Time to ourselves doesn’t just feel good and lift our spirits, it is also necessary. In today’s world, we are always on the go, constantly bombarded with information and opinions, texts, messages, news articles, and massive amounts of stress-causing issues. We must have time to relax and decompress.
When we conjure up an image of relaxation, it’s usually along the line of a warm bubble bath complete with wine and candles. But any parent will tell you, an uninterrupted bath is almost unheard of. How can a busy parent or hard-working professional find more time for themselves?
We should re-define the term “self-care”. It doesn’t need to mean time completely alone, it's about taking time to do something you want to do for your own emotional, mental and physical health. Basically, it means being selfish for a change. (And that is okay!)
Here are some simple suggestions for making self-care a part of your daily life:
1) Make simple pleasures more indulgent: Doing this helps you to be more present and live in the moment. Select a new wine that will perfectly compliment your dinner. Spruce up your favorite room with a bouquet of flowers. Allow yourself a few extra minutes to coordinate your outfit and accessories. It doesn’t have to take much thought, but learning to enjoy life’s simple pleasures can enrich every day.
2) Create therapeutic space: Maybe it’s your bedroom, or office. (Believe it or not, you can make places in your home off-limits to your kids) Change it and decorate it to your liking! Hang fresh curtains, buy a new piece of artwork, limit electronics or distractions. Develop a space that caters to your needs, and retreat to it when you need to, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
3) Plan fun activities that are for the whole family, not JUST the kids: Movie nights, Game nights, Outings and Dinners- the whole family can enjoy these. But it’s okay to pick something mom and dad are also sure to enjoy. And if the kids misbehave when things don’t always go their way, it’s time to call the babysitter and have a date night!
4) Say "no": We all have a lot of responsibility to others. Our families, friends, employers, coworkers. Learn to set boundaries. Work energy should be confined to work hours. If a friend asks you to do something you just don’t have the time, energy or desire to do…. It is okay (and healthy) to say “no!”
5) Do more "walking" than "talking": The growing to-do lists, the ‘I should” or “I want to”s that never get accomplished. Not only do they bring us down but they also weight on us and rob us of peaceful moments. How are you supposed to enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon if you’re stressing about the workplace task you’ve put off? Make a to-do list and then check it off! Is there a project you want to start or finish up? Tell yourself that you must do it, start it, complete it. Get those tasks out of the way and the moments you have to yourself will be so much more relaxing and enjoyable.