The Importance of Taking Time for Yourself
Take a “mom moment”
It’s more important than ever to take time for yourself. When we talk about “me time,” we mean giving yourself permission to be your own number-one priority (even if it’s just for 10 minutes each day). Of course, you’re a great mom, but you’re also so much more than that. When you take time for yourself, you show your kids and your partner that your needs and passions matter. You ought to take time for yourself because you deserve it. When it comes down to it, you should expect the same kindness and care that you give to others.
What does “me time” look like for you?
“Me time” looks different for every person. Which simple activities bring you happiness or satisfaction? What helps you feel recharged? Do you like being around people, or do you feel more at peace by yourself? For some, completing a postponed project or tackling a tough workout is satisfying. For others, relaxing in the sunshine, taking a nap or treating themselves to a browsing break replenishes their spirit. When you feel calmer, it’s easier to meet the needs of your loved ones and be present for them.
“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
− Sydney J. Harris
Ask for help
You might be surprised how understanding your family and friends will be if you simply, yet clearly, communicate your need to replenish your “well.” Be specific as to what others can do to help you find those much-needed minutes to relax and recharge.
If you need a day to yourself, ask for help in taking over some of your duties. This isn’t the time for reorganizing everyone’s chore lists; simply ask someone on your “home team” to help buy you an hour or so by ordering takeout or overseeing homework time.
When you delegate and encourage your household to pitch in, you actually teach your children to take better care of themselves in two ways: 1) by taking more responsibility for their own lives, and 2) by observing you prioritizing your own needs as a healthy role model.
And if you’re a single parent, you’re allowed to ask those in your circle for support, even if you trade time. If possible, and you’re able to hire help (like a nanny or babysitter), it is worth it to ensure you don’t burn out.
What’s the best gift for a mom or caregiver?
In a recent survey, Zulily asked moms what they would most like for Mother’s Day.
45% of moms dreamed of a day off.
20% wished for a date night without the worry of finding a sitter.
Give yourself permission to enjoy your “me time”
Just as we touched on in our How To Make Time for Friends post, you may need to schedule your “me time” instead of randomly relying on free time to come up. Sure, there’s always more laundry to fold, but when was the last time you took a break to just be you?
Once you’ve planned your “me time” give yourself permission to actually enjoy taking time for yourself. Sometimes, the hardest part of relaxing is not feeling guilty about it. Remind yourself that even experts in fields from mental health to child development point to the importance of self-care for parents and caregivers. Picture a calmer, more optimistic you after your me-time retreat. And imagine all the benefits that a happier you will ultimately bring to your loved ones. After all, as the saying goes: “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” So, choose what resonates with you to rejuvenate:
- Invite yourself to tea. Make a hot cup of your favorite tea, grab a good book and spend an hour under a blanket in the room of your choice.
- Go outside. Sunlight does wonders to uplift your mood. Walk a new route, plant some flowers or just stretch out on a lawn chair and listen to the breeze.
- Dress up. What we wear can affect how we feel. Put on a nice outfit you’ve never worn (or haven’t had occasion to wear recently) and wear it all day.
- Practice your favorite hobby. Whether it’s an arts and crafts or yoga class, make time for it.
- Rest. Let the kids watch a movie while you take a well-deserved nap. (Even if they’re learning online, don’t sweat letting them have a little extra screen time.)
- Treat yourself to an at-home spa day. Give yourself a facial treatment. Fill the tub, light a candle, turn on some chill tunes and close the door.
- Meditate. Discover how to start a simple meditation practice. There are all kinds of audio programs to try, if that’s easier.
- Do your hair. Pamper yourself with an at-home style blowout or follow an online tutorial for a new look. Try a deep-conditioning hair mask.
Whatever you choose to do with the time you take for yourself, be sure to enjoy it!
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
− Anne Lamott