In my recent blogs, I have been writing about how to upgrade your Mindset, and this week I am continuing this theme and it’s all about Self-Care –we are looking at how important it is to schedule yourself some ME time to improve your wellbeing.

Let’s talk about ME time. What I am talking about here is non-negotiable time for yourself where you can do the things that make you happy.

What does this have to do with positive mindset? Well, here’s the thing: – if you don’t look after YOU then you can’t help anyone else. You have to put your own oxygen mask on first. It’s no good wearing yourself into the ground because then, frankly, you are no use to anyone, least of all yourself.

We spend so much time doing what we feel we SHOULD do, that mostly we don’t make time for what we would LOVE to do. This makes us feel trapped in a cycle of doing and we can become resentful, stressed and unhappy. Does that resonate?

We need time to rest and recuperate. The more stressed we are, the more we need that downtime.

If you want to increase your level of satisfaction in life and generally happiness, then one of the most important steps you can take is scheduling in some time to do what you love.

If you are still reading at this point I’m guessing it’s because you aren’t currently taking any or enough time for yourself, and you might be feeling tired, burnt out, exhausted, resentful, thinking ‘what about me?’ It’s not selfish to take time for yourself, it’s vital. You know this to be true, but there is a reason you aren’t doing it. You might be saying that you simply don’t have enough time. We have a lot of demands on us from life, work, and our family. Finding time for yourself can make finding time for ourselves a huge challenge. It might feel like just a dream to have some time for yourself. If that is you then I want you to consider this: Women, especially, equate having time for ourselves with feelings of guilt. Because there is so much to do, taking time for yourself feels like it isn’t worth the feelings of guilt when you ‘should’ be doing something else. However, the evidence shows that the personal benefits you will gain from taking this time will be worth it.

The benefits of taking time for yourself are numerous: it improves concentration, increases productivity, increases satisfaction, gives you chance to reset your mind, helps you to problem solve more efficiently, gives you more self-awareness, leads to more happiness, helps you to understand yourself, and all these in turn leads to having a more positive relationship with others.

I used the analogy earlier of putting on your own oxygen mask first – it’s what they say in the safety talk when on a flight. How many of us deplete ourselves for the sake of others, when by taking care of our own needs first, we would be able to help other people better? We would be more balanced, calmer and a happier person to be around. Carrying on without taking care of ourselves means that we start to compromise not only our physical health but our emotional health. As a result, we can end up suffering from ill-health and stress and then we can’t help anybody.

I know this only too well, as this was my pattern for many years.

What might this self-care look like? This isn’t about taking huge amounts of time out. This is doing simple things like:
• Making sure you are eating healthy nutritious foods – have health snacks around so that you don’t dive in for sugar filled treats which spike your blood sugar and end up leaving you depleted.
• Drinking plenty of water.
• Doing some exercise.
• Take time away from the digital world.
• Taking time to do something you enjoy.

Finding the Time:
Here are some suggestions as to how you might shoe-horn some time in to your busy diary. If you can just fit in an hour a week to start off with, that will be something to really look forward to:
• Do you work long hours and stay at your desk later than you need to? Could you leave work earlier?
• Could you cut your TV watching time and give yourself an hour?
• Is there something in your schedule you could drop without everything falling apart?
• Are you aware that you spend a lot of time browsing on social media when you could reallocate that time to some ME time? It is easy to fall down the rabbit hole.
• Can you delegate something to someone at home? Maybe get teenage children washing up?
• What about delegating something at work? Is that possible?
• Could you get up earlier one morning?
• Are you attending events or meetings when you really don’t want to because you are afraid of saying ‘no’? Learning to say ‘no’ is very empowering and it becomes easier with practice.

Remember – the things we focus on expand:
• If we keep repeating to ourselves that we are too busy then we are going to attract more of the same.
• Try changing that mantra to something like, ‘I have all the time I need’.
• You are no good to anybody if you are depleted, lacking energy, resentful and exhausted.
• Put your own mask on so that you can help the others around you better.

What will you do with your YOU time?

This is going to look different because we are all different and like different things. Let me give you some suggestions just to get the ideas flowing:

• Mindfulness or meditation
• 30 minutes of Yoga
• Watch or listen to uplifting content
• Doing nothing!
• Reading
• Knitting or crochet
• Sewing or craftwork
• Playing a musical instrument
• Aromatherapy bath
• A foot massage
• Write a journal
• 30 minute walk
• Gardening
• Go to the gym
• Running or jogging
• Listening to music

Maybe it’s been so long since you allowed yourself some time that you have forgotten what you enjoy? Imagine rediscovering what you used to love or something new. It doesn’t have to be something big or expensive. Work out what makes you happy. Start now by writing a list of the things you enjoy and keeping it close to hand.

If after reading this you still find it hard to justify taking some time for yourself, maybe you need to look at any deeper issues which might be going on for you. A qualified life-coach, such as myself, would be able to help you to do this.

Resistance from Others
It sometimes happens that once we start to take time for ourselves, those around us might be a bit surprised as they are used to having us available. This might be because they are feeling a bit rejected, they might have come to rely on you too much, they might be feeling insecure. Remember, these are their emotions not yours. They have become accustomed to you behaving on one way, and now you are behaving in a different way, and people don’t like change. Don’t let this stop you, reassure them that you are still there but in order for you to be happier and healthier you need to take time for yourself too. They will get used to this new way of being in no time.

Make this space for you a routine – this is non-negotiable ME time, remember. Write it in the diary.

Be kind to yourself, and treat yourself as you would a good friend. YOU are worth it.

If you have enjoyed this blog then please check out my other blogs, podcasts and videos on my website. I also have a FREE Resources section.

Until next time,

Sue Jaycock
Mindset & Wellbeing Coach

If you are interested in having online coaching sessions with me, please do get in touch.

“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others. ”

Christopher Germer