Making time for yourself is crucial to your well-being. Yet with increasing demands and responsibilities, finding that time can be challenging. Hence this week’s challenge.
Making Time for Yourself Challenge
The challenge: Do this making time for yourself exercise everyday for a week.
Time: 15- 60 minutes (depending on your schedule)
Requirements: A quiet and relaxing space, a calender (or agenda), pen, paper, timer, and varied materials depending on what is on your list
- In a quiet location, where you will not be disturbed, sit comfortably and take three deep breath. Focus on your breathing as you inhale and exhale slowly. Feel the tension leave your body.
- Make a list of 5-6 activities that you can do by yourself that you enjoy and/or help you relax. It doesn’t matter what the activity is. What matters is that it is something you genuinely enjoy. Keep that list somewhere where you can have instant access to it.
- Look through your agenda (or calender ), and for each day, for a duration of one week, pick a time where you can be by yourself, and are not likely to be interrupted. Block off a minimum of 10-15 minutes, and label it “Self Care.” If your schedule permits, you can block off up to an hour.
- Do your best to not schedule anything over your “self care” time. If you feel you have to though, be sure to reschedule your “self care” time later that day.
- Set an alarm for 5 minutes before your “self care” time as a reminder.
- When that alarm rings, quickly finish (or pause) what you were doing.
- To change your mindset, and help you feel more relaxed, take 3 deep breaths. As before, focus on your breathing and feel the tension leave your body as you exhale. If you notice yourself feeling guilty or feeling like you have more important things that you should be doing with your time, gently remind yourself that YOU are important too and YOU also deserve time to decompress.
- Take your list, and choose an activity that appeals to you. If there is something else you would rather do that is not on the list, you can do that instead. Again, what is important is that you choose something that you genuinely want to do in that moment.
- Set a timer for the amount of time you scheduled for your “self care” time, and place the timer out of reach and out of your field of vision.
- Go about completing your chosen activity. Resist the urge to check your timer. If you find yourself wondering or worrying about how much time you have left, take a deep breath, remind yourself that the timer will notify you when it’s time to stop the activity, and resume what you were doing.
- When the timer beeps, finish your activity. Take another deep breath. Congratulate yourself on making time to take care of yourself, and resume your day.
Outcome: If you are not used to making time for yourself, when you first try this exercise, you may notice that you feel guilty or as though you are wasting time. It is important to continue the exercise despite these feelings. What you may notice, afterwards, however, is that the more often you engage in making time for yourself, the more you come to appreciate and value the time you have allowed yourself. You may also notice your stress diminishing and your mood throughout the day improving.
Theory behind this exercise: Personal time for ourselves is something we often take for granted or consider a luxury, when in fact, it is a necessity. Making time for yourself, even if it is just a few moments per day, provides you with an opportunity to relax, and enjoy yourself. By doing so, your quality of life improves, resentment diminishes, productivity improves, stress levels decrease, and you may find you are better able to handle adversity. This exercise provides strategies and techniques that allow you to schedule and work through initial feelings of guilt. For instance, by making a list of fun activities, and having it close-by, you will less likely waste time trying to find something to do when yourself “self care” time arrives. By scheduling “self care” time in an agenda (calender or phone), you subconsciously give the task more importance, and are thus more likely to follow through. Setting an alarm works both as a reminder that your “self care” time is about to start, and as a way to shift your focus from “regular day” activities to time for yourself. By setting the timer, you are placing the responsibility of “time ” (and how much of it is left) on the timer. So when thoughts and concerns about time enter your mind, it is easier to deflect them onto your timer, and focus more on enjoying the activity. Taking deep breaths, puts you in a relaxed state and helps you refocus your attention on the task at hand, rather than feelings of guilt or other concerns. By reminding yourself that making time is important and you deserve it, you subconsciously affirm yourself and by completing the activity, you validate that affirmation.
Enjoy your time for yourself. You deserve it!
We would love to know your experience with this making time for yourself challenge in the comments below!by