Ditching the Guilt to Find Time for Yourself
If ‘me time’ sounds about as possible to fit into your hectic schedule as climbing Mount Everest, you’re not alone. Most mothers I know fantasize about having time to focus on themselves and then feel guilty for even taking it that far!
Ditch the Guilt
Why should we feel guilty about taking care of ourselves? What kind of example are we setting for our kids if we don’t? And what message are we sending out to the world in general about how we feel about ourselves? If we don’t look after ourselves properly and give ourselves care and attention, how can we possibly take care of others to our full ability?
‘But there isn’t time!’
Earlier this week I had this discussion with some fellow mammies, and not having enough time came out as one of the top barriers to ‘me time’. The thing is though - there are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and we need to make some of that time our own - even if not every day, then once or twice a week at least. Carve out the time. Plan it, but don’t stress over it. Just do it and enjoy it.
Body, Mind & Spirit
Think about what you need; body, mind and spirit, be it journaling (to quieten your mind & empty some of what’s in it), exercise (great for body & mind), crafting (get the creative juices flowing), or simply take a long bath with soft music and aromatic candles. Whatever you choose, do it for you.
Find something you enjoy
You could meet a friend for coffee or a meal, or get lost in the latest blockbuster (one that isn’t aimed at 5 year olds,) get a facial, get your hair done, or you could also use your ‘me time’ to discover a new passion. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but just never got around to it? Sign up for a class locally or even online. Do something for you that have nothing to do with your family or anyone else.
If you’re not sure what it is you’d like to do, how about creating a vision board? Just think about how you would like to feel, what you would like to achieve, and pin images that represent those feelings onto either a physical corkboard or an online one. I used photovisi.com to create my own board. Don’t forget, you can change your board, or make a brand new board at any time; you can make short, medium, and long term boards: Whatever you feel like.
Make time to connect with yourself
We’re all so busy connecting and doing for others all day, that we can sometimes forget to check in on ourselves. A friend talked me into starting meditation classes a few weeks ago, and I have already reaped the rewards of 10 minutes meditation a day.
Go somewhere quiet, take some deep breaths and try to clear your mind of all the noise and clutter. If your mind starts to wander, don’t get angry, just acknowledge that happened and try again to relax and focus on your breathing. If you’re interested in meditation and want to try it at home; I recommend the Insight Timer app: It’s free and offers a range of guided meditations to help you with mindfulness (being present), de-stressing, self-kindness, and relaxation among others.
Ask for help
Let your partner/friend/ family member know what you’re planning. Ask them to help out with the kids, with dinner, with homework; whatever you might usually be doing during your now established ‘me time.’ You could work out an arrangement with a friend whereby they watch your kids while you do whatever it is you’ve decided to do, and then you can return the favour to that friend by watching their kids while they do something for themselves.
If it’s all a little daunting, if you think there are too many choices, if you think money is a barrier; just take a deep breath now and know that it’s not. Take a small step today towards minding you, giving yourself permission to do something for yourself. Start small and build on it: Go for a walk, listen to ‘your’ music on your headphones in your bedroom for an hour, colour in an adult colouring book (I kid you not, they exist & are very therapeutic), and learn to say ‘no’ to any demands on your time which are going to overstretch you.
What do you do for you?
Sometimes I’m on the ball with self-care, and other times I let it slip and don’t realise it until I’m so wound up and exhausted that I feel I need to step off the wheel! I’m hoping that the new vision board I’ve displayed in my bedroom (where I see it every morning) will remind me to fit some ‘me time’ into my schedule and not wind up feeling overwhelmed with all of life’s demands.
What do you do for you? Or, what would you like to do for you? We'd love to hear.