Find the time and the right mindset so you can add more self-care time to your life!
You want more time for self-care and feel as though you can’t find it no matter what. If your life is busy, stressful, and demanding, read on. Here are five ideas to help you get your self-care time back. If you’re exhausted and burnt out, it’s time to start prioritizing your needs. It’s time to remind yourself how much you matter and how you deserve to take time for yourself to use however you want.
You’re worth it & you deserve it and this is the mindset you must adopt
When I first started offering Reiki sessions in 2014, I noticed two things:
- All my clients were women.
- All my clients were women who were putting themselves last.
The business name at the time, “You Deserve Reiki” was born. Nine years later, I’m still convincing women they’re worth the time and money it takes for a Reiki session—which isn’t that much, honestly. I am still convincing women they deserve Reiki and all forms of self-care.
Because women tend to put ourselves last. We will pour and pour as the well runs dry. That used to be me. I grew up with a Boomer mother who set that example. She died at age 56. She had never retired or gotten to do things she wanted to do, like paint and travel.
We have to ask ourselves if we want a Boomer mindset or the mindset of a modern woman. Be the mom who takes a trip and paints a painting. Make it non-negotiable that you count just as much as anyone in your household.
The truth is, you count more. The one who holds the job, pays the bills, and feeds the mouths needs to stay well.
The mindset to adopt here involves these affirmations:
- I count
- I matter
- I’m worth it
- I deserve it
- My needs are important
- I fill my well first
Now visualize the woman who operates from this perspective. How does she show up in her life? (She’s you!) What does her self-care look like? What is she wearing? What are her hobbies? What new interests does she explore? Does she get a massage or start the day journaling?
Make it personal. Create a solid vision of her in your mind.
Then, be her. As you make choices in your daily life, make sure they’re congruent with this vision. For example, if new clothes are important to the woman you envisioned, then you need to choose to carve out some time to get some. If you don’t, you’re neither honoring her needs are acting in congruence with who she is.
Look for ways to fill your well first.
2. Schedule Your Self-Care Time
Put time on your calendar for self-care and commit to it. This is why it feels so good to make an appointment at a hair salon! You know you’re going to show up at that specific time and be taken care of, getting the new hairstyle you crave.
You have to learn to do this without others—like a hair stylist—involved.
Schedule your exercise time. Put it on your schedule that you will do your hobby at 2:00 on a Saturday. Make sure you have reminders set on your calendar so you receive those nudges.
Then, keep the promise to yourself and actually do the thing.
We live in a time where we’re all using electronic booking calendars. If you don’t schedule your fun and self-care into your calendar, who gets that time? What do you fill it with? Do you allow others to take over chunks of your schedule spontaneously? (I used to do that!)
This is one way to prioritize self-care, make it non-negotiable, and take your time back. We all have the tools to do this on our phones. Make these self-care promises to yourself and keep them. I mean, we have the technology!
3. Make Self-Care Part of Your Routine So It’s Automatic
If the above tips don’t work, bake your self-care into your routine. I love to get up in the morning, do a quick yoga session, have my coffee, and read. It can be mere minutes or take an hour. But it’s a routine I do first each day because touching my phone first ruins the whole day.
Sometimes I don’t read a book and do a tarot reading instead. Other times, I do a full yoga practice and delay the coffee. Some mornings, I like to listen to an audiobook, crochet, and slowly drink my coffee.
But this is my “me time” every morning no matter its variation.
It’s not scheduled on my calendar. It’s just my routine. I don’t feel guilty about it. It makes me feel good starting the day doing things I enjoy that feed my soul and strengths. It means a lot to me since I spent so many years waking up at 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 am to work as a broadcaster. There were years I commuted 90 minutes one way. There were years I hit the ground running to catch a bus on time.
Today, I know well what a luxury it is to wake up and immediately enjoy my self-care time. It also fuels me for the day.
4. Set Boundaries That Allow for Self-Care Time
The best way to tell your job, boss, friends, family, and Universe that you deserve self-care is to be firm about your boundaries around it. This will mean telling people NO. This will mean setting boundaries around work hours—and keeping them. This may mean asking for space and understanding.
