Taking Care of Yourself

Taking Care of Yourself

written by: Brynn McDowell
by: Brynn McDowell
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Finding Time to Take Care of Yourself

It can often feel like there is so much to get done each day that we don't always take care of ourselves. The demands of daily life can be very overwhelming. Between work, family, and sleeping, there isn't always much time left for taking care of yourself. This often leads to prioritizing our schedules and putting ourselves last.

Putting ourselves first can be challenging, but just think of the benefits our personal wellness has: I stressed the word "work" because I'm not going to lie, it's going to take some hard work. Finding time for yourself in a hectic world is not going to come easily for most. We can often feel selfish for carving out "me time" in a world filled with long to-do lists, kids, chores, church, family, relationships, etc.

  • More energy to devote to work, family and life in general
  • A positive outlook
  • Personal happiness that spreads to other areas and people in your life
  • Better health
  • Less Stress
  • Motivation to others to notice your changes and make their own

How to Work Personal Wellness into your Hectic Schedule

Instead of feeling guilty for taking time to take care of yourself, write down a list of reasons why it's so important. Think of the great habits you'll form, the happiness you'll feel, the stress you'll cut back on, the role model you'll become for your kids, friends, or family.

[blockquote size="full|half|third|fourth|two-thirds|three-fourths" align="left|center|right" byline="Theodore Roosevelt"]Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy

Sit down and really look at your schedule each week. Find time for yourself by: The bottom line is that people make time for the things that are important to them in life. You just have to get into the mindset that personal wellness is a priority and find the time to take care of yourself.

  • Get up 30 minutes earlier for "me time"

    • Move your alarm across the room if you have
    • Tell your spouse/partner the reason you're getting up earlier for their support
    • Decide the night before what you want to do with your 30 minutes (exercise, drink a cup of coffee in silence, write in a journal, go for a walk, take a hot bath, etc)
  • Pencil yourself into your schedule

    • Literally add yourself into your calendar
    • Find even just 15 minutes each day that you can take a short break to do something for yourself
    • This might mean delegating a task to a team member, asking a spouse/partner for help, saying no to others to spare time for yourself
  • Multi-task

    • Sometimes there just isn't going to be a lot of extra time, so just go with it
    • Combine some tasks
      • Take a walk while on a conference call to get in some exercise
      • Skip a shower and decide on a quick, relaxing bath instead
      • Listen to a podcast or audio book while cooking dinner to do something enjoyable for yourself
      • Do something as a family that brings you happiness (taking a walk together, playing catch at the park). This combines family time and exercise/stress relief
  • Ask for Help

    • We often don't ask others for help, especially for time to take care of yourself
    • Don't be afraid to ask family or friends for help. Something as simple as asking a friend to watch your kids for 30 minutes so you can go to a doctor's appointment, hair appointment, nail appointment, get a massage, etc. They often would be happy to help, especially if you watch their kids one day in return
    • Ask a spouse/partner to clean up after dinner so you can slip away to read a book for 20 minutes
    • Ask co-workers for help at work on a specific task so you don't have to stay late and can get home in time to make it to a group exercise class
    • We can't do everything ourselves and (surprisingly) no one expects us to
  • Eliminate Tasks that aren't Important

    • This is a tough one for a lot of people (myself included)
    • If you really sit down and look at your tasks each day, there is probably at least one thing every week you can eliminate
    • A good exercise is taking all the things you have to do for a week and prioritize them in numerical order. Place the most important items at the top. Once finished, look at the items at the very bottom of your list, seriously analyze if you can eliminate those from your week
    • For example, do you really have to go to your co-worker's niece's child's 3rd birthday party? Probably not. Explain to the hostess that you just can't make it and I'm sure no one will even notice you aren't there.
      • Don't be afraid to politely decline invites that are causing you stress. Obviously we can't eliminate all these types of events, but really look at the events you are attending and decide if you really want to attend or just feel obligated to. Chances are the person that invited you will happily accept your decline because people don't want to force attendees to their functions.