3 Simple Steps To More YOU Time
By Megan Bancesco
Sometimes life feels like one giant, never ending to do list. How do we do it ALL? How do we uphold our responsibilities at work, raise our children, contribute to our community, keep our fridges stocked, toilets cleaned, dress like a fashionista AND become an enlightened, successful and happy human? I do wish the answer was neatly contained in this post. It’s not. I do know that the journey begins with taking care of ourselves first. The best news is that I know it doesn’t take major sacrifices to make more YOU time.
#1 – Schedule it in
Think about it; when you’ve got something important coming up like a meeting, a birthday party or a vacation, you schedule it in. You know how important making time for yourself is, for your body, mind and spirit. Put your money where your mouth is, pull out your phone or daytimer and schedule in a chunk of time. Make it reasonable and achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure by scheduling 2 hours of meditation a day. If the next couple of weeks are hectic, schedule in a meditation class a month from now. This gives you a chance to schedule the rest of your life around the class instead of trying to squeeze it in and adding more stress. Plus, you’ll have something to look forward to during those busy weeks. And once you book that meeting in with yourself, don’t reschedule. Truly honour that appointment with yourself. And while you’ve got your phone out, set a monthly reminder to look ahead in your calendar and schedule in that YOU time.
#2 – Cultivate a daily habit
When you make the time to put yourself first, you’re acknowledging that you matter. You’re not only acknowledging this, you’re backing this belief up with action. Decide on a self-care habit you’d like to include in your daily routine. Something that isn’t too time consuming. Let’s say you want to practice gratitude. Now think about something you do every day that can act as a trigger for this new habit. Maybe it’s brushing your teeth in the morning. Every morning after you brush your teeth, you’ll spend a few minutes jotting down 3 things you’re grateful for. Keep supplies needed to support this new habit in close reach. You might keep a small notebook and pen in your bathroom cabinet. Now you don’t have to remember to practice gratitude, you just automatically do it as a part of your morning routine. Small habits you practice daily will add up to large changes. And small amounts of time you make for yourself each day will certainly add up to increased fulfillment over the short and long run.
#3 – Wake up earlier
OK, this might be a stretch at the start, but as you experience the benefits of this method of making more time for yourself, the battle to get out of bed will become easier and easier. Besides, you can work your way into an earlier rising time in small increments. For the first week, get up 5 minutes early to stretch before your shower. Make it 10 minutes for the second week. And if you like, slowly work your way up to 30 minutes to do a short morning yoga routine. Another tip to become literally addicted to waking up early is to do an activity that creates a rush of feel good chemicals in your body. Activities like running, meditating, dancing, writing or painting can cause dopamine to flood your system as an internal reward and your body will automatically crave more. Use your physiology to your advantage!
If you feel guilty about putting yourself first, realize that you can start with small gestures that don’t require a large commitment of time or money. Try those first. Notice how much energy and focus you can devote to others when you’ve also taken care of yourself. Where your tank would have previously run empty, I’m willing to bet you’ll have much more to give. More to give to your career, family, community and yes, even more energy for cleaning those toilets.