Me-time can seem so elusive.
We are often last on our own lists but, this is the year it’s going to change, right?
I’m writing this after the third Afri-love Connection Club vision-boarding and goal-setting workshop I’ve run this year. Pretty much every single one of the 32 women who participated had space dedicated to how they were going to take better care of themselves and make more me-time this year. And I believed them!
But we know how it goes…
So how can we ensure that good intentions don’t fall away to let old habits and the busyness of life take over?
This is the part where I share my disclaimer: I’m constantly exploring how best to answer this question myself!
See, I love coming up with ideas and I get very excited about them. I want to do it all. But this easily leads to overwhelm, overcommitting and ultimately, little time left for myself. The tips below are things I’m constantly learning and re-learning. When I exercise discipline – they work!
In no particular order:
1 Schedule it in
Cast your romantic notions of spontaneity aside. You schedule meetings with others so, do the same for these meetings with yourself. Treat them with the same respect you would, if there was somebody else committing to spend that time with you.
You could even schedule these moments in FIRST and fit all your other commitments around these most important events. We cannot give from an empty cup. Filling ours should be our priority always. I know this makes sense to you but, it can be so hard to put into practice! What I’m learning is that it’s like a muscle. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
2 Think of ideas in advance
When’s the last time you made a list of all the things that make you happy? It’s so much fun to reconnect with what makes life sweet for you. Indulge yourself in this exercise and use it as a reference for number 1 above.
3 Have ideas for different lengths of time
We can dream of half days spent at the spa, entire evenings devoted to creative pursuits and all manner of wonderful ways to spend lots of me-time. In reality, despite our dreams and best intentions, we’ll often be unable to consistently devote big chunks of time to this self-care.
That’s why I recommend making sure that the list you create in number 2 has activities that vary, in terms of time required. That way, if you can only spend 15 minutes today, half an hour that evening or 1 hour on Saturday, it’s easy to find an activity you love, that can be enjoyed in that space of time.
Otherwise, you run the risk of not doing anything at all, because you can “never find the time”.
4 Get accountability
Who’s good at delivering tough love to you? Get them on board to remind you that you’ve chosen to do this and why. Better yet, declare your intentions publicly. This is how the #justformechallenge began.
I wanted to devote time to self-care, every single day for a month and, I knew that if I told my Insta fam and Afri-love Women about it, they’d be watching. Who knew what a beautiful experience it would turn out to be – to have so many people join in and share their journeys too. Join me again this February (sign up here for resources + inspiration)!
5 Ask for help
Difficult as it may be for some of us, especially when we identify as people who get things done (which pretty much covers all the women reading this!), asking for help works wonders. Lean on your partner, family, friends and colleagues. They want to support you.
We need to move away from this idea that self-care is self-indulgent. It’s as vital as sleep and food and air, for the total health of our minds, bodies and spirits.
6 Make do with what you have
So maybe weekly trips to the beach aren’t that possible when we live hundreds of miles away. Perhaps monthly spa treats aren’t how we’re prioritising our spending right now. We will always have limitations in our life but they need not prevent us from enjoying our me-time.
Do the best with the resources that area available to you. Get creative; leverage all the DIY knowledge on the internet; ask for favours; cash in on loyalty schemes …
I personally have a free 1 hour massage with my name on it, thanks to a year of threading, waxing and the rare pedicure. I also love making things (all kinds of things!) so, many of my me-time ideas involve concocting and crafting. Here’s a Pinterest board I curate, featuring all kinds of project ideas…
7 Be present
However it is that you decide to spend your me-time and whatever the length of time, practice mindfulness. Be present in the moment so that you can soak up all its goodness. This can help to give you a day’s worth of satisfaction in just 1 hour. Ok, I made up this statistic but, I believe in the premise!
8 Track it
This might sound like another of my not so sexy suggestions but, hear me out. When you look back and see all the me-time you spent, noted down, how proud are you going to feel? How inspired will you then be to keep making space and time for more?
If you also note down the details and duration of what you did, you can then use this information when planning more me-time in the future.
I designed a printable tracker for next month’s #justformechallenge but, you can actually use it anytime. Sign up here to access the download (as well as other freebies I’ve created).
9 Go with the flow
As much as I’m an advocate of planning, there are times when it can be antithetical to self-care. We need to give ourselves a break when things don’t turn out exactly how we imagined. Have a plan, yes, but be flexible too.
Over to you
I’d love to hear your strategies for carving out time for yourself. Please share in the comments.