I was chatting to a friend recently and she was struggling to take time out for herself. Like many of us, she’s juggling a home, children and work and in the moments she has, she also has family, a partner and friends to catch up with. Sound familiar? I suspect it does, we’ve all been there.
From my perspective, I have my children to take care of, a marriage to enjoy, a business to run, two sides of our family to catch up with, a home to look after and friendships to maintain and enjoy.
Life can be busy.
But I firmly believe that there is always room for for self-care, though you will have to shift your thinking to make that time. To create that free time.
I saw something on social media recently saying that ‘free time’ does not mean ‘available time’, and it resonated.
How many of us schedule our days, fill them up and then when we are free, feel the need to cram in even more?
Free time needs to be free time.
Time to allow yourself to unwind, be yourself for half an hour.
I ensure I snatch moments of self-care daily. I need them.
Every day I take time to take care of myself with my skincare. I’ve talked about this before, and it’s about more than cleansing and throwing products at my skin. It’s about those few moments in the day where I am doing something just for me.
I enjoy it. It relaxes me. It doesn’t take long, but it’s a few moments of calm just for me.
Similarly, I love to read. Reading is another moment of calm for me, and I feel like I am doing something for me. There are so many benefits of reading, this one’s always going to be important to me.
It can then be other little things, I love to play music, tend to my plants, go for walks, chat with friends, and when the warmer weather comes, gardening.
My time is usually gobbled up by responsibilities, and it can be very easy to let it be. But self-care is important.
It’s become a buzz word, people talk about it a lot, but it’s really just the simple act of ensuring that you look after yourself properly and say no to things that get in the way of that.
Self-care can easily be described as shopping, spa days or just reading your book, but that misses the point entirely.
The self-care part of all of this is in taking a break. It’s in saying that you will take this time for yourself. It’s in saying no to other things. That’s the mental shift needed to do this.
Until you see yourself and your time as important, I don’t think that any amount of bubble baths will pick you up!
The first step to ensuring you look after yourself is to remind yourself that you need to be looked after, and deserve it.
Cover the basics, a good night’s sleep, drinking plenty of water, getting some fresh air. Then you can take some time for yourself.
And to ensure that you do not feel guilty about it.
The cleaning will still be there. The work and emails remain. The to-do list can be paused and wait for a moment.
Think about what would relax you, pick you up, recharge you, whatever it is you need in that moment and do it.
Do it once, twice, then again and again and your mindset will shift and new habits can be formed.
It’s never too late to do this.
If you’re reading this and trying to think about the last time you took time for yourself, maybe now is that time.
You need it, you should do it.
And pay attention to how you feel afterwards. If it’s guilty, you weren’t doing it right! If it’s brighter, happier, more relaxed or perhaps more energised, hold onto that feeling to see you through your next load of responsibilities and make sure you do it again soon.
Is this something you do?