• 06/27/2023

Start Making Time for Yourself: A Complete Guide to Putting Yourself First Sometimes

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It’s so easy to spread yourself too thin. You might reason that it’s for someone you love or it’ll help you get ahead at work, but making time for yourself should be an equal priority. Learn how to prioritize yourself without losing track of everything else by checking out this quick guide.

Why Is Making Time for Yourself Important?

If you’re always using your time to help others, you never get to reflect on what you need. Quiet time is an opportunity to evaluate your emotional well-being and physical health. You’ll better understand how to support yourself through self-care habits because you put your needs first.

You won’t get as much joy from your life as you deserve if you don’t take care of yourself. Sometimes that means reserving time to sit with your thoughts, process your emotions or express yourself through creative outlets. None of that can happen if you’re always busy.

3 Benefits of Self-Care

Get motivated to enjoy quiet time by learning about the importance of self-care. Sometimes the smallest efforts make the biggest difference in your well-being.

1. You’ll Reduce Your Chances of Burnout

Recent research shows that 36% of U.S. adults are experiencing a moderate level of burnout. Although the symptoms can vary by person, it typically includes things like exhaustion, a sense of failure and decreased motivation in their work and personal lives.

When burnout lasts longer than a few days, you could easily develop conditions like depression and anxiety. Self-care moments release the stress that builds into burnout.

2. You’ll Understand What Your Mind Needs

It’s easy to ask someone how they’re doing. It’s a normal conversation that happens daily, but people don’t talk to themselves like that. Having a moment to yourself allows you to reflect on your emotional well-being and find solutions for whatever anxiety, fear or sadness lingers in your heart.

3. You’ll Process Your Life Better

A self-care night isn’t just about feeling like you’re at a spa or on vacation. It’s also a crucial time to process your life. Spend that time reflecting on your day, learning from your mistakes, celebrating your successes and charting your growth. Little joys won’t pass by unnoticed and you’ll recognize your self-growth in real-time.

Tips to Find Time for Yourself

When you’re ready to start making time for yourself, use these tips to change your routine in the best ways for you.

1. Create a Shared Calendar

Consider who you spend most of your time with. That person could be your partner, a roommate or a co-worker. The individual who’s always by your side should also be your biggest form of support.

Ask if they’d feel comfortable creating a shared calendar with you. You could schedule your current routine and assign responsibilities in new ways to delegate more effectively. Whether the delegation happens at home or work, you’ll gain free space in your day and find a time for your biggest needs.

2. Get Better at Saying No

It’s so hard to tell someone no. No one ever wants to come across as mean or rude, but it’s also a crucial way everyone has to take care of themselves. 

Whenever possible, say no to the non-essentials. It’s okay not to answer texts immediately or work yourself until you pass out at night. Picking up someone else’s slack at work isn’t healthy when it means you’ll sacrifice your time after hours. Those are vital moments when you could be taking time for yourself.

Think of how much your mental and emotional well-being would flourish without a busy schedule. You could practice naming your emotions and journaling about them to regulate your emotional well-being long-term.

Even if you only use your free time to catch up on the sleep you’ve been losing, it’s still an investment in your well-being so your life is more enjoyable.

3. Schedule Time for Yourself

It might feel silly to reserve time for yourself on your calendar. It can seem too official for a relaxing session of crocheting or reading, but it’s a practical way to start making time for yourself. Try reserving a block of time for yourself every week, two weeks or monthly. You’ll learn to work around the time blocks in the future and make them normal recurring events.

4. Explore What Interests You

You could also avoid making time for yourself if you don’t have relaxing hobbies. Find an activity that makes you excited to have free time. You’ll be more likely to reserve that 30-minute block on your calendar every weekend if you’re excited about continuing your pottery project or flying your new drone through backyard obstacles.

Need some inspiration? Sort potential hobbies by how they help your brain. There are three types of self-care — physical, mental and social. Whatever type is most engaging for you, the activity should reduce your anxiety and never add stressful responsibilities to your to-do list.

5. Reflect on Your Existing Boundaries

Healthy boundaries are essential. They’re how you preserve your energy and care for your mental and physical needs. Saving time for yourself is another way to set a boundary for your well-being, but that could feel impossible if you’re not setting boundaries in other areas of your life.

Reflect on your existing boundaries and how well you can enforce them. Are they serving your emotional well-being or do you need to establish new boundaries? You might intend not to answer the phone after dinner unless it’s an emergency from a loved one, but cave to co-workers or your manager most nights.

You’ll get better at maintaining personal boundaries if you recognize their purpose and the importance of each. Try writing your new goals in a journal to process them. You could set a boundary to reserve that 30-minute block on weekends to improve your mental health with a relaxing activity. Your note would also include the purpose of that boundary, like rebuilding your mental health or valuing your well-being as much as other people’s.

With time and practice, it’ll get easier to set aside time for yourself because you’ll value your body’s needs and hold firm to your boundaries.

Try Making Time for Yourself

Putting yourself first can feel like an uphill battle, but it’s worth it. Start making time for yourself today by considering what’s preventing you from doing so. You might focus on standing up for your personal time, shifting your schedule or delegating responsibilities. You’ll reach a better place for your mental health with time and practice, no matter what tools you need to make quiet time a concrete part of your schedule.

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