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How to Make Time for Yourself

Self-care is one of the most important aspects of health - but it's something a lot of us neglect. Find out how to make more time for yourself in this post.

 

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by Bexx Henderson in Mental Health, Self-Care

Whenever I talk about the importance of self-care, I often get the same responses:

  • I’m just too busy,
  • I wish I had time for that,
  • It feels selfish, indulgent, or lazy.

The truth is, self-care is SO important – and it’s really not difficult to make time for, once you make it a priority. If this is something you struggle with, here are a few things to try:

 

1. Make Self-Care a Priority

Life is busy, I get that. We’re conditioned to believe work should always come first, other people second, and any other chores or responsibilities third. If you have any time left after that, lucky you!

It shouldn’t be like this. Although work is important, it should never be prioritised above your health. Find a way to put yourself first – even if it’s just for a couple of hours every week, or a few minutes a day. Set aside some time to do something just for you.

Schedule this time in your diary – just like you would an important meeting at work, or dinner with a close friend. You wouldn’t bail on your friend without good reason, so don’t do it to yourself!

 

2. Learn to Say ‘No’

This is something I used to find hard, but learning how to say no is game-changer. It’s hard to say “no” to begin with. This stems from our desire to please people, and avoid coming across as selfish or uncaring. We don’t want people to think badly of us but, in reality, saying “no” tends to lead to healthier boundaries and more respect – both at work and in your personal life.

If you can’t fit something into your schedule without compromising your self-care, it’s fine to say no. Actually, it’s more than fine – it’s important to your health. Of course, there will always be exceptions to this rule – but they should be rare and necessary. Don’t feel pressured into doing something you don’t want to, just because you’re worried what the other person might think.

 

3. Set Aside Some Time in the Morning

What’s your morning routine like? If you find yourself snoozing for too long in bed, then rushing to get ready and out of the front door, you’re doing it wrong!

What you do first thing really sets the tone for the rest of the day and, if you’re starting it in a hurry, you’re more likely to feel stressed as the day progresses. Instead, try to get out of bed a little earlier and make some time for yourself. Once you adjust to waking up a little earlier, this is one of the easiest ways to squeeze in some extra self-care.

If you’re no good in the mornings, check out these 5 easy morning person hacks to get started.

 

4. Write Down Your Self-Care Quick Fixes

It’s amazing how many people tell me they just don’t have enough time for self-care. Rubbish! Although this is something I’ve been guilty of in the past, you can always make time for yourself – even if you’re just sneaking a few minutes each day.

Something I found really helpful was writing down a list of stuff I can easily make time for, and don’t cost much money. Here are some examples:

  • Grab a coffee and magazine or book (15-30 minutes),
  • A quick yoga session (30 minutes),
  • Paint my nails (30 minutes),
  • A soak in the bath (45 minutes),
  • Get outside for a walk (45-60 minutes).

These are all things I can do in less than an hour, so I know I can make time for them.

What makes you feel good? How do you relax? Write it all down, then pick out everything you can do in less than an hour. These are your quick-fixes – use them!


5. Listen to Your Body

Your body is pretty amazing. It knows when it needs you to slow down, and it will let you know. Listen to your body, and learn to recognise when it’s asking you to take a step back. The “symptoms” will be different for everyone, but some common clues include:

  • A weakened immune system. Are you picking up lots of bugs, or taking a long time to get well again?
  • A fuzzy head. Are you finding it difficult to focus on anything for extended periods?
  • Sleep problems. How are you sleeping? Do you wake up feeling unrefreshed?
  • Emotional imbalances. Do you cry all of the time, or are you feeling numb?
  • Aches and pains. Are you feeling tense, or do you have unexplained aches and pains?

All of these are physical manifestations of a poor self-care routine. If you’re experiencing one or more of these, take a step back and assess how you can make more time for yourself.

 

6. Make Self-Care a Habit

When it comes to self-care, a little really does go a long way. To prevent burnout, and keep yourself in the best of health, you should make this part of your every day routine.

New habits take a while to build, so you’ll need to work at it in the beginning. One of the most popular theories on habit formation focuses on the 3 Rs: Reminder, Routine and Reward.

Reminder

Once you’ve decided how and when you’re going to make time for yourself, set up an appointment in your phone or diary. If you’re using technology to do this, rather than a paper-based diary, activating the ‘alert’ function is a good way to make sure you don’t forget, or schedule something else in its place. Don’t rely on your memory for this one – it’s far to easy to allow self-care to slide down your list of priorities.

Routine

When you sit down and figure out how you’re going to spend more time on yourself, make sure it’s feasible. For example, don’t promise yourself a monthly spa day if you can’t afford it, and don’t commit yourself to something you know you won’t realistically be able to make time for.

Find activities that fit nicely into your lifestyle. It’s important to choose activities you’ll enjoy, too – otherwise, what’s the point?! When you follow these basic rules, it should be easy to build a routine around your new habits. You just need to make sure they happen!

Reward

The final step is the easiest part, but it’s still important. Think about the rewards you’ll get from investing more time into your self-care: a reduction in stress, increased happiness, relaxation, improved sleep, fitness and health. There are so many rewards – but which are most important to you?

As you begin to spend more time on yourself, pay attention to how you’re feeling. Has your quality of life improved? Are you getting the expected results? I’ll be very surprised if your answer to either of these questions is “no”!

 

Do you make enough time for yourself?
What are your self-care quick fixes?
Let me know in the comments!

  • Kelsey Christou

    I love this post! Self care is something I struggle with because as you mentioned, I feel quite selfish and like I should be doing something. Something I need to work on!

  • Leigh Travers

    These are fantastic tips and is something I REALLY needed to read! I’ve been feeling so run down recently, so made myself a list to improve my self-care routine but I’ve completely thrown it aside. You’ve inspired me to re-read it and actually implement it into my daily routine!

    xx

 

SELF-CARE FOR NEW MUMS

Sign up to my mailing list for content to help you on your health and wellness journey. The first issue comes with my "Self-Care for New Mums" guide.

By signing up, you agree to receive content, marketing emails and special offers by email. You can unsubscribe at any time.