Most people know what we mean when we talk about the benefits of unplugging and spending more time on self care. It comes as no surprise that unplugging is beneficial for our wellbeing, and yet, the first question people ask us is always: how do I find the time? There are 24 hours in a day, so why is it so hard to find a little “me time?”
Unfortunately we can’t magically add hours to a day or slow down time (if you know how, please enlighten us...), but we can choose how to spend our time. No matter how many roles, tasks, and responsibilities we have, time for self care should always be a top priority. Self care isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.
So how do you make self care a priority? We’re no experts, but we do have a few favorite strategies for finding more “me time” during the day. Let’s try them together, shall we?
1. Get up 30 minutes before everyone else.
This can be cruel if you’re not a morning person, but it’s a simple and effective way to “add time” to your day. Try waking up a half hour earlier than the rest of your family to enjoy a cup of coffee (or tea). Allowing yourself to start the day slowly makes room for introspection and puts you in a good mindset. Then you’re ready to bring on the busy morning routine!
2. Put yourself at the top of your priority list.
Make a top 3 ‘to-do’ list every night and always include “me time,” whether it’s in the morning, afternoon, or night. Prioritizing your to-do’s the night before allows you to adjust your schedule accordingly so you can ensure some time to yourself. Then all you have to do is stick to it! Hold yourself accountable, like you would with a meeting or lunch with friends. Everyone benefits when we make self care a priority.
3. Less is more.
On that note, try putting fewer things on your “to-do” list in general. We’re all guilty of trying to squeeze too much into a day, a habit that keeps us “busy” but not necessarily present. Instead of running from thing to thing, try sticking to the “3 “to-do’s per day” rule. Doing so will help you feel less stressed out, more grounded, and more accomplished at the end of the day. Better yet, you’ll end up feeling like you have more hours in the day! Spend that time however you like: read an inspiring book, go for a walk, visit a friend, sit & do nothing, whatever you feel like.
4. Stop trying to be perfect.
This can be the hardest, but most important lesson for so many of us: you don’t need to be perfect. Let it go. Stop cleaning (it is good enough, really!), make a simple meal (no one will notice), post that blog (no need to re-write it for the 6th time), and put that call on your list for tomorrow (they’ll still be there). The time is now, use it wisely. Spend time on you.
5. Ask for help.
“No, I’m fine.”
“Really, I don’t need any help.”
“Of course I can do it!”
Does this sound like you? We’ve certainly said these things a time or two. The truth of the matter is that, while we might not want to admit it, we all need a little help every now and then. And as much as you like to help other people out, they might like to help you once in a while too. So, consider this your permission to ask for help. We promise it won’t hurt a bit.
6. Focus and be present.
Whatever you have planned in a day, be present and focus on the task at hand. This will not only get things done faster, but will also make you feel more satisfied while checking things off your to-do list. Go ahead, get into the flow of the moment!
Ever spent your time mindlessly browsing social media? Guilty of grabbing your phone whenever you have a spare moment? Us too! Try planning your social media time more deliberately. We suggest checking your social media once in the morning, once after lunch, and once after dinner. Yes, that’s it. It might sound daunting, but you’re not really missing out on anything. We promise ;).
8. Say no more often.
We just love to say yes. Being “yes people” makes us feel good. But saying “yes” too much can lead to overcrowding your calendar and leave you with a to-do list ten miles long. It might take some practice, but saying “no” can be easy and will free up more time in your schedule. And believe us when we say, you can say “no” and people will still like you. Be kind, but say no more often.
9. Don’t waste time waiting.
We can all be impatient. Waiting can feel like hell. But there is a way to make “waiting” less of a “waste of time.” Try creating a list of inspirational podcasts, articles, and Tedtalks to listen to during your “waiting” time. Or simply spend that time being present. Sitting mindfully and have a moment to yourself. When you live life like this there is no such thing as time wasted.
10. Start small.
Let’s be real: we don’t always have an hour a day for self care. We’re here to tell you, that’s ok! Even 5 minutes is better than none. Taking these small steps makes a huge difference and once you’re in the habit of spending “me-time” it’s easy to add a few more minutes.
It only takes one small step to make a giant impact on your life. Start spending your time wisely and make a difference in your own life. Pick one thing you can do today. Begin to get in the habit of making yourself a priority. And remember: self care is a gift for you AND those around you. Let’s do this together, we’re with you.