Let's look at some ways you can make "me" time a reality:
First, decide that you deserve some time to yourself each day. Stop feeling guilty for taking time out for you, and realize in the long run, it's a win-win for everyone. When you are tired, stressed out and pulled in too many directions, it is hard to give your best to all you must accomplish. Remember, self-time is not selfish—it's a necessary dimension of self-care!
Decide how best to spend "me" time. How each of us chooses to spend free time is as individualized as we all are. If you had an extra 15 minutes, a half hour, an afternoon or an entire day, what would you do to make yourself feel rejuvenated, relaxed and happy? Write a list and keep it handy when you begin scheduling time into your calendar.
Evaluate the things that are wasting your time each day. Do you check your emails constantly and end up spending more time on your computer than you planned? Do you answer personal calls in the middle of your workday? Run to the supermarket daily to pick up dinner rather than plan in advance and shop once? If this sounds like you, you must take the time to organize your responsibilities, and you will gain more free time than you can imagine.
Learn to say "no" to requests to do things that you don't really want to, don't value or don't bring you satisfaction and joy.
Ask for help with chores that don't necessarily have to be completed by you alone.
At the beginning of each week, take a few minutes to designate specific time slots for all that must be accomplished—including "me" time. Treat your personal time like you would any other appointment and make it non-negotiable.
Commit to a minimum of 15-20 minutes of "me" time every day. Do something (or nothing) that completely lets go of responsibilities and releases your mind, allowing you to be alone with your thoughts.
Create a daily ritual. This can be a bath, listening to music, taking a walk or meditating. Make it something you can look forward to. Years ago, when my children were small and life felt too hectic and overwhelming, I created a ritual for "me" time. I decided it was well worth it to get up 45 minutes before the rest of the family to enjoy my coffee and breakfast in solitude. To this day it's my time to read, daydream or just bask in the sounds of silence. Looking forward to this time, and a coffee pot on a timer, gets me out of bed with a smile on my face.
Stop wishing you had more time to yourself, and commit to carving it into your schedule. Rather than bemoan your lack of time, change your approach and create the time using the tips above. You will be amazed at how a little bit of time to yourself can make a huge difference in your health and happiness!
Richardson, Cheryl. 1999. Take Time for Your Life: A Personal Coach's 7-Step Program for Creating the Life You Want, NY.
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