When life gets busy the first thing that falls to the wayside is any time we dedicate to ourselves. We stop going to the gym, grab a “quick” dinner rather than a healthy one, put off our hobbies, and may even isolate from friends and family. Over time neglecting yourself and your needs will take a toll on your mental and physical health. When you don’t make time for yourself you may begin to feel lonely, worthless, overworked, depressed, stressed, and insecure. With the beginning of s new year, it is a great time to consider how you can dedicate more time to yourself on a weekly basis to improve your overall mood and health. Below are a few steps to take to make time for yourself regardless of how busy you are to make sure your needs are taken care of.
Determine Your Goals
Ask yourself what areas of your self-care routine you feel you have been neglecting. Some of these areas include physical, emotional, psychological, social, spiritual, and relational self-care. Try making a list of some of these areas you “wish” you had time for and then make a list of how you actually spend your time. Doing this can help you see what areas of self-care you need to give more attention to.
Pencil Yourself In
We spend so much time “penciling” everyone else in, but we often don’t give ourselves a thought. Once you have determined your self-care goals, it is important to evaluate your schedule and see where these things fit in. Maybe you wake up earlier to work out on Wednesdays, meal prep on Sunday afternoons, or do dinner with a friend on Friday. Actually writing self-care into your schedule can help you prioritize yourself and follow through.
Make Sacrifices Where You Can
Spending more time on yourself means you will most likely have to make sacrifices in other areas in your life. Be prepared to say “no” to some plans with friends, leaving work earlier, delegate work to others, or go to bed earlier as a part of taking care of yourself. It may be uncomfortable to do these things at first but the benefits will be worth it.
Hold Yourself Accountable
While it is easy to put the time dedicated to you on the back burner it is important that you try to keep it a priority. Name two things that you must do every week that are non-negotiable, regardless of how much you have going on. Then make a list of other things you want to add in and see where they fit or if they can be added the next week. The goal is that you feel rejuvenated, happy, and healthy.
If you are finding it difficult to make time for yourself and would like some support, it may be useful to connect with a therapist. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today!