Remember that Boomer mom of mine who died at age 56? No boundaries. None. As an adult child of alcoholics, she was extremely codependent. She was the martyr type of codependent; she couldn’t say the word “NO.” But then she’d hate herself for saying yes.
“NO” is a complete sentence. Say it firmly. It may not feel good at first. It may bring up doubts and other yuck. But this simple word will refuel your life if you let it. It will buy you time and space. It will eventually make you feel good.
If you’re like me and came from a codependent household, you’ll have your own codependency issues. You may want to people-please without realizing it. Your sense of duty, or being overly responsible, may wear you down.
Eventually, you say to yourself, “Enough!” Then, you learn other ways. Take back your time, self-care, and energy. Give your energy willingly and in healthy ways. Don’t waste it because you’re not telling people “NO.”
How can you tell you need to say “NO” more?
- You’re always tired
- People ask you how you are and you start talking about someone else
- Life = stress
- Life = busy
- You find yourself at yet another function you don’t want to attend
- You’re moody
- You’re saying “yes” because you’re “so in demand!” But you’re doing more of these “yes” things and less of what you really want to do
- There are people in your life who are dependent on you—but they could easily handle things themselves
- Others have expectations you’ll be there for them no matter what
It’s that last one that will get you. Obviously, I’m talking about adults here who have become dependent on you to meet needs they should be meeting themselves. I’m not talking about children, the elderly, or the sick.
Once you start saying “NO,” you will anger some people. It will be those who’ve grown most dependent on you. It’s not your job to show them they can meet their own needs. Say no and let it be a complete sentence. Let them find their way.
We can’t be expected to be there for everyone all the time. Make sure you’ve got people who show up to be there for you, too. Because if this is one-sided—you need to begin engaging in your own self-care immediately.
5. Pay for Your Self-Care Time
Pay for the babysitter. Pay for the laundry to be done. Pay for the cleaning service. Whatever it is that can buy you some peace and quiet for your self-care—do it.
I’ve done the laundry thing before. I was working two jobs six days a week and had one day off—Sunday. The last thing I wanted to do was spend that Sunday doing laundry at the laundromat. I’d pay for a laundry wash & fold service weekly; it cost me the same as doing it myself only I got my time back.
I was in two crappy, low-paying jobs at the time. I remember a coworker at one of them saying to others I was “spoiled” for doing this. I shook it off because she just wanted to gossip about me, she didn’t want to understand.
Sometimes, we have to buy our peace and quiet. Whether that’s paying for a gym membership, a massage, or a professional service that makes life easier. Life can be happier and more smooth for a small fee.
It’s the simple act of throwing our money (energy) at the Universe in a different way that can be the act of self-care itself. I wasn’t just paying for my laundry to be done. I was paying for free time. I was paying for the idea that I mattered and that my self-care time was important. I was honoring my hard work during the week and giving myself a much-needed break. I think it cost me around $20/week back then. It seemed like a lot but it also seemed priceless.
Self-Care Time Must Be Non-Negotiable—And Also Tailored to Your Individual Needs
If you’re doing great at saying no, prioritizing your self-care, setting boundaries, asking for help, paying for help, scheduling self-care, or simply making it part of a daily routine—then my hat’s off to you!
If you’re still struggling with the basics, try one of the above ways to get your self-care time back. You have to start somewhere, so start. Before you “graduate” to massages and mani/pedis, you may have to begin at the beginning by learning to tell others “NO.”
The download below makes a pretty decent case for taking care of your basic needs before jumping into all the “Instagram-friendly” self-care like sheet masks and hair dye. Personally, I find my self-care evolves and changes over time. What was self-care for me in 2019 when I was under extreme stress isn’t going to be the same things I need now that life is good.
The above are simple ways to get more time for self-care. If you need to dive deeper into what your needs are and how to go about meeting them, my Self-Care Digital Planner and Workbook is for you—and it’s on sale!
Self-Care Digital Planner and Workbook $9.99 document.querySelector('.product-block .product-block').classList.add('is-first-product-block');