Today’s society is more full and jam-packed with obligations than it has ever been in any other point in history. We are busy with our jobs, housework, families and extracurricular activities. This doesn’t leave much time to really nurture and take care of ourselves. One thing I have learnt over the past few years, more so recently since running my own daycare is that your “me time” HAS TO BE YOUR NON-NEGOITIABLE. Medical research is constantly telling us that we are so stressed by our current lifestyles – in all honesty you don’t need to run a study to see the effects of this. Studies have also shown that stress is the BIGGEST cause of every major disease on the planet from cancer, heart disease and even diabetes. We are a stressed out society and it is high time that changed. Societal changes take time; however personal changes can happen instantly.
One of my mentor’s Gabrielle Bernstein gets asked a lot “I don’t have time to meditate [insert your own “me time” activity)” Her response is always “Do you have time to feel like crap?” Now let’s answer that honestly shall we (feel free to go grab a pen and paper). I invite you to answer that question, do you have time to feel like crap? If you do, well then you also have time to change that around and feel happy.
Now let’s get something quite clear, when I talk about scheduling your “me time,” I’m not talking about 3 hours everyday (unless you have that time, then go for it). I am talking about scheduling whatever you can handle. Whether that be 20 minutes in the morning or before bed, or 5 minutes several times throughout the day. The most important thing is that you make it the non-negotiable on your to do list. Why? I hear you asking. Well let’s dive into that now. When we feel like crap, rushed, overwhelmed and stressed we are spreading that energy to everyone and everything we do in our lives. Science has proven that we are all made of energy of varying frequencies. Emotions are energy. Therefore, our emotional state seeps into every nook and cranny of our lives. Wouldn’t you rather spread love, happiness and inspiration? The good news is you can. It will take some planning, commitment and dedication on your part. But it is absolutely doable. To help you out here are my top tips.
How to Schedule Your “Me Time”
- Chunks or Clusters – determine whether you would like to devote a chunk of time (i.e. 30 minutes in the morning) or smaller clusters of “me time” throughout the day (i.e. 5 minutes during morning and afternoon tea breaks). It is important to do what works best for you, as you are more likely to follow through. For me personally I prefer getting up 20 minutes earlier in the morning. I oil pull while reading an inspiring book, do a mini meditation and a short yoga sequence. I find that this fills me up for the day and allows me to take on daily challenges easily and with a clear head (and heart).
- Form a habit – initially research said it takes 21 days to form a habit. They have re-evaluated this based on more studies and have found that for longer lasting effects that to form a habit is 60 days. Yes, I do realise that can seem quite daunting; it is 2 months. At the end of the day though you need to ask is your happiness and family worth it? I realised things can come up last minute, however, I invite you to schedule it in your diary or set your phone to give you daily reminders for the next 60 days. As time goes on your brain develops new neural pathways, so that at the end of 60 days it has cemented itself as a habit in your life and you won’t know yourself from the person you were 60 days prior.
- Set your intentions – set your intentions for daily, weekly and monthly goals. For example, I told you above what I do every morning. I also have a weekly time scheduled to have a lovely relaxing bath with salts and essential oils. At the beginning of every month I also set my core desired feeling (see Danielle LaPorte’s “The Desire Map” for more information).
- What do you love – write a list of things that make you feel joyful, fulfilled and connected to yourself. That could be anything from meditating (scientifically proven to be the best form of reducing stress), yoga, walking, running, taking a bath to monthly weekends away, marathons or reading a book every week. The most important thing is to choose activities that make YOU feel good. Schedule these into your day, week and month.
- Practice Gentleness – we all have those times, especially when starting something new when we fall off the bandwagon. It is important not to beat yourself up. Instead show yourself compassion and empathy. Journal about how you were feeling at the time you decided to miss your “me time.” See what comes up for you, and then get back in the saddle tomorrow.
When we show ourselves nurture and love, we spread that to everyone else we come into contact with. If we do these small acts of love everyday we have more love to give to others; our children, our colleagues, our community. When we are running on empty in the self-nurture department we have nothing to give. You may relate that at the end of the day when you feel truly depleted the last thing you want to do is play with your child. Am I right? This is why it is so important to fill up your love and nurture tank in the morning, throughout the day and every week. I can speak from experience that your life will become so much more fulfilling, joyful and connected. The little things won’t bother you, you will have more patience and time will seem to expand to fit everything in.
You will also be positioning yourself as a positive role model in your child’s life. Gone are the days of being a martyr and doing everything yourself at the expense of your own health and wellbeing. Is this selfish? No, I don’t believe so. You are looking after yourself, so you can look after your family to the best of your ability. This doesn’t mean you ignore your family, children or your work. Be flexible to ebb and flow with the rest of your life, but don’t let yourself suffer in the process.
I would love for you to set yourself one small goal for the next 60 days. Maybe that might be meditating every morning or evening for 10 minutes, being mindful at the traffic lights or going for a daily walk. Let me know how you go, I would love to hear about your journey.