How to make time for yourself when you feel busier than ever.
I'm not ashamed to admit, I think I'm possibly one of the worst culprits for never making time for myself.
It's almost like a badge of honour, that I also hate wearing, and then also can't stop myself from putting on either! I find it one of the most challenging things ever in fact. Then after a really interesting conversation that ignited on Instagram this week, I couldn't not write about this topic. Essentially because, as I've found, I'm far from the only one in this pickle. So let's sort this pickle out together, k? 💋
Because I am said culprit, I also know there's a lot of work that needs to go into shifting our mindset first and foremost. We're the furthest from being used to 'doing me' so we need to drum that outta us first! I know, those times when you might happen to have an hour free, you can't possibly 'do nothing' because there's always something to do; the thought of sitting still or taking time out for you actually brings insane guilt and maybe even anxiety instead of pleasure; and the idea of planning some time for yourself seems over-indulgent and far from the best use of your time. Soooooo it doesn't happen. Am I ringing some familiar bells here? 😇
Well lemme tell you (and me!) something, that kinda talk is b*llocks. Big squidgy ones too. Because there is no time better spent than time looking after yourself, in whatever form that takes – relaxing, exercising, socialising, whatever. And we need to hear that before anything else.
If like me you run a business or have a full-on career, if like me you're a parent or a carer too, if you're plainly and simply reading this because the title spoke to you, I'll guess that soooo much of your time is dedicated to being there for others, right? Maybe even all of it. Children, clients, colleagues, friends, family. You being able to do stuff for others is your lifeblood, people need you. And because I know that truly means something to you, I have a cold, hard truth I want you to take to heart;
Your rising frustrations, your shorter temper, your building stress levels, your physical health straining, your waning patience – you are putting that on them. And it's a choice that you're making to do that. You're making a decision to allow obstacles (work, children, duties) as reasons to not prioritise yourself, and ironically, the people you care about most (your family, your friends, your colleagues, your clients), are being made to suffer because of you.
Just mull over that for a second and take it in, because it's powerful stuff 💔 and something you need to remind yourself of while you're trying to do a million things for everyone else but you, and you feel that weight bearing down on you again.
So did you hear me? Did I hear me?! 😂 Yes I did. So I'm going to suggest applying an approach that I use in every other area of my life (but somehow never managed to apply to my wellbeing) – if you want something hard enough, you will work it out. No-one's gonna wrap up a lovely chunk of me-time in a pressie-pres-pres for you, sad as that is. You've gotta take it. No-one's going to change your situation but you. But despite it solely being on us, that doesn't mean I'm leaving with that and saying 'good luck, ta ra' 👋🏻 I've been doing my homework and I've got some ideas we can try to get this me-time show on the road 💪🏻
Mix business with pleasure
So many people advise against this as a general rule, but in our circumstance, I think it's a goodun to try out. I'm talking about doing some work or taking kiddies for pushchair walks at the same time as listening to a podcast or audiobook; I'm talking parking that bit further away from work or getting off public transport a stop or two earlier, and squeezing in some fast-pace walking to your favourite music; I'm talking combining cooking the dinner with some bostin' tunes and dancing. Yes they're only slithers of time, but it's slithers for you all the same.
Have a me-time treat list
I'm definitely making this one a part of my routine, because I'm a total fecker for occasionally getting the odd bit of time to myself unexpectedly, and I'll mindlessly fill it with cleaning or working or social-scrolling or doing something for someone else, instead of doing something for myself. And that's mainly because I don't know what to be doing for myself, and I'm too busy to think of something on the spot, so I slip back into default mode! Rest assured, I've got you boo. Download your free Me-time Treat List below and fill it in (like right now! No procrastinating!), and spend a little while dreaming away what you could do with all the lovely spare time you might have one day. So basically, the next time you accidentally find yourself with five minutes, 15 minutes, or maybe even a whole morning – you know exactly what to do 🙌🏻 It works because if you know you're being productive with your time and not wasting it, there's no need for guilt! Winner! This is also a corker for when you tap open Instagram or Facebook on auto-pilot without needing to be on it, revert to your treat list and choose something nice you could do for yourself instead.
Plan an escape
This might seem elaborate and indulgent, and maybe it is, but so freaking what!? We all deserve s slice of indulgence once in a while, what's the point of going through all of this if there's no slice of time for you to enjoy life? So we're going for the big-guns here – like booking some time off work, (yes, actual time off work to do nothing but look after you). Book an evening of being undisturbed from your fam. Book a night away by yourself. Organise childcare, organise work-cover., organise, what you need and book whatever works for you. But whatever you do, just book it. And make it a non-negotiable booking too that you do regularly, maybe every few months. Hardcore, unadulterated you-time. And when your inner-martyr-voice pipes up, as it inevitably will, remember that this time that you crave [and need] to just switch off and do something 100% for you will not appear by itself. You have to gift yourself with it.
Focus on the process, not the outcome
Now this one's a biggie, so soak this baby in.
If you think about it, like reeeeeally think about it, do you prioritise long-term happiness, or short-term results; the process or the outcome? I think generally-speaking, we're all guilty of the latter, blunt but true – we all tend to sit in the realm of focusing too much on the results. We inevitably then get p*ssed that the results we want aren't arriving quick enough, aren't happening at all, so we give up, continue on with our frustration without getting anywhere, and change absolutely nothing (me included btw) 🙋🏻
The trick we all need to master, is working out what process we can implement to give us our best chances of reaching the outcome we want. It's the only thing we can do. Let me give you some examples;
1. Your desired outcome is meeting the love of your life
If you think about it, you know you can't realistically control if/when you meet this person (the short-term outcome you're focusing on and getting frustrated by), but you can control whether you commit your time to going on a few dates a week (the process we can implement that gives us the best chance of reaching the outcome).
2. Your desired outcome is to feel calmer and less hectic
If you think about it, you know you can't control stopping a lot of the things that get flung at you during the course of a day (the short-term outcome you're focusing on and getting frustrated by), but you can control whether you choose to say no to some things, take them on your shoulders, or delegate to someone else (the process we can implement that gives us the best chance of reaching the outcome).
3. Your desired outcome is to make time for yourself on a regular basis
If you think about it, you know you can't control the fact that your children/clients/colleagues/friends are going to ask things of you and need your attention (the short-term outcome you're focusing on and getting frustrated by), but you can control whether you choose to commit to some of the ideas I've suggested here and enforce and guard your time more fiercely (the process we can implement that gives us the best chance of reaching the outcome).
But as I said before, we're in this together honey so let's give these ideas a whirl and see what sticks. I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below, or over on Instagram. But if you can't find time for that, just make sure you find time for you! 💋