I absolutely believe that we must have quiet time to look after ourselves before we have any chance of nurturing others. And that is true whether you are a mother, grandmother, colleague, friend, employee, boss, sister, aunty (or personal trainer, yoga teacher and health coach!) But when I speak about this with women I often get met with a stare. Sometimes blank (free time, what free time?) & sometimes openly hostile (you don’t understand my life, there is no way I can make free time!)
And there is the guilt. I completely understand the guilt! I decided to not teach classes in school holidays this year to give my 42 year old body a break. The first set of school holidays I didn’t take a break because I felt bad about letting my peeps down (and to be honest, I was a bit scared they would never come back). And then I got a really bad back and had to cancel classes anyway. And today is the first day of school holidays after second term and I have had fleeting moments of guilt that I won’t be there for my peeps for the next 2 weeks. But do you know what… we’ll all be better off after a break. I will be refreshed and so will my classes. Win-win!
And therein lies the key to making time for yourself. It needs to be scheduled! Sounds so easy until you try and put it into practice, right? Here are 3 tips to keep you on track:
Make a standing appointment
My most successful clients (the ones that achieve their goals and feel fantastic) are the ones that schedule their appointments at the same time, same day, every week. We both understand that sometimes things come up and an appointment might need to change. But a regular appointment really is the guarantee for “me-time” success.
If you work in a job that has erratic hours (and that includes having small children), then you might need to be a bit more flexible. But never leave one appointment without making a booking for the next one. This works well for massages, pedicures, facials, waxing (is that really me-time??), personal training or any other complementary therapies. Get a calendar on your phone and use it!
Pay attention to those moments you get to yourself
Ok, so I get that sometimes having appointments with others is a costly exercise. Both in time and money. And maybe that doesn’t work for you right now. So there is no reason why you can’t make an appointment with yourself. Use that phone calendar to schedule it in and set a reminder.
Even if you have a small child at home, there is some time in the day that you can call your own. And that might only be 5 minutes. So claim it! Choose to make that time your own. Put on some essential oils, meditate, play some soothing music (or something upbeat to dance to) or just relish in a cup of tea. Pay attention to the moments you do get to yourself and notice how amazing they can make you feel.
Have a chat to your loved ones
Have you ever noticed how hubby often just swans out the door when he has somewhere to be and that the kids never miss their afterschool activities? But you don’t have time for yourself? What the? Don’t get me wrong, this is not a blame game. There is a really good chance they don’t know you need time to yourself. Have you ever actually said so?
Maybe you have, and maybe you haven’t. Either way, today is a really good time to have another chat. Explain to your loved ones that you need to do things for you just like everyone else in the family (and even though you enjoy cooking, making dinner every night doesn’t count). Tell them about your plan for a monthly massage or a daily 10 minute meditation. Give them a chance to pick up the slack and let you look after yourself.
Some last words on “me-time”
The last thing I need to say, is that all of this is your choice, your life. If you are crazy stressed and you feel tired and overwhelmed most of the time and the thought of “me-time” makes you snort with cynicism… then something is seriously out of whack. It might be time to have a look at your life and make some serious changes. And believe me, I don’t say this lightly. I left a 6-figure salary, my gorgeous friends and the rat-race in Sydney to start over in Albany. I moved across the country with no job and just a dream. Because I knew that life had to be less stressful and much more rewarding. Nowadays my “me-time” comes first (mostly) and I schedule everything else around it. And I’ve never been happier.
Which one of these tips will you use to get more “me-time” in your life? Let me know in the comments section.
Plus, if you’d like to find a quick and easy way to exercise (the perfect “me-time” activity), subscribe to my free 3-part video series and receive an 8-minute full-body toning work out you can do at home.