Summer is just around the corner but old habits die hard. When was the last time you put your feet up? While an increase in vitamin D intake can make you more optimistic and look forward to the upcoming months, you’ll need a bit more than that to learn how to prioritize your wellbeing. Making time for yourself is essential all year round but even more so now that we’re still dealing with the pandemic and most recently the war. In this article, you’ll find out how making time for yourself can improve your health and how to make it happen despite being busy.
Why is it Important to Make Time for Yourself?
It’s true that not everyone has the luxury to spend their days doing what they love but life’s too short to only focus on your responsibilities. If you never make time for yourself, you won’t have the physical and mental energy to work or take care of your family and your needs. Here are other reasons why you should learn how to recharge batteries this summer:
- Having time for yourself promotes self-growth
People aren’t meant to be static – an important part of living is learning new skills and becoming more attuned to your needs and emotions. If you only focus on ticking off things from your to-do list instead of letting yourself have some me-time, you won’t have enough room to grow and risk remaining in the same place for the rest of your life.
- It can help you become more creative
If you always follow the same schedule, you essentially force yourself to live on autopilot with no space for creative thinking. Taking some time to sit down with your thoughts can inspire you and help you think more outside of the box.
- It can help you achieve your goals
On a similar note, when you take a break from your responsibilities, you also make room for reflection. During me-time, you’re able to evaluate your current situation and set new goals if you’re dissatisfied with your life.
- It improves your emotional intelligence
Spending time with yourself is essentially sitting down with your thoughts and figuring out why you feel the way you do. The more emotionally self-aware you become, the easier it will be for you to navigate relationships and cope with life’s adversities.
- It improves your mental health
Taking some time for yourself and slowing down can make you a happier person in general as it encourages you to stay in the present and enjoy the moment for what it is.
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Tips on How to Make Time for Yourself Even When You’re Busy This Summer
Having a tight schedule is a challenge, not a problem. Here’s how you can place yourself first this summer even when it feels like you’re busy all the time.
- Learn to prioritize your mental health
What’s the biggest reason you want to start making time for yourself? Is it the realization that you don’t enjoy things as much as you used to? Or the emergence of new symptoms that interfere with the quality of your life? Unfortunately, even with this kind of awareness, it might be difficult for you to make time for recharging batteries and prioritizing your mental health if that’s not what you usually do. So, the first thing you should work on is shifting your perspective. Grab pen and paper and write down the negative impact being busy had on you, then try to think of potential consequences these symptoms might have in the long run. For example, you might spend most of your time at work and experience sleep problems because your job is stressful and if your situation doesn’t improve within a few months, your work performance and relationships with others might suffer. The more negative symptoms you’ll notice, the easier it will be for you to commit to making a change and finally put yourself first.
- Improve your time-management skills
We all have to devote a significant amount of time to activities that require a lot of energy and have little to do with pleasure; going to work, cleaning, doing homework, running errands… the list goes on and on. The amount of work we have to do every day might make it seem impossible to ever be able to put our feet up. Luckily, you can make your me-time happen if you improve your time-management skills. The first thing you should do is set daily goals and divide them into high and low priority ones, then evaluate your performance and remove items from your to-do list where necessary. The next step is to figure out your productivity pattern. If you’re the most efficient in the morning, you should complete the most difficult tasks first and leave less important ones for later. You might suddenly have a lot more free time than you used to.
- Learn to say no
Saying no to things that don’t serve us is more challenging than it seems, especially when it comes with a feeling of guilt. Most of us are people-pleasers; we avoid saying no because we fear social rejection and worry about ruining our relationships with others. But what we fail to realize is that by not setting boundaries and agreeing to whatever request someone throws at us, we’re essentially rejecting our own needs. Luckily, saying no is a learnable skill, although it does require some time and effort to master. So let’s start with the foundation: the first thing you should do is identify what your values are. Search for a list of values online and choose a few that resonate with you the most, then write them down and stick the paper to your wall. Make sure to look at it every day and whenever someone asks you for a favor, consider if it aligns with your values. For example, taking on more work assignments is fine if you prioritize professional development but if you see family as more important, doing more work can take valuable time with your loved ones away from you.
