Meetings. Deadlines. Appointments. Kids. Chores. Bills. Covid (still).

Take a look at your calendar; some are juggling more; some are juggling less. As you review the items, do you see what’s missing? More likely than not, there isn’t a single mention about time for yourself in there. How often have you considered doing something you’d like to do but realized you don’t have time for it? Everyone needs personal time. Time to unwind. Time to breathe. Time to have fun and experience joy. Time to explore hobbies and interests.

We all need time to just be.

Let’s look at your calendar and to-do list. Do you have any time or activities that are just for you? Not making time for you can lead to chronic stress and depression. While you may be busy, and your to-do lists are probably long, you must make yourself a priority to avoid burn-out. Finding time for self-care can be challenging, but even 30 minutes can make a dramatic difference. There’s a saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. Finding time for self-care not only refreshes what’s in the cup but the cup itself.

Let’s look at some ways you can find time for yourself.

Do you plan your week? A well-organized plan can help. It can put your mind at ease and lead to a more productive week. Scheduling time ahead may be an excellent method to guarantee you don’t scrimp on that all-important self-care time. Remember, just because something is important does not necessarily mean you have to do it yourself.

Are there tasks that someone else can handle and do well? Let them. This encourages learning and teamwork.

It’s okay to say “NO”
Having healthy boundaries is very important. If you’re invited to lunch with a group but really need some quiet time – it is okay to say no. It doesn’t matter if the event or request is work related or personal, sometimes you need to say “no” for your own sake.

Take your break time
Ten minutes or 15 minutes, it doesn’t matter. Take your break time. Go away from your work area. Stretch. Go for a quick walk. Drink more water. Meditate. It doesn’t matter what you do, just get away from your area and allow your brain to relax. According to Unify Health Labs, taking your break is good for your health and your productivity.

Do lunch
I’ve been guilty of this and perhaps you are too. Do you eat lunch at your desk? That’s a habit that should be on your “to break” list. One Poll and Eggland’s best did a survey and found that 49% of American workers didn’t take their lunch break. Find out more in this NY Post article.

Are you leaving vacation time on the table? Forbes says that is one reason that Americans are so stressed.

Leave work on time
Do not bring it home with you. Enjoy your evening with family/friends or doing something for yourself.

Cell phones bring the world to us wherever we may be. And that, my friends, is a two-edged sword. Turn off your phone. Step away from computers or tablets. What next? Well, that is up to you. Enjoy the silence. Read a book. Go outside. Your options are only limited by you.

We often abandon self-care just when we need it the most. Feeling overburdened and overwhelmed can make you more likely to reduce or remove time for yourself. On the other hand, if you make self-care automatic, you’ll create habits you can depend on to see you through major setbacks or minor irritations. If you want to reach your goals, self-care belongs on the top of your to-do list. Making time for yourself is self-care and helps you protect your health and wellbeing.

Angel Lewis Bio

I grew up in rural North Carolina. My adult life has been quite an adventure from the stuffy corporate world, to running a motorcycle company, to being self-employed. As I’ve worked through the many changes and challenges that life has served up, too often it felt lonely. That is why I started Embracing Change and am working on growing a community to help others overcome the fear and loneliness of the process.

I currently live in Virginia Beach, where she shares a home with one of my daughters, granddaughter and two dogs. Some of the things that add joy to my life are gardening, reading, and gaming, as well as spending lots of time with friends and family.

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