As women, we are programmed to take care of everybody else before we take care of ourselves. We’re doing it all! We’re daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, grandmothers, professionals, and we feel the stress and the pressure Every-Single-Day.
We all know how we feel after a couple of nights (or months) of not getting enough sleep, or how frustrating it is when we can’t even get 15 minutes a day to ourselves. But what can we do? Self-Care or Finding Me Time, taking time off to do something you enjoy as a means of taking the edge off and releasing the pent-up pressure of your daily responsibilities it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity!
Studies have shown that when women don’t prioritize themselves and their needs for, at least, a few minutes each day, they become resentful of those taking up their time and space. Then they start taking it out on their loved ones by lashing out, and being frustrated all the time as opposed to their usual caring selves.
Taking a break for yourself and some self-care gives you some time away, gives you the opportunity to relax, recharge, so that you can come back better equipped to carry out your daily commitments with more focus, clarity and a sense of enjoyment. being “in the moment” is crucial to your own personal sense of happiness and of those your care for.
“We’re a multitasking society. If we’re having a conversation with a friend, we’re thinking about the other things we have to get done,” says Allison Cohen, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles. “Instead, you need to be present in the moment…” Listen, really listen to the people you’re interacting with.
Those who practice meditation refer to this as “practicing mindfulness.” It gives you the power to control your emotions and lower your stress levels. When stress levels are low, your perspective on things tends to be more balanced, and positive, you’re not angry as much, you’re more organized, in control and energetic.
Here are a few tips to remind you how important it is to carve out some time for self-care.
Remember, You deserve it.
We as women, need to stop feeling guilty about leaving dirty dishes in the sink, sending the kids to their rooms for some quiet time of their own, and leave your work at work! That is the only way that you can start to lower your stress levels and free up some time for you during the day. Everything and everyone else can wait while you take 15 minutes for yourself.
Margaret Moore, co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital/Harvard medical School says, “You have to build in battery recharge time. We’re very good at project management in our work lives, but not so well in our personal lives. Treat it (self-care), like any project…”
Decide how you’d like to spend these precious minutes.
What do you want to do with your self-care time? Are you the woman that would love to spend some time exercising? Or does sitting down with a good book and a cup of tea or coffee really get you excited? Send the kids to bed 15 minutes early and take a nice, hot, leisure soak in the tub. Whatever gives you relaxation and time to free your thoughts and release some of the pressure, then that’s what you should do!
It takes practice, but you’ll quickly discover that you become a much calmer version of you when you make time for yourself, and who doesn’t want that!
Practice smart time management skills.
Do you check your email, surf the net or answer personal calls during your workday? Then it’s time to put a stop to it and anything else that wastes time and leads to nothing. Learning to organize your responsibilities should be your top priority, this will eliminate stress and free up time, which you can use for something more enjoyable.
Take some time during the weekend to sit down and organize your time. Write down everything that should be accomplished for that week. This means that sometimes you will have to say “no” to something or other that you don’t want to participate in because you know that it won’t bring satisfaction or enjoyment into your life.
On the plus side, if you’re facing a problem at work or at home, sometimes the best way to find an answer is to stop thinking about it altogether.
Channel your energy into doing something creative. Being creative could be what you need to grease those brainstorming wheels and regain your focus. It could also be the exact thing you need for better sleep.
Finding the time: Schedule Self-Care into your appointment calendar.
Well, unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day – you won’t ever be able to change that. However, you can free up some time here and there to your own personal gain. Juggling your work or study schedule, traffic and everything in between can be freakishly difficult to handle.
One of the easiest ways to be sure to have time for self-care is to schedule it into your calendar, just like any other appointment. This may seem easier said than done, but with a little practice, you’ll be surprised how readily you’ll be able to find the time. Just remember, not to get bullied by your sense of guilt into doing housework or running errands during your special time.
All you need are some smart organizational skills, and you can be the one in control of your time, and not the other way around.
- If you drive, use this time to listen to music or the radio. You can even enjoy the quiet and your own thoughts.
- If you can ditch your car and use public transportation, then you can use that time to do something you enjoy, like read a book or writing or even meditation.
- If you can walk, all the better. This way, you’re doing some exercising; you can listen to music or an audio book.
- If you have an appointment, try to get there 15 minutes, or even more, early so you can have those minutes to yourself.
- If you can, have lunch by yourself at least once a week. Go to the park to get a break from all the noise pollution, or if you can’t, stay in your car or a quiet cafe or restaurant where you won’t find any distractions.
Many associate being alone with loneliness, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Being by yourself allows you to enjoy your own company. You get back in touch with your interests, likes and dislikes so you know exactly what makes you happy, and a stronger version of yourself.
“Solitary time can help you have a better understanding of yourself, your thoughts, and your emotions,” says Katherine L. Muller, PsyD, associate director at Center for Integrative Psychotherapy.