8 Ways to Find More “ME” Time
You take the kids to school. You let the dogs out and feed them. You iron your husband’s work clothes. You pick the kids up. You pack lunches. You clean the house. You run errands. Am I missing something?
Easily enough, there are other things that you do that I didn’t mention. Women are often in charge of the household while holding down a full time job. You have many priorities in and out of the workplace. Often your health – mental and physical suffers as a result.
It’s time to change that! So the question is - how do you find time for you?
1. First, make yourself a priority. Yes, your family is important, too. But so are you! You should net not feel guilty for taking time out for you. At the end of the day, it really is a win-win for everyone. When you are stressed, tired and pulled in too many directions, it is hard to give your best. You may also be in a bad mood and take your emotions out on others, which could unintentionally hurt people you care about. Remember, self-time is not selfish—it's a necessary dimension of self-care! Plus it sets a good example for your loved ones.
2. Ask for help. If you’re in the habit of doing lots of things for others, this might be a good time to reevaluate, and reassign tasks. What could the kids be doing for themselves? Could your partner pitch in more? Are you taking full advantage of the kids in your neighborhood looking for odd jobs? Often times you will find that people want to help. It might take time to realign day to day tasks effectively, but very soon you’ll gain more time for yourself.
3. Learn to say no. This one, though self-explanatory, is likely one of the hardest for you to accomplish. Women are pleasers. However, by saying yes, we can easily become overloaded. Set boundaries for yourself and your time. Maybe you won’t be bothered after 7pm on weeknights. Or maybe you will try to only volunteer events that have you have a personal connection to. Eventually, you’ll be able to prioritize your yes events better and will find a little bit of me time.
4. Find an activity that is relaxing. Reading, knitting, taking a bath, yoga, drawing, massage. There are a lot of options out there of what you can do to spend some time for yourself. Whatever your time out activity is, make sure that it is stress-free and a healthy choice. Commit to not only doing it, but enjoying it without guilt as well!
5. Unplug. Take a half an hour every day to turn off all your notifications on your phone. Step away from your computer. Put your ringtone on silent. Or be extremely daring and turn off your phone completely. On average, women use 22 percent more cell phone minutes than men, and they even text more, sending 154 more messages per month than the average American man. On average, we are on the phone for 646 minutes a month! That’s just over ten hours. Imagine how good it would feel if you took an hour away from your cell phone and used that time to do something for yourself. You will be better equipped to notice the small, daily pleasures of life.
6. Incorporate exercise. This can be as simple as going for a 30 minute walk each day. Walking is easy because you can do it almost anywhere and at any time. It also offers a range of health benefits. Walking gives you energy and improves your stamina for everyday activities, improves your mood and reduces stress, helps you relax and sleep better, reduces your risk of disease, and keeps the weight off.
7. Create opportunities. Me time doesn’t always have to be set in stone. Perhaps you find yourself with some time between appointments. Instead of trying to do more, consider taking that time as downtime. Find a quiet place to sit or go get a cup of coffee. Or practice relaxation techniques in a quiet location. Me time doesn’t have to be glamorous or meticulously planned. Sometimes the best times are those that just happen!
8. Make yourself accountable. It’s always easier to do something when you’re accountable to someone else for it. Talk to a friend or two and make a deal with them that you’ll both keep “tabs” to ensure the other is getting their “me” time. Perhaps some me time is hanging out with your friends. Whatever it is, challenge your friend to make a date with you!
The following blog was contributed by Melissa Brown, PsyD, of PinnacleHealth Psychological Associates.