Are you in desperate need for some me-time? Are you craving more time for yourself? Do you wish you could just take a couple of days off from everything to just recharge?
If you answered all of those with a loud: ‘YES, PLEASE!’, you know you finally have to do something about it.
And yet, it can be so difficult to actually claim me-time. Somehow, there always seems to be something that is more important or there’s something that needs to get done first. It just doesn’t feel right to make time for yourself, when there is so much that still needs to get done.
I feel your struggle. But we demand a lot of ourselves these days and we can’t just keep running without regularly taking a break to recharge.
This past year, I’ve come to experience how important it is to make time for yourself on a regular basis to energize and reconnect, especially when you’re busy or have a lot on your mind (or if you’re an introvert or HSP like me).
That’s why today I wanted to share my top 6 ways to make more time for yourself. Finally!
- 7 Ways to Incorporate Self-Care into Your Daily Routine;
- 7 Simple Ways to Relax After a Stressful Day.
- How to Stop People Pleasing and Choose Yourself
1. Say No More Often
Let’s start with the most obvious and probably also the most difficult way to make more time for yourself. You’ve probably heard about how saying no to something means that you say yes to something else.
And it’s true.
If you decide to say no to that party you were invited to, you suddenly have time to take a bath or read a book on the couch. If you decide not to work overtime for once, you can go home early and squeeze in a quick yoga session before dinner.
But I know as well you do that saying no is not as easy as it sounds. It usually goes hand in hand with feelings of guilt. Because I know how difficult it can be to say no, I’ve written a separate blogpost about it, where I go into more detail about how you can say no, completely guilt-free!
2. Look for Small Opportunities
Often, when we think about time for ourselves, we have this idea that we need to free up a couple of hours, an entire afternoon or even a whole day.
And while I definitely agree that it is amazing to have a day or a weekend all to yourself, there are also a lot of small opportunities throughout the day that you can use to our advantage.
Usually when we have these small moments to ourselves, we immediately find something else that needs to get done to fill them up with. Somehow we have this feeling that we need to be ‘on’ or productive all the time. And that we’re lazy if we’re not ‘busy’.
But those tiny, little moments are actually perfect to make time for yourself and do something you love.
When your meeting gets cancelled last minute, take a moment to yourself and go for a short walk before diving into something new. Or when you come home from work and have to make dinner, first take 5 minutes for yourself to just sit with a cup of tea and a book.
Try to consistently find and create a couple of those small moments throughout your day to just do something for yourself. Believe me, it can make all the difference.
3. Check Your Default Escape
What do you do when you feel like you need to escape your work or your family for a couple of minutes?
Do you grab your phone to scroll through social media? Or do you reach for the remote control to watch Netflix? When we feel like we need an escape, we’re so quick to run into doing whatever we’ve set as our default.
Yet, the default that we’ve set for ourselves is not necessarily the best option.
When the default is checking Facebook, vacuum cleaning or doing the dishes, it’s not going to feel like a moment to yourself. Most of the times it’s probably even going to cost you energy, instead of give you energy, and that’s not what time for yourself should do.
The default that I had set for myself was checking social media. When I had (or needed) time to myself, even if it was just 5 to 10 minutes, that’s what I would do out of habit. Even though I technically had time for myself, it didn’t feel like that.
When you become aware of what your default escape is, every time you find yourself going there on autopilot, you have an opportunity to choose if you’re going to go into default mode or to do something for yourself.
If you choose to do something that you love, such as reading a book, doing a meditation or working on your goals, it’ll give you energy and it will actually feel like time for yourself. Self-care for the win!
You already have a lot of time available for yourself, but it’s up to you what you decide to do with it.
4. Prioritize your me-time and schedule it.
If you think time for yourself is not important (or that other things are more important…), you’ll always end up putting yourself at the bottom of the list. You know, like that thing on your to-do list that is not really important, that you keep pushing forward and that eventually just gets taken off the list? That’s exactly what will happen if you don’t make me-time important.
The thing with making time for ourselves, is that often we don’t prioritize it.
To prioritize me-time, you can try to schedule it. Plan it and put it in your schedule, just as you would do with a meeting. That way, it makes it easier to actually take that time for yourself, because you’ve already set out time for it.
If it never appears in your schedule, you’re probably also not going to make time for it.
5. Learn to listen to your needs
When you feel the need come up to make time for yourself, do you actually listen to it? For me, that was always a big struggle.
I always thought I didn’t deserve to make time for myself or that it wasn’t important enough. Perhaps you have similar thoughts about making time for yourself. As an excuse, you might tell yourself that you’re too busy, that you first need to finish something or that you don’t have time right now.
You push away the need and decide to ignore it.
But when you constantly do that, you’re basically telling yourself: my needs are not important. The more you keep pushing your needs to the background, the more muted they become. Over time, you won’t really notice your needs anymore when they pop up. You automatically have your answer ready: too busy, no time, etc.
Responding to your needs and waving them away becomes something you do on autopilot. You don’t even think about it anymore.
If you try to become more aware of your needs and acknowledge them, it’s also easier to listen to them and act on them. Instead of pushing away your needs on autopilot, you now have a choice: listen to your needs and make time for yourself or ignore it.
Your needs are there, you just have to learn to unmute them.
Start checking in with your needs right away with my FREE Simple Daily Check-In!
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself
If you find it difficult to make time for yourself, you’re probably too hard on yourself.
I was always too hard on myself too (and still am sometimes, it’s a journey!). Whenever I would feel a need come up to take time for myself, I would wave it away. When I was studying for my exams in University for example, I would tell myself: ‘’You can’t make time for yourself now, you need to study. If you don’t study, you won’t pass your test tomorrow.’’
Saying that to myself would make me feel so guilty about making time for myself that I wouldn’t do it. I was completely sabotaging myself and my own needs.
Perhaps you recognize this if…then thinking. Whenever you catch yourself thinking this way, ask yourself: You’ve been working hard all day, are you sure you don’t deserve 15 minutes to yourself?
Try to practice self-compassion and be a little bit more loving towards yourself. If you can recognize that you are enough and that you do enough, it will get easier to make time for yourself.
Just one more thing…
We all need time for ourselves. To relax, to energize, to replenish and to reconnect with ourselves and what’s important to us. Even though we’re busy and it doesn’t seem like it’s important enough. Believe me, it is and that’s when you need it the most.
I hope that this article makes it a little bit easier for you to make time for yourself. Don’t worry if it’s difficult at first, it gets better with practice.
What are you going to do first to make more time for yourself?