If you had told me that I should deliberately schedule time for myself a couple of years ago, I would have looked at you like you were bonkers. When my kids were young, I felt like there was no time for me at all. As a new Mom, I could hardly even find time to shower and I felt like I needed toothpicks to keep my eyes open most of the time. Now as a working parent with many things on the side, I still struggle to find time for myself.
In fact, the more I think about it, scheduling and prioritizing me-time is probably the thing I struggle with the most. I generally pack each day as full as I can by focusing on the various tasks I need to get done:
- I get as much done as I can at work each day,
- after work, I spend two to three hours with the kids and put them to bed,
- then I come downstairs and start immediately working on things I need to get done (for this blog or in my side business or in my academic research and writing).
This rigorous schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time for me.
‘YOU-TIME’ FOR BEGINNERS
Since you are a high achiever too, I know that scheduling daily time for yourself can add to that feeling of overwhelm…so start with something realistic. Start by finding some time this week (even just five minutes) that you can schedule just for you.
For parents, this seriously might mean that your ‘you-time’ is your time alone in the bathroom with the door locked (and let me tell you those five minutes without the kids can be heavenly!). Even if bathroom time is the only realistic time you can carve out for yourself, spend that five minutes doing something you really enjoy, like reading a good book or flipping through your favourite magazine.
Or maybe you can carve out time in other ways: if you love singing, spend time in your shower belting out your favourite song. Maybe you love dancing: find a time this week to put on your favourite music and dance or have a dance party with your partner and/or kids. Maybe when you brew your morning coffee, you can squeeze in a moment for yourself to just stop, hold the warm mug and inhale deeply.
Another way to schedule time for yourself is to reframe the time you already have as “me-time.” Once I started listening to podcasts on my commute to and from work that I found inspiring, I started looking forward to that time each day. Instead of feeling annoyed about delays on public transit, I don’t mind when my commute takes longer because I’m able to listen to more inspiring stories and content. Reframing how you look at time you already spend by yourself can be a powerful way finding that ever-elusive ‘you-time’.
NEXT LEVEL ‘YOU-TIME’
As you start to prioritize time for yourself, think about what you would like to do with a larger chunk of ‘you-time’:
- get a massage (maybe at lunchtime during your workday or early in the morning on a weekend)
- go to a bookstore to sip a latte and read
- draw yourself a soothing, warm bath
- go for coffee or lunch with a close friend (even during the workday works!), or
- go to see a show – an opera, art show or sports event.
Once you manage to set time aside for yourself, perhaps you can gradually increase the frequency and schedule ‘you-time’ daily. (I know what you are thinking…slow down Kirsten, you are getting totally out of control here!).
All of us are busy; as high achievers, one of the hardest things to do is to pare down the amount of things we have on our plates…so if you can schedule ‘you-time’ into the cracks of your life that’s a victory!
Find some small moments when you can do things for yourself that you enjoy. These small moments you carve out for yourself will compound over time to help you reconnect with your very best you!
P.S. If you read this post and thought: “Hey, didn’t Kirsten talk about that last week?” you have a good memory! By popular demand I split up the strategies that I listed last week to move from surviving to thriving into individual blog posts to make them more digestible and actionable.
Click the follow button below to be notified about next week’s blog post. HINT: I’ll be throwing down a one-week challenge!