Recent conversations about work/life balance have got me thinking. Work is work – you know what your job is and, while daily tasks may vary, you clock in and (eventually) clock out. Life on the other hand, can be comprised of home, children, pets, and the associated errands, tasks, picking up, carpooling, maintenance, bill paying lawn care, and all of the wonderful stuff that goes along with it. There are always things vying for your attention. But what about finding time for yourself? If you are like me, you take care of everyone’s needs first, and oftentimes find your energy depleted. Take this example from Joyce Meyer's book, "The Confident Woman”:
“Mom and Dad were watching TV when Mom said, "I'm tired, and it's getting late. I think I'll go to bed." She went to the kitchen to make sandwiches for the next day's lunches, rinsed out the dessert bowls, took meat out of the freezer for supper the following evening, checked the cereal box levels, filled the sugar container, put spoons and bowls on the table and started the coffee pot for brewing the next morning. She then put some wet clothes in the dryer, put a load of clothes into the wash, ironed a shirt and sewed on a loose button. She picked up the game pieces left on the table and put the telephone book back into the drawer.
She watered the plants, emptied a wastepaper basket and hung up a towel to dry. She yawned and stretched and headed for the bedroom. She stopped by the desk, wrote a note to the teacher, counted out some cash for the school outing, and pulled a textbook out from under the chair. She signed a birthday card for a friend, addressed and stamped the envelope and wrote a quick list for the supermarket. She put both near her purse.
Mom then creamed her face, put on moisturizer, brushed and flossed her teeth and trimmed her nails. Hubby called, "I thought you were going to bed." "I'm on my way," she said. She put some water into the dog's bowl and put the cat outside, then made sure the doors were locked. She looked in on each of the children and turned out a bedside lamp, hung up a shirt, threw some dirty socks in the laundry basket, and had a brief conversation with one child still up doing homework. In her own room, she set the alarm, laid out clothing for the next day, and straightened up the shoe rack. She added three things to her list of things to do for the next day.
About that time, the hubby turned off the TV and announced to no one in particular, "I'm going to bed." And he did.”
Sound familiar? There is often one person in the household who resembles “mom” in this scenario – it doesn’t matter if it’s a man or woman. In my household, it’s me. I drive myself crazy making sure that everything is taken care of so that everyone’s days are easier. I do this for my own peace of mind, but in the process, I often put my own needs aside. Lately, I’ve been wondering, Where is there time for self-care? LifeHack recently published an article with suggestions on how to find time for yourself in your busy daily schedule. I’ve captured a few of my favorites here - read on and see if you can implement any of these suggestions into your life today!
Find time for yourself…
In the car. A large portion of our days are spent in the car. Use this time to your advantage! Listen to audio books, music, or simply turn everything off and let your mind wander. If you take public transportation to work, or find yourself waiting in the car for various school or activity pickups; try to use that time for medidation, to journal, or to read a personal book of interest!
In the evening. Pick a weeknight that is just for you. Use this time to read, exercise, or simply “be”. Put this self-date on the calendar and stick to it as you would any other appointment. The dishes can be done by someone else – or they can sit in the sink until the next day. Trust me, it will be fine!
At the end of the workday. Many of us stay late at work on a regular basis. Make sure to leave on time at least once a week and do something new and just for you on the way home. Stop at that boutique you’ve been meaning to shop at, or get a quick manicure!
Once a month. Schedule a monthly treat for yourself. Consider going to see the latest movie release; getting a massage, or grabbing lunch with a good friend.
Volunteering or in a group activity. While it might seem like you are putting one more item on your already jam-packed list of activities; if this is something that excites you, then do it! It could be a gardening group, singing in the church choir, joining a book club – anything that sparks your interest and feeds your soul.
Taking a Continuing Education/Adult Education Class. Peruse Ed4Career’s offerings and find a course (or more than one!) that sparks your interest. Have you always wanted to learn more about photography? Psychology? Business management? Our extensive course catalog is rich with online learning opportunities in a variety of topics. Check us out today!
Exercising. I find this to be the toughest to fit in. But it’s true. You just have to start; one step at a time. I find that walking in the early mornings allows me to clear my mind and provides me with energy that lasts throughout the day. Mix it up, walk with music one day, in silence the next, and listen to podcasts on the third. See what brings you the most joy and repeat daily.
Making the time for self-care isn’t selfish; it’s necessary. Make it a priority to schedule time for yourself each and every week. You are worth it!