Time for Self-Care

Self-care has come to the fore-front again – this time the question is “how do you make time for it?”

This is an important question, and I am looking for help in answering it. I can’t tell anyone else how to find the time, I can only let you know what has worked for me and others, and maybe that will help you brainstorm what will work for you.

Just to be clear, I am not an advocate of the “you can find time for anything that is really important to you” school of thought.  At least I know it is not as easy as it sounds.  Sometimes you really do have so much going on that it is very difficult to carve out time for self-care, no matter how important it is to you.  Sometimes it feels to me that people who say “you could find time if it were important to you” are just piling on with more guilt, whether that is their intent or not.

So let’s start out by acknowledging that there are many reasons we may be having a hard time finding our self-care time.  Some of these may sound like excuses, but sometimes there really isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.  Some of these issues may need solving, but that’s not what we are doing today. We are looking for ways to squeeze in some time for self-care.

So the first thing to remember is what it is that constitutes self-care.  And the answer to that is whatever it is to you at this point in your life.  So maybe pre-baby, self-care was a massage every week, but you haven’t got time for that right now in your life.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t good self-care, but maybe it is one of those things you get to do once in a while, and not on a weekly basis for a while.  So maybe what you need is a list of things you can do in 5, 10 or 15 minutes, because that’s the amount of time you can come up with.  Maybe you want another list for the rare times you can actually put 30 minutes together at once.  We’ll work on those lists in another post, but right now we’re just trying to brainstorm coming up with the time.

Here is a small list of things that have worked for others:

  • Take your breaks at work, and find a quiet place to sit and breathe, or take a walk – even if it is just up and down the stairs.
  • My favorite piece of advice when I was pregnant – sleep when the baby sleeps.  Forget the dishes that need to be done, or the load of laundry that need to get in the washer.  About the time you get that done the baby is going to wake up and you aren’t going to get to lie down (or meditate, or just sit and drink a cup of tea).
  • Figure out what you can let go of, or ask for help with (a report at work, the dishes, the dusting, making the fancy dinner), and use the time for something that feeds your soul.
  • Ask for and accept help – none of us are really superwoman or superman.  Everyone needs help sometimes, and this may be your time.
  • Get up 5 or 10 minutes earlier for some peaceful alone time. (This one never worked for me, but maybe it would for you.)
  • Get someone else to put the kid(s) to bed one night a week, and take a bubble bath or read a book, or do whatever works for you.
  • This is one of the nicest things my husband use to do for me when my son was small – on Saturday or Sunday he would get up with my son and go out to breakfast with a friend, and let me sleep in (which was exquisite self-care at the time).
  • Take your aging parent, uncle, friend or whoever on errands  with you.  It gives you time to chat, gets them out to get their errands done, and maybe saves you another trip later.

I guarantee that all of these things won’t work for you – maybe none of them will.  But maybe one will either work for you or give you an idea of something else that will.

I am very interested in hearing how you carve out time for self-care, and what you do with that time.  What works for you? Inquiring minds want to know….


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