Making time for self care
Many of us lead busy lives juggling multiple responsibilities and the one thing we don’t seem to have enough time for is ourselves. In today’s world, there’s a lot of pressure on women in particular –many combine roles as daughters, mothers, wives and professionals, and together that can make finding the space to relax feel challenging at best.
Self care is an individual practice and it includes any means we take to care for our physical, mental and emotional health. However, taking time out might sometimes be seen as self centred and indulgent, so when a spare moment arises we tend to be more inclined to catch up on errands instead of enjoying time for ourselves.
Despite these potential views, health professionals’ suggest that the activities we do to feel calm and rejuvenated are preventative actions against burning out. If we don’t take care of ourselves first, it’s difficult to be there for those around us.
Here’s our best tips for finding time for yourself and developing a self care practice.
1. Schedule in ‘me time’
Treat your downtime like any other appointment and schedule it into your calendar. Spend a few minutes at the beginning of each week designating specific slots for “me” time.
2. Make yourself a priority
It’s important to remember that self-care is essential to your wellbeing. A lack of downtime can lead to one feeling overwhelmed, tired and unfocussed, yet after some time to switch off, you’ll be likely to feel clearer and more able to dedicate your full attention to the tasks at hand.
3. Limit your media consumption
Evaluate the activities that regularly waste your time. It’s easy to spend hours clearing emails, answering phone calls and checking social media, which can be disruptive. Commit to checking these things at a specific time once or twice daily, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish when you’re free of distractions.
4. Learn to say no
Sometimes it’s worth saying no to the non-essential tasks that come up. Eliminating these can create some extra time for yourself, and alleviate the pressure you may feel to tick everything off.
But sometimes say yes!
Learn to accept help from family, friends and the wider community when it’s offered. You don’t have to take everything on alone, and a little assistance here and there will help to lighten the load.
5. Stay present
We live in a multi-tasking society and often spend time thinking about what we have to do next, when we could focussing on finding joy in the present. Practicing mindfulness is a handy way to avoid getting caught up in your thoughts and splitting your energy between too many things at one.
Even without long periods of free time, you can still sneak in small moments of relaxation. Here’s some ideas to help you feel re-energised in as little as five minutes.
- Be still. Sit outside for five minutes and just watch the world go by.
- Get lost in a good book.
- Try journalling - spend a few minutes writing out your thoughts.
- Call a friend to chat.
- Find a nearby park or waterfront and go for a walk.
- Pay attention to something you normally do on auto pilot. It could be as simple as eating a meal or driving to work.
- Take five minutes to focus on breathing deeply. It’s okay if your mind wanders, but try to bring it back to following each inhalation and exhalation.
- Take a quick break from your desk and stretch or walk around the block.
- Enjoy some pamper time at home and give yourself a manicure or facial.
- Experiment in the kitchen with a new recipe you’ve been wanting to try.
- Plan a weekend activity to look forward to with a friend. Whether it be a meal out, a trip to the local farmers market or a morning stroll.
- Bring out your creative side and take on a DIY craft project.
- Have a relaxing evening soak in the bath. Essential oils and a couple of candles would be a treat, too.
If you have any self-care suggestions to add, feel free to leave us a comment below.