In our fast paced lives, it is easy to get lost in our seemingly endless to-do list, always focusing on what needs to be done and what is expected of us. Days blend together punctuated by remembering to pick the kids up from school on time, reducing the ironing pile or racing to catch the fast train home from work. When was the last time life felt like fun rather than a necessary chore?
When we stop focusing on our own needs, we start to feel unsatisfied, tired and generally fed up of life. When was the last time you did something purely for yourself? Spent some time on your favourite hobby? Or took a long uninterrupted bath? Are you struggling to remember?
It is not a selfish whim to spend time on yourself, it is necessary to keep emotional balance. When we don’t look after ourselves, we struggle to look after those who depend on us, until we hit breaking point. When we do take a moment out to focus on something purely for us we recharge, giving us the mental energy to face the onslaught of responsibilities and monotony that we are surrounded by each day.
So how can we re-train our brain to remember to take some ‘me’ time each day? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Make appointments with yourself
At the beginning of the week look at your diary and block out time for yourself. Wednesday morning 9.30-9.45AM = coffee in the garden. Friday evening 7-8PM = bath with a book. Sunday morning 10-11AM = yoga class. Stick to the schedule as if it were actual appointments at the Doctors or Dentist. The more you show up the more it will begin to feel normal.
Book yourself into an exercise class
Book it, pre-pay for it and even better, take a friend with you. If you have the class in your diary each week, it will force you out of your usual routine and into the gym where you can focus purely on yourself and your fitness. You’ll be amazed how good you feel afterwards.
Set a pre-bedtime alarm
If you go to bed at 10PM set an alarm for 9PM. Stop what you are doing and spend an hour before bed doing what you love (preferably screen-free, as it will help you get in the sleep zone easier). An hour too long? Then go for half an hour.
Try and cut down your to do list by eliminating time draining tasks so you have more time for yourself. Spending too long at the grocery store? Order online and have it delivered, it’ll take half the time. Do you need to go into the office every day or can you work from home one day a week to save the commuting time? Can other members of the household take responsibility for some chores? Explore the options around you and see where you can claim back time for yourself.
Really struggling to find any time for yourself? Set your alarm for every hour, on the hour. Stop what you are doing and take 5 minutes to yourself. It may be just to close your eyes and think about how you are feeling at that moment. You may read a couple of pages of your book or it may just remind you to stop and make yourself a cup of tea.
All about a Mummy is a lifestyle and parenting blog written by a busy working mum of two girls who juggles a hectic, family schedule with her passion for baking, writing and the arts.