We all know that a little self-care goes a long way and that a slathering of me-time can be just the thing that allows us to show up fueled, inspired, and at our best. Problem is when time is a hot commodity, time for yourself can be hard to fit in.
Stress and overwhelm limit your ability to problem solve and to think creatively about how to make time for you. And yet, these are the circumstances when taking that time pays off the most. A well-spent ten minutes can stave off a chocolate binge, help you sleep better, reenergize or focus you, and help you refuel.
Here are three sneaky (but effective) ways to make more time for yourself – for the long haul.
1. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
For many busy women, the hardest part about taking time for yourself is actually taking it. Make me-time easier by setting a routine that happens automatically. In other words, make the decision once instead of over and over. SIP is an acronym that can help. Schedule your time for you as a routine. Whether it’s a daily walk, a monthly massage, or a ritual of taking ten minutes to journal or meditate when you get up in the morning, designate it as “something I do,” declare it non-negotiable, and set it up on a recurring basis.
Inform those around you that this is what you will be doing. Let your family know you’ll be taking ten minutes of quiet time when you get home from work. Let your assistant know that you’ll be shutting your office door for fifteen minutes in the afternoon and are not to be disturbed or that you are blocking out your lunch hour on Thursdays for a recurring yoga class. Set the expectation that you are a woman who makes time for her needs. No one else will do this for you. The P in SIP stands for pay. Consider paying in advance if it helps you honor your commitment to you. Sometimes it’s easier to keep an appointment with yourself if you’ve paid in advance for the personal training, the writing class, the spa time, or the vacation.
Set the expectation that you make time for your needs. No one else will do it for you.
2. Pay yourself first.
Don’t try to squeeze in me-time at the end of your day when you’re too tired and depleted to really use it. You’ll likely end up substituting mindless eating or some type of zoning out for real, quality me-time, and it won’t nourish you.
Instead, pay yourself first. Schedule time for you early in the day when you are fresh and the time you spend on yourself will pay dividends by improving your energy, your focus and clarity, and your motivation for the day. You’ll probably find that you get that time back and then some. Getting up ten minutes earlier to allow for a little yoga, quiet time, a breath of fresh air, or some contemplation will set you up for a better and more successful day.
3. Pare down your time wasters.
Seriously, how much time do you spend on email, social media, and TV you don’t even like? I bet it’s a lot and it’s probably more if you are depleted. Guess what? You can “steal” from this time and spend it on yourself. Challenge yourself to only check email 2-3 times a day and turn off your email alerts. Set a timer before you enter your inbox. It will prevent you from losing yourself in a black hole and you can spend the time you saved on you. Do the same with social media and television. Don’t float into Facebook or Pinterest “by accident” or on autopilot. Decide (before you go) how long you will spend there.
The sneakiest way to make time for yourself?
Adopt the mindset that self-care and me-time are non-negotiable if you are going to show up in your life as your best version of you. By non-negotiable, I mean that your appointment with you is just as important as your son’s soccer game, your dentist appointment, or anything else you enter into your calendar. When something is required you make it happen. That’s what I know about you.