow you to let go of your worries and sleep soundly at night.
Only you know what you need. Make sure you’re open to whatever that is, and that you use your Me Time wisely. You’re worth that time and effort.
Start Small and Often
You may be familiar with the expression “go big or go home”. While that’s a nice thought, it’s not really a philosophy you should be applying to making life changes- especially changes you want to stick.
Self-care is most effective when you focus on fitting in a little TLC frequently throughout the day, rather than setting aside a huge chunk of time once in a blue moon. Just a ten minute activity, such as journaling or meditation, can make a huge difference in your day to day life. The goal here isn’t to take care of yourself more and better than anybody else. The goal is to live a more sustainable lifestyle, whatever that means for you.
Cut Down on Time Wasters
Facebook and Instagram are a great way to keep in touch with loved ones, and vegging out in front of your favorite Netflix show can be tempting after a stressful day. But is it really worth the time you put into it? Does that time leave you feeling happy, refreshed, and ready to tackle tomorrow? Or does it leave you feeling less than, isolated, and further behind in life?
It’s important to be honest with ourselves about what we invest our energy into – and what we ultimately get out of that investment. In the moment, maybe it does feel good to endlessly scroll. But would we feel better if we took half an hour to go on a walk? Ten minutes to call up a friend and engage with them in real-time, rather than watching their life from a distance? Sure, these activities require more effort in the moment. But wouldn’t you say they also yield higher rewards?
One way to be certain you have time for yourself is to schedule it. Find a gap in your calendar and set aside time for an appointment with yourself. Then – and this is key – stick with it.
Maybe you only have a ten minute gap. That’s okay. Just taking the time to breathe deeply, stretch, and refocus can make a huge difference in your performance and mood. A ten minute workout is better than no workout. It’s better to commit to realistic goals than try to force a routine you know you won’t keep up with.
It’s not easy to say ‘no’ to commitments and requests from our colleagues and loved ones, but it is necessary. We have to reserve our energy for what is truly important in our lives, even if that means turning down invitations and requests we’d rather say yes to. It’s not always easy to stand our ground in the face of pressure from others – we can start to get the idea in our head that we’re being selfish, letting others down, or that we should be able to do it all. But that kind of thinking is just setting ourselves up for failure. It’s doing a huge disservice to everyone who counts on us – who needs us to be at our best when we’re tackling deadlines and investing in relationships. It’s important to set firm boundaries and prioritize what is truly necessary. When our schedule is already jam packed, every ‘yes’ is taking up a vital portion of our time and energy. Choose where to spend it wisely.
Ok Girl! Go schedule that self care and head to this post for some free ideas!