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“I just don’t have time for self-care“. How many times have you said that to yourself?
A feeling of not enough time in the day is one of the most common reasons for neglecting self-care.
Does this sound like this you? Maybe you know self-care is important, but it’s just not happening as much as you want it to because you feel short of time.
Read on, and I’ll show you how you CAN find the time for self-care.
But first, before we jump in, let’s just recap on what I mean by self-care.
What is self-care?
Self-care is looking after your physical and mental well being.
- staying fit and healthy
- being aware of what depletes you and taking steps to replenish your mental and physical health
- treating yourself as kindly as you would treat others
It’s those things that you do to protect, maintain and improve your health and wellbeing.
It’s eating nutritious food, getting restful sleep, exercise, and spending time regularly on activities that replenish your spirit. Those things that make you feel good!
When you have a long to-do list it can be easy for self-care activities to fall off the bottom. If your self-care activities aren’t considered a priority they’ll just get passed over, pushed aside or delayed over and over again.
Why you need to find time for self-care
If you don’t make time for self-care your physical and mental well-being will suffer. You’ll feel irritable, stressed, overwhelmed, and ultimately, burnt out.
This is not good for you, or everyone else around you.
So, how can you make self-care a priority when you feel like there isn’t enough time in your day?
How to find time for self-care
1. Schedule it
Allocate time in your calendar for self-care.
When you’ve finished an appointment (for example at the dentist, massage therapist, hair salon, or beautician), make an appointment for the next visit immediately. This works well for catch-up dates with friends too.
You might think it’s quicker and easier just to call when you’re ready for the next visit. But it’s so easy for time to slip by, and then making that appointment, or plans to meet up, is just another thing to add to your to-do-list. So it gets delayed, and delayed some more, then never happens.
When the appointment is in your calendar you’ve committed to it. When means it’s much more likely to happen.
2. Tell others
How often do you put your self-care plans aside so you can respond to requests from your partner, family, friends, or colleagues?
Do you tell your partner, family, friends or colleague what your plans are? Remember, they aren’t mind-readers. If you don’t let others know what you are planning to do and why it’s important to you it’s harder for them to respect your need for this time.
They won’t know what you need unless you tell them. YOU know what you need. Remind them this is your time.
For example, tell them you are going for a walk at 4 pm because you need some time to yourself to wind down, stretch your legs and get some fresh air.
When you say your plans out loud it may seem strange at first, but you are making a commitment to yourself. And it’s healthy for others to see that you are doing this, and to learn to respect your time.
Oh, and in case you start feeling selfish about articulating what you want to do. Don’t.
Imagine that a friend told you that they needed some time to themselves to recharge, or they really needed a massage to deal with the knots in their back. What would you say to them?
Would you tell your friend that they were being selfish? No. You would be kind. You would tell them to go and do it. Treat yourself as kindly as you would your friend.
3. Deal with distractions
How much time do you spend time scrolling through social media feeds? Or flicking mindlessly through endless TV channels? Probably more than you think, right?
What if you used that time to focus on the things that were important to you?
Take a look at this article with tips on how to focus on your priorities during your day:
4. Build habits around self-care
Pick a daily self-care activity that you would like to do more of, and build it into your daily routine.
For example, if you want to read more, try making it a part of your bedtime routine.
I know for me reading at bedtime signals to my body it’s time to wind down and switch off. I know that if I don’t read at bedtime, I’ll find it difficult to get to sleep. Reading has become such an important part of my bedtime routine I can’t even imagine not reading each night before going to sleep (even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes).
Or, if you want to move your body more, do some stretches while waiting for your morning cup of coffee to brew.
And speaking of waiting…
5. Use waiting times
I’m sure you have at least one 5 minute moment in the day where you are waiting for someone, or waiting in line, or waiting for public transport. Use those odd moments throughout the day – you don’t always need lots of time for self-care activities.
Here are some suggestions for self-care activities that take 5 minutes or less:
Now that you have found some time for self-care…
do you need self-care idea inspiration?
Take a look at these ideas for self-care activities:
More information on why it's important to prioritize self-care along with over 50 self-care activities to try.
Next time you find yourself using the excuse “I haven’t got the time” remind yourself that you are important and that you will find the time!
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