Three Tips for Finding Time For Self Care When You're Way Too Busy

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Sometimes it can seem like you’re always running behind - like there’s never enough time in the day. You know you need to take care of yourself and find ways to relax and stay sane, but between all the other things on your to-do list, there’s never time. We may even look enviously at others thinking, “they have it so much easier than I do. Look at how much time they have to spare in the day!”

The reality is that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s up to us how we spend that time, for the most part. Lack of time is one of the biggest challenges clients have when it comes to considering making a change toward a healthier lifestyle or finding better balance. There’s no time to cook a meal, work out, read that book, get sleep, etc. Even the busiest of person has time in their day that can be better managed. Below are some tips for finding more time in your day so you can find a healthier balance and less stress!

  1. Find and acknowledge your time black holes! For 5-7 days, preferably during a timeframe that also includes at least one weekend day, write down how you’re spending your time. Break it down into hourly chunks if you can. Do you best to just write it down each thing without judgement. Maybe that 4 hours of Netflix was really helpful to your stress relief. Now is not the time to judge. But, it can be really enlightening to see exactly how your time is spent.

  2. Add some screen time restrictions to your devices. Do you REALLY need to be on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat for hours a day? Must you scroll through the news or stock app 3-4 times per day? It can be really helpful to set time limits for yourself with certain categories that suck away precious time. You can find apps that will help you track this, and can alert you to when you’ve hit your limit for the day. If your “time suck” activities you discovered in tip #1 aren’t related to your phone or computer, well done! You can apply this tip to cutting back on the time you’re spending on other things, like binging episodes on Netflix. 

  3. Schedule in relaxing breaks and “fun” time. Your fun may be different than mine. My idea of a relaxing break may sound boring to you. But the bottom line is, if you’re not making time for whatever works for you - it’s not going to happen! Say you love painting and find it fun and relaxing. Set time up on your calendar to paint! You’ll have the best success if the fun/relaxing activity is waiting for you - ie: the paints are already set up in an area ideal for painting. Or, your gym clothes are set out and ready to go. Or your bath salts are set out on the bathroom counter. That way when it’s time, there aren’t many excuses standing in the way of you and that activity. Even if you just schedule 15 minutes for an activity, it’s a start! Often times 15 minutes turns into a longer time because we find that we’re enjoying ourselves, but if we don’t give ourselves the luxury of doing those activities that we enjoy, they often can slip by the wayside.

Once you’re managing your time better, you can start making time for things that matter more to you AND reduce your stress level. My new e-course, 21 Days to Less Stress, can help you learn to identify your biggest stressors, discover how to turn the volume down on stress through self care and reframing, and become more resilient against future stress. Learn more and enroll at gosimplewellness.com/stress

Have Fun EVERY Day to Lower Stress

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Having fun is the best stress reliever. Having a good time can help lower your blood pressure, and can help you find perspective on a problem you’re facing. But, I hear a lot of people tell me they don’t have time for fun. Ugh, honestly that’s when you need to have fun the most! 

I suggest that people make time for at least 30 minutes of fun per day. Literally, put it on your calendar and treat it with the same importance as a doctor’s appointment. These 30 minutes shouldn’t include any expectations. The only thing it needs to “do” is be fun to you. It doesn’t have to seem fun to anyone else or be Instagram-worthy. You don’t need to accomplish anything -  this is just for your enjoyment only.

Where some people get stuck is deciding what to do for fun! It can be way harder than you think. We are so wrapped up in our day-to-day activities, that separating what we enjoy vs. what we know has to get done can be challenging. If you’re struggling with what to do to fill your 30 minute fun time block, or just want some more ideas, maybe it’s time to take a walk down memory lane! 

Think about it - what did you do for fun at age 9? 

Were you way into riding your bike around town? Did you love sitting out on a bench reading Babysitter’s Club books? Were you playing in the pool? Did you lose time drawing or coloring? Were you always out playing games with your friends? Use these clues from younger you to find out what might be fun. You don’t need to pop wheelies on your bike in your neighborhood, but maybe you could take your bike over to a trail and just ride for fun - not for speed or with a particular destination in mind. If you loved reading, pick up a new fiction book. Non-fiction books tend to be a secret way of “working on ourselves,” which is great - but not for pure enjoyment. Remember, we have no goals with this “fun time.” 

I challenge you to make a list of everything you remember doing for fun as a kid. Then, make another column and list how you could incorporate each of those activities in your life now. Maybe you’ll try coloring and be super bored, and that’s okay. We evolve as we get older, and maybe that’s just not the activity for you any more. Or maybe it needs to be adapted to be more interesting to you these days. Remember, we’re trying to have FUN here - so if something is not as great as you remember, move onto another thing on the list. 

A word of note. Our days have a finite number of hours in them, and there are a lot of things that you need to make time for, including at least 30 minutes of exercise. So, if something you loved doing as a kid qualifies for exercise now - you can feel free to combine those 30 minute time blocks into one! If you can find an activity you really love AND it gets you moving, I’m obviously on board! 

If stress is dragging you down, or you have some eating habits that could use work, why not join my 60 Day Jumpstart Program? It's packed with the accountability, inspiration, and expert advice you need to get back to feeling more like yourself!