Some people feel fulfilled when they make time for other people, support them, or just be there for them. Yet, they feel selfish when they do the same for themselves.
Why is it okay to make time for others and not yourself? People make time for what they want, so why should you feel guilty about making time for yourself?
It is true that your significant other, family, friends, or even community need you, and you should do all you can to be there for them. It is also true that you need to make time for other important things in your life like your career or work.
But making time for yourself shouldn’t prevent you from being there for others, no matter how pressing their needs are. Also, you can still carve out quality me-time for yourself, regardless of how busy your work, studies, or family schedules are.
Here are five ways to make time for yourself, no matter how hectic your schedule is, without feeling guilty.
1. Delegate Some Tasks
I get it; many of us hate asking for help. However, that’s not usually because we don’t need help, but because we are mostly afraid that others aren’t capable of doing things the way we want them done.
We want to control everything – to be sure every single detail is exactly as we want it. Guess what? This is a recipe for burnout!
Learn to delegate. Things won’t go awfully wrong, and your world isn’t likely to come crashing just because you let someone else handle a few tasks for you.
Ask for help from family, friends, or colleagues – you can use their help from time to time. Don’t hesitate to pay for help if you can’t find someone to offer a free service. Hire someone to mow the lawn or clean the house.
Pay someone to walk your dog, hire a babysitter, or outsource some of your tasks. It’s not difficult to find someone to do just about any task these days.
One more thing: when you ask for help or delegate, make sure you are really taking time for yourself. Don’t give in to the urge to micro-manage people.
When you delegate a task, be clear about what you want and trust that it will be done as you want. Don’t be a helicopter boss or parent. Controlling behavior often leads to mistrust – people generally don’t like frequent check-ins or having someone constantly breathing down their necks.
2. Unplug from Technology
Finally, you get an entire afternoon to yourself. But wait. Have you truly made time for yourself, or you’ve simply cleared your schedule so that you can spend the entire afternoon scrolling through Facebook and Instagram?
Here’s the thing. Me-time won’t mean much if you spend a major of it mindlessly reading the hottest gist and mudslinging on social media or glued to your TV screen.
The whole point of making time for yourself is to cut down distractions as much as possible. For this reason, unplug from technology – shut down your computer, turn off your smartphone, and switch off your TV.
I’m not suggesting that you go cold turkey on social media and all your electronics. However, powering down your devices reduces external distractions and allows you to focus more on yourself.
3. Practice Self-Care
In your daily busyness, it is difficult to hear what your body and mind are telling you. People make time for what they want, and if you want your body and mind to be in good shape, you need to take a break from all that busyness to make time for yourself every once in a while.
Block out time me-time for yourself at least once a month. This will give you time to recharge and come back fresh. Your partner, kids, family, friends, work colleagues, or business partners will appreciate you better. If you have a partner, encourage them to do the same.
What do you do when you block out time for yourself? Sleep all day? That’s one way to look at it, but here are a few beneficial self-care ideas you could try during your me-time.
- Have a spa day at home. You could simply take a long, relaxing bath or hire a masseur/masseuse to give you a body massage. Want to pamper yourself even more? Visit a local spa for a full-body treatment.
- Prepare a healthy meal and enjoy eating it.
- Spend some time sitting outside in the sunlight or under a shade, and bask in the feeling of warmth or cool breeze on your skin.
However, self-care isn’t only about caring for your body. You can practice mental and spiritual self-care, too. Some good examples of mental self-care include listening to your favorite music, practicing mindfulness, spending time counting your blessings (being grateful), or simply reading a good book.
Here are a few spiritual self-care ideas you might want to try:
- Spend 10 minutes or more in meditation.
- Spend about 20 minutes or more walking barefooted in the sand.
- Take a walk in the woods to help you connect with nature.
- Spend some time praying or engaging in self-reflection.
4. Learn to Say No Sometimes
We all have 24 hours in a day and no more, so time is arguably the most precious yet finite resource you have. Knowing this, it is crucial to use it wisely because each second you spend can never be regained.
It is okay to say no to things you truly don’t want to do or things that don’t add any value to your life. You shouldn’t spend your limited time doing things you don’t want to do or feel like doing. You don’t have to be at the beck and call of everyone in your life.
Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as emergencies. Still, you shouldn’t see yourself as people’s savior – you have your life to live, and you must make time to live it – that is the most important thing.
Learn to say no to some invitations if you really feel like doing something else, even if that “something else” is lounging lazily around your home doing absolutely nothing! It is okay to turn people down, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for saying no. Remember to be polite when you decline an invitation or can’t help a friend.
5. Find a Way to Do Nothing
Learn to relax! This is one of the best things you can do for yourself during your me-time and leads to enhanced functionality overall. Think about what makes you feel more relaxed and do it as often as possible.
Meditation helps me relax. Yoga works well for some people and can be good for mental health. Try spending time deep breathing, swimming, visualization, or listening to relaxing music. Whatever works for you, make sure to do more of it during your alone time.
People make time for what they want – you should make time for yourself because you are your number one priority when the chips are down.
Remember that you are not self-centered when you make time for yourself. The truth is that you can’t pour from an empty cup or give what you don’t have, so fill your cup first (make time for yourself first) before pouring from it (making time for others).