Carving out ‘me time’ to focus on yourself takes practice and commitment. It would be wonderful if we could magic up a few extra hours each day to fit everything in… although in reality, I think we’d still find that wasn’t enough!
For many of us, if something in the diary has to give, the first thing to go is time for ourselves. The majority of my clients say the time they schedule for themselves is either around exercise or hair/beauty treatments which, don’t get me wrong, is hugely important (very rarely will I shift a hair appointment!) but often it doesn’t go far enough. As many of you will know, I’m an advocate for carving out a little time each week to look inwards, check in with yourself, set realistic wellness goals and plan some growth areas.
From both my personal experience and many conversations I’ve had with other women, I have learned that the more we feel happy and content in our own skin, the more we have to give others. When I’ve invested time in me, I feel I’m a better mother, wife, daughter, friend and colleague.
I’ve got a few tips on how to magic up more time for you….
Schedule it in – If I don’t put my wellness activities in the diary, they don’t happen. Seeing them noted down in my schedule means I can plan around them. Slot them in at times when you know you are less likely to move them. For example, I block in time to exercise in the morning as, come the afternoon, I’m either too busy with work or can more easily find excuses not to! I have also locked in my ‘me time’ reflection every Sunday at 4pm.
Get up earlier – An obvious one, I know, however, it is an incredibly peaceful time of the day that you can savour all to yourself. Ease yourself into an earlier routine by getting up 15 minutes earlier than usual for one week, then set the alarm for another 15 minutes earlier the week after; before you know it, you’ll be in a rhythm. Make sure you plan your time so it’s not wasted or evaporated into other chores. Think about having pen and paper ready, ensuring the kettle is full the night before, and leaving your favourite cup out – so it's waiting for you. Make it easy and enjoyable! I use this time to meditate, work through some stretches or sun salutations, or I get straight into an area of growth I’m focused on of late; the me spot!
Reward yourself – Do this by investing your ‘downtime’ in activities that enrich you. Many of us get to the end of a day of operating at lightning speed and look to the TV or social media to help us zone out or unwind. But instead of reaching for the remote, reward yourself by investing time in yourself. Pick up a book you’ve wanted to read, put on a podcast you’re keen to listen to, have a soak in a bath, or get out a blankie and pillow and do a short (or long!) yoga nidra session (a beautiful meditative body scan – I use the free Insight Timer app). Alternatively, research a hobby you want to start, or channel the time into your passion. Be intentional with your time and make it special. Put some relaxing music on (or blast out some old dance vibes!), light a candle; if chocolate helps, go for it! I promise you will feel so much more fulfilled.
Look for gap time - Personal development expert and bestselling author Scott H Young discusses this on lifehack.org:
Anywhere from 2-5 hours of your day is probably spent in “gap time”. Gap times are those between meaningful activities but aren’t usually long enough to get more done. Commuting to work, waiting in line, time spent cooking food, commercial breaks in television programs and small breaks in your schedule all count.
I love this! I put it into practice often, for example getting to a meeting ahead of schedule, at school pick-ups or while the kiddies finish their activities, waiting for the washing machine to finish… even in the shower! I use the time to listen to a snippet of a podcast, check in and reflect on my day so far, or do a five minute body scan or quick breathing exercise (I use the free app Breathing App). It’s helpful to know how you can fill up your gap time with soulful activities, and the more you practice it, the easier it gets!
Clearly, this magic is all based on your perception of time and how you prioritise yourself within your 24-hour day… no wand required! The key is taking action and making the time for yourself because, if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a mother and wife, it’s that others won't do it for you!