by Linda K. Laffey, MFT on January 4, 2016

relaxFor most of us, life is hectic.  Crazy busy.
A non-stop, on the go, never-ending challenge to work more, earn more, do more, and be more.

And “me time?”

“Me time” is a fantasy you’re too exhausted to make true.

But what if there was a way?

Maybe it is possible to refresh your mind, relax your body, and release the stresses of the day.  Perhaps you just need to be strategic, open-minded and a bit unconventional.
Use these 10 tips to get you going:

  1. Get real. It’s important that you’re honest with yourself. Simply deciding that you need time for yourself doesn’t make it possible to squeeze a 25th hour from the day. You’ll probably have to reevaluate, reimagine, or even sacrifice something to make personal time happen. It’s okay. You needn’t feel guilty or selfish. Your family, friends, and co-workers will appreciate the less stressed you.
  1. Get used to saying “no.” It’s important to be honest with others. You only have so much to give before the tank is empty. When your car is out of gas, it says,”empty” in no uncertain terms. And then you’re on your own…on foot. But if you think about it, your car was telling you “no” long before that. Tell the people you care about ”no,” before you’re sputtering and drained. Pull over safely into some happy place of your own making and fill your tank regularly with your own passions, a good book, or quiet meditation.
  1. Decide how to spend “me” time best.  Make a personal to-do list.  Be prepared to jump into what matters to you. Develop ideas about how you’ll spend an unexpected 15 or 30 minutes.  What rejuvenates and relaxes you?
  1. Eradicate time wasters.  Do you lose time to unproductive, annoying, or unplanned activities?  A little bit of organization goes a long way.  Don’t let your day push you around.
  1. Ask for help with chores.  Housework and errands happen.  But they don’t necessarily have to always happen to you.  Practice sharing the work, and you’ll soon see that chores (and most things) are best shared, rather than shouldered alone.  Pass on the dust mop and watch your time open up.
  1. Set solid appointments to spend time with yourself. You make time for work, you schedule time with clients, you set dates with your partner.  If you expect to ever find time for you, you must see your own time as an appointment that cannot be put off.  Make your personal appointment time non-negotiable.
  1. Create a regular ritual.  When days are overwhelming or simply drag on and on, a midday or late-day ritual can bring you calm and respite.  Perhaps you prefer waking an hour early to meditate or exercise.  The joy of your ritual is that it’s yours to do your way.
  1. Start slow if you struggle to commit.  Begin your quest for personal time with a bit of time, even if it’s just five minutes.  Slowly increase the time until you manage 15 to 30 minutes of “me” time daily.
  1. If you can’t do anything else, breathe.  You may be surprised how often you “forget to breathe.”  Short, shallow breaths accompany chronic stress.  Energize your brain and body with deep-cleansing, clarifying breaths.
  1. Unplug.  If you aren’t careful, a vast array of electronic devices can suck up precious time.  One email can turn into a series of clicks on multiple links, and before you know it, you’ve surfed any chance of “me” time away.  Set hard and fast rules for screen time, use a timer, and reward yourself for concluding projects with a cherished activity.

If you struggle to find quality time for yourself, counseling can assist you in working that out.  Please call me at (805) 375-5860 and let me know some good times to reach you.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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