If you want to feel your best, you need to make time for self-improvement. Time for yourself isn’t something you find, it’s something you need to schedule, prioritize and make the most of.
As women, we already have a lot on our agenda. Oftentimes, we’re may find ourselves accepting additional tasks and responsibilities that help others and taking on more of the “mental load” of running a household. This unfortunately leaves us very little time to care for ourselves. As a busy wife and mother of two, I know the guilt that can accompany carving our time for self-care.
According to a USA Today poll, 1 in 3 people in the U.S. feel guilty when they take time for themselves, yet, 67% say they need more of it.
We need to change the way we look at self-care. Making time to better yourself equips you to better care for those around you and it allows you to lift those up who depend on you.
In my own experience, and what I hear from those that I coach, we feel and operate our best when we regularly exercise our mind, body and spirit. This can look different for each person but here are some examples:
The MIND: Freeing and strengthening your mind might mean reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle or learning something new. Challenging ourselves mentally can help us to feel more capable, confident and empowered.
The SPIRIT: A joyful, peaceful spirit can be built through prayer, meditation, gratitude journaling or soaking in a sunset. Harvard studies show that people who write down a few “gratitude sentences” each day are more positive and optimistic about life. When we dwell on the positive thoughts and events in our lives, there’s little room for the negativity.
The BODY: Exercising the body can bring all three components together. Exercise can oftentimes be intentionally uncomfortable, which is a mental challenge. There’s also a spiritual connection when we push, and connect to, our bodies, especially when practicing mindful movement. With discipline, you’ll begin to discover the incredible rewards of going for a run, taking a yoga class, or a strenuous lifting session.
Research shows that exercise reduces stress and anxiety, improves self esteem, energizes your spirit and increases focus. Not to mention all of the physical benefits.
Making time for all three of these might seem impossible, but I have some tips for how to squeeze them in, even on your busiest days. Remember, it’s all about prioritizing, scheduling and making the most of your time.
1. PRIORITIZE: You must schedule priorities rather than prioritizing your schedule. What I mean is, self-care must be more important than your to-do list. Write down your priorities and set time aside to make them happen. Set an appointment with yourself and don’t back out!
2. SAY "NO." It’s impossible say “yes” to everything and still have time for yourself. Sometimes “no” is necessary.
3. GET CREATIVE: Find small moments during your day to reset the body, mind and spirit. Roll down your windows on your drive home. Listen to an encouraging podcast. Go for a short walk and take note of all that you have to be grateful for.
Making time is a challenge, but it’s worth it. A better, happier you is an appointment (with yourself) away.
My morning mind, body and spirit routine usually takes about 40 minutes, but here’s a quick 15-minute morning practice that can be done even on the busiest days.
- 5 minute of reading: Read something that motivates or challenges you. I like following daily devotional reading plans. Each day is mapped out for me and only takes a few minutes.
- 5 minutes of gratitude: Write down 2-3 things you’re grateful for. Next, jot down 2-3 positive affirmations about yourself and say them out loud.
- 5 minutes of movement: Get outside for a quick walk, jog down the street, work through a yoga flow, pump out as many push-ups, squats and sit ups as you can... anything to get the body moving!
You can also break these up throughout the day, but I challenge you to take at least 15 minutes a day for 15 days and unlock the power of prioritizing YOU!