What are you going to do to make time for yourself this year?
It’s the beginning of a new year. And with that new year comes brand new days, hours, and minutes that are just waiting to be filled with adventure.
But in all the adventures you are planning this year, I hope that you are also setting aside time for yourself.
Why? Because self-care should be an important part of your everyday life. It’s about loving yourself enough to give yourself what you need so you can better help with the needs of others.
Self-care is something I’m passionate about. I believe that when we fail to make time for ourselves, we will eventually wear ourselves out taking care of others.
I get that we all have busy lives. And you may feel that adding one more thing to a schedule that is already busy is incredibly overwhelming.
But as a busy working mom of six children, I can attest to the importance of self-care.
If making time for yourself is something you struggle with, here are some things that have worked for me.
Make time for yourself by scheduling it.
This may seem a little formulaic, but our lives are busy and most of us have a calendar of scheduled events. And, just like anything else in our lives, if it’s on the calendar it’s much easier to make things happen.
Schedule some time first thing in the morning—wake up a little earlier if you need to. Take some time after work or before you go to bed.
There are 24 hours in a day. Find the ideal time within those 24 hours and create a space on the calendar where you can take time for yourself.
Once it’s blocked out and on the schedule, do everything you can to keep that appointment with yourself. Treat it as if you are meeting someone important—because you are.
You are the only person responsible to take care of you. That’s an important job that you can’t defer to anyone else.
You don’t need a lot of time to make time for yourself.
If you have a large amount of time each day, or on a certain day of the week, that’s great! But even 15 minutes a day can make a huge difference in how you approach things.
A 15-minute walk, 15 minutes reading your favorite book, 15 minutes of affirmations, or 15 minutes of chatting with a good friend—all of these things can help relieve stress and strengthen your ability to tackle any challenges that may lie ahead.
The amount of time you spend matters very little compared to what you do in that time.
So whatever time you have—use it.
Let your family know when you’re taking time for yourself.
It’s much easier to make time for yourself when you have people on board to help you make it happen.
This will help you create not only time but an atmosphere of peace and relaxation without any interruptions.
Telling your family you are taking time out for yourself will help them see the importance of self-care in your life and serve as an example of what they should be doing in their own life.
Explain why you’re making time for yourself a priority and help your family understand that they should make time for themselves, too.
Everyone can benefit from this practice no matter how young or old they are.
Make a space in your home where you can relax.
Scheduling time and creating an environment are both important elements to help you make time for yourself. Another important element is making a space where you can physically go to have that experience of peace and solitude.
Whether it’s on the couch, outside, in an office, or in your bedroom, find a place where you can get away from all the external distractions.
Turn off your phone, close the computer, select do not disturb on your smartwatch, and just allow yourself to be present in the moment.
If you don’t have a space in your home, create one. If it’s impossible to get away from all the noise, buy some noise-canceling headphones and put on some relaxing music. Close your eyes and just allow yourself to be.
Regardless of whether or not you are able to have a physical space to make time for yourself, do all you can to create space in your own mind. Take time to be still and reflect, breathe in and out slowly, and recite some positive affirmations.
Whatever you do, limit the distractions, and focus on you.
Self-care doesn’t just have to be about fitness.
I think that a lot of times we think of self-care as getting ourselves into shape. For some people, that may be true, but it doesn’t have to be.
Self-care is more than fitness, it’s mindfulness.
Take time for yourself each day without putting all the pressure on yourself to achieve something.
The time you take doesn’t have to be focused on anything specific. It’s just about taking time for you.
Ask yourself what it is that brings you joy—then do that thing. Some days, that may even mean eating a piece of your favorite chocolate. Some days are just like that.
Take off all the pressure to perform or conform to someone else’s ideas (or maybe even your own) and just allow yourself to experience what it is that brings you joy.
Remind yourself that self-care isn’t selfish—it’s self-love.
If you’re anything like me, we go around with this sense of guilt when we take time for ourselves. We feel that when we’re doing something for ourselves, we are taking time away from something we could be doing for others.
I find that this is especially true for mothers. We feel that our focus should be on our family and if it’s not, we’re doing something wrong.
But the greatest thing you can do for your family is to love yourself. And loving yourself means taking care of yourself and your own needs so that you will be around to take care of everyone else.
When we take care of ourselves, we will do a much better job at taking care of others.
I know that for me when I’m consistently taking time for myself, the interactions I have with my family and friends are much more positive and uplifting.
When I feel refreshed, I feel ready to take on whatever it is that life throws my way.
I hope that this year, you do everything you can to make time for yourself. Because when you do, everything else will be much easier to handle.