- Reduce unnecessary distractions
Have you ever wondered how much time you spend surfing the Internet per day? Even if you don’t run a blog or you aren’t an avid fan of people you follow on social media, chances are you stay online for a little longer than you’d like. It might be especially tempting to scroll on social media when you feel down or struggle with boredom but escaping difficult situations won’t help you advance in life and might be a sign that you don’t enjoy spending time with yourself. What you should do instead is take time to sit down with your thoughts every day; this might help you notice some patterns that indicate which areas of your life you aren’t satisfied with and encourage you to engage in more fulfilling activities that don’t involve your laptop or your phone. You can also set a limit for yourself and only use electronics for a certain amount of time each day. This might not only help you enjoy your company more but also give you more free time.
- Make self-care a habit
If you want to make a big change in your life, take small steps. As one of the most famous sayings goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. So what does it mean in the context of making time for yourself? It means that it’s time to become familiar with self-care, which refers to a set of strategies that promote your wellbeing. These can include any activities that are enjoyable and help you relax, such as having a bath, exercising or engaging in your hobbies but also activities that aim to improve your physical and mental health such as keeping a balanced diet or building a strong support network. Aim to include at least one self-care activity in your routine a day to benefit from it the most. Once you’ve gotten used to prioritizing yourself a bit more, it will be easier for you to go away on a holiday or simply put your feet up this summer.
- Plan something exciting in advance
If making time for yourself every day or even every week is a struggle why not plan something exciting that will make you look forward to having a break this summer? One of the best ways to make sure you’ll make time for yourself and won’t pull out last minute is booking a getaway in advance and paying for transport and hotels. Just make sure you talk to your boss first and you’ll be all set. And if you need recommendations on where to go, visit our latest blog on top US destinations.
- Discover your passion
Passion is one of the best motivators there are – it can even outweigh the guilt you might feel when you say no to favor or aren’t being productive. When you’re passionate about something, you’re filled with determination and happiness which makes you want to engage in the activity again and again. The more you do it, the more fulfilled you feel and the easier it gets to prioritize it, which is a great way to spend your me-time. So the best way to make sure you take some time off this summer is to find a hobby and immerse in it. Check what activities are available in your area and sign up for a weekly class, be it boxing or yoga. An active holiday can be as relaxing as lying on the beach!
- Improve your self-esteem
People who are good at balancing their responsibilities and me-time know that they deserve to have a break. If making time for yourself is a struggle, it might be a sign that your self-esteem is low. To start working on it today, keep a journal where you write down why you’re proud of yourself. For example, you might be proud of yourself for being more optimistic, washing the dishes straight after cooking or being more sociable at work – it doesn’t have to be a big achievement because the goal is to make you feel more positive about yourself. Be consistent and you’ll prioritize your wellbeing more just in time for summer.
- Become more aware of your emotions
To become more attuned to your emotions, learn how to be present in the moment by practicing controlled breathing. Take a few minutes per day to sit in silence and focus on your breath; with every exhale imagine that you’re becoming more grounded and with every inhale relax more and more. If you notice any emotions, simply observe them and picture them drifting away as clouds do. If you experience negative feelings, don’t fight them and tell yourself it’s normal to feel this way instead. With enough practice, whenever you feel guilty about not going to an event or not ‘working harder’, you’ll be able to question it and feel more at ease.
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- Get familiar with ‘no zero days’ strategy
No zero days strategy is dedicated to people who want to become more productive but it’s an effective way to achieve other types of goals too. In your case, the goal will be to make sure you take some time for yourself every day, even if it’s just 5 minutes because any kind of progress is better than no progress. In fact, it’s best if you start small and ease into your new routine slowly. This method will also help you enforce all the previous advice and include self-care and breathing into your daily schedule. On top of that, try to become comfortable with doing nothing. Sit down on the couch and lie down without reading a book or watching TV and if any guilt arises, refer to the previous step. The more accustomed you’ll become to letting yourself step back from your responsibilities, the easier it will be for you to take days off in the future and have the summer you deserve.
Learn more about contributor, Joanna Cakala