We’ve been talking a lot about making it a priority to take care of yourself, to practice self-care, and to say yes to yourself. And for good reason. We truly believe that in order for you to live your best life and be able to show up for the ones you love the most, you must be feeding into yourself daily. But, as busy women, mothers, entrepreneurs, employees, and the countless other titles we hold, we know that this is much easier said than done. Even though we know it’s essential.
Unfortunately, making time for ourselves isn’t something we are taught growing up and it isn’t something that is openly discussed. Especially in our communities. There were no classes or workshops on how to balance our time, set boundaries, and put ourselves on our to do lists. Learning that making time for yourself is non-negotiable is a new concept for many of us strong black women who are so used to carrying loads in silence. But, changing that old mindset is possible with a little work and a lot of intention.
7 Ways to Make Time For You
1. Determine what it is that you want to make time for. For women struggling to find the time for themselves, start here. Think about what it is you would love to do with a little extra time in your schedule. And keep this focused on yourself. We’re not talking about how you’d love to squeeze in some more work or add another activity to your kids schedule. What is it that you love to do but simply “haven’t had the time” to do it? If you’re having trouble even identifying this try making a list of all the things you love to do and then make a list of the things you do on a daily basis. Seeing the disconnect will help you figure out those things that you need to make time for the most.
2. Be transparent with the people in your life. Establishing that you’re dedicated to having some “me” time shouldn’t be a secret. In fact, making it plain and clear that you’re taking some time for you is a perfect way to get everyone you love on the same page. Whether it’s your husband and kids, coworkers and boss, or family and friends, don’t be shy about your needs. Not only will this help people respect your boundaries, it makes it easier for you to stick to them. Not to mention, your dedication may inspire another woman to do the same for herself!
3. Schedule your “me” time like you would anything else. Just like those work meetings you can’t miss or your child’s basketball game, putting your hair appointment on the schedule sends the message to yourself and others, that this is a priority. Put it on your calendar, set a reminder, write it on a post-it, whatever you have to do to make sure that your time is noted and scheduled is essential.
4. Make it non-negotiable. Of course, there is always room for flexibility when absolutely needed but if no one is sick, hurt, or in danger? Your “me” time is off limits. Don’t make it a habit of bending when the circumstance doesn’t require it. You’ve carved out some time for yourself, it doesn’t matter whether it’s an hour long bath to use that new $15 bath bomb or a $125 massage, it’s yours and whatever it is will have to wait. And when you stick to your ground, you’re setting expectations for those in your life to respect your time.
5. Be consistent. You would think after recognizing how much better you feel after making time for yourself it would be easy to keep up. However, old habits are hard to break. Don’t fall into the trap of scheduling a few pamper sessions and a brunch date and think you’re good to go for a few months. Taking time for yourself is an ongoing process. Whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly (let’s try to do better than that), you need to be consistently scheduling time for yourself and your well-being.
6. Make use of little pockets of time. Sometimes, when we think about what it means to take time for ourselves, we have these big ideas but decide our schedules don’t allow the time. That’s understandable when you’re living a busy life and juggling multiple things. But, sneaