June 26, 2010
When I was living the single life, finding time to take care of myself was never a problem. When I was tired from a stressful day at work I could go to the gym, work out as long as I liked, go home and slip into bed for hours of uninterrupted sleep. I'd wake up the next day refreshed and ready to take on the world. However, since four amazing preschool-aged foster children have come into my life, finding "me time" has suddenly become more of a challenge. Along with a full-time job, my days and nights are now filled with fixing dinners, giving baths, preparing bottles, packing diaper bags, doing laundry and much, much more.
Though my schedule has become somewhat daunting, I know that others have been facing more challenging schedules and situations for years. To maintain balance so we can continue at our busy pace, we must all work some "me time" into our schedules.
Finding "me time" requires setting aside time for ourselves to take a break and engage in an activity that gives us that needed lift. It can be time spent in meditation or prayer, working in the garden, soaking in the tub, getting a massage, being with a special person, exercising, or enjoying any creative pursuit that celebrates YOU. Most of us are not fully aware that we need "me time." And maybe we don't know what would give us that little boost. But that doesn't mean we can just give up on the idea. To get "me time" into your routine, you need to take three steps: develop a plan, manage your time, and take action.
I've already listed a few examples of things you could do during your "me time." But you know what you like better than I do. Think of what brings you joy, peace, or refreshment. And be realistic. You may not be able to play a game of pick-up basketball with teenagers, finance a trip to Egypt, or hike to the top of El Capitan. So in this planning phase, it may be helpful to jot down a list of choices and then weigh the pros and cons.
Have you made your list? Good going! You have just decided what to do during your "me time." Now, think about how much "me time" you need and how often you need it to get your life back in balance. For example, you might plan to drive to the town center on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to visit the craft store.
Now that you have a plan, you need to do a little time management to work in your "me time." The first step is to determine how much time you are wasting each day. You can use this information to fit it into your schedule. This may simply mean cutting back on watching TV, going to bed earlier, or passing up lunch at Denny's for a nap or a walk in the park. Be strong. Making room for "me time" may mean you have to turn down some invitations.
Once you have decided what to do during your "me time" and reorganized your schedule to accommodate it, you have to take action. Like the slogan from Nike says "Just Do It."
If I did not practice self-care and incorporate some "me time" into my life, it's less likely that I'd be able to care for the little ones entrusted to me or be productive in my job. I hope that I was able to convince you to put some "me time" into your routine. This simple but much-needed step can increase your health and happiness and add years to your life.
What are you waiting for?