Everywhere you look, you’ll see gurus talking about “self-care” and “making time for yourself.” Most of the experts will tell you to take 20 or 30 minutes per day to yourself — allowing no phones or distractions. If you do the math, that works out to a mere three and a half hours per week of true downtime. That doesn’t seem like much, does it? What if we told you that taking at least that time, and more, was the key to true success?
We get it. You’re busy. No one has time for self-care, right? But you need it, and it may not be what you think. (We’re not recommending a bubble bath.) But you simply have to make time for downtime. No exceptions. Neglecting yourself will make you tired, worn-out and frustrated. Making time to enjoy a hobby, laze around on a day off and most especially unplug can make a huge difference in your life. Check out some of our ideas in the full article.
It’s Time To Stop Putting Yourself Last.
The Real Reason You Need to Focus on Self-Care
Family first, right? Wrong. You have to put your own oxygen mask on first, remember? Putting yourself on the backburner is not healthy. You deserve wellness, reduced stress levels and a healthy work/life balance. Your needs are important and you deserve to have them fulfilled. You are a worthy human being and your emotional, physical and mental health is just as important as anyone else’s.
This is especially true if you play a major role within your family, as a parent or caregiver, or if you are in a high-level position at work. The inability to say “no” when it comes to meeting everyone else’s demands can eventually eat away at your self-esteem. The end result? A life where you are constantly tired and run down.
The quality of our downtime is directly connected to the quality of our uptime.
Making Time for True Self-Care
Okay, so what the heck is true self-care? Is it really getting up 20 minutes early in the morning to read a self-help book? Probably not, but it might be. Yes, you need small chunks of daily time to yourself, but you also need to reserve some larger blocks of time to really take care of yourself without feeling pressured or rushed. Consider the following:
- Carve out time for yourself. Successful entrepreneurs will tell you that taking “me” time is a non-negotiable part of their daily routine. Start with at least 20 minutes per day, every single day. Work your way up to an hour or more, even if you have to break it up. This isn’t just quiet time before the kids get up, so you can make their lunches or do things for other people. It’s time for you — to enjoy your cup of coffee, watch the sunrise, or take a walk. This is time to live in the moment.
- Always unplug at the end of the day. This should also be non-negotiable. Put the phone away, turn off the computer and stay away from the TV. Break out a book, take a walk or find another way to unwind and enjoy the end of the day. Don’t just move from work to sleep so you can get up and do it all again in the morning.
- Take a day off. A real day off, please. Schedule a personal or vacation day and do not, under any circumstances, pack it full of errands or appointments. Relax in the park, get a massage, go to a movie with a friend or do something you enjoy. Oh, and if you’re a parent? Don’t feel guilty about taking a day off when your kids are in school. Get that break where you can.
- Find a hobby you love. A lot of us get sucked into activities we like but aren’t really passionate about simply because we want to spend time with friends. That’s fine, but you still need to find a hobby for yourself. Make time at least once a week to explore something you really enjoy yourself — not just because you’re supporting someone else.
- Sleep. You probably think that’s a piece of worn-out advice, too. It isn’t, and it’s probably the most important thing you can do for yourself. Think about it. When was the last time you woke up and got out of bed feeling truly rested? Do the work to take care of your sleep.
Neglecting yourself doesn’t do anyone any good. You will eventually wear yourself out and will be no good to anyone, including yourself. Make a more concentrated effort to block time for yourself on your schedule, create a great morning and evening routine and step back from your normal day-to-day motions. A little more self-care will leave you thinking clearly and acting in a more focused and productive manner. So your uptime is better, thanks to your downtime. It really works. Take care of yourself. You deserve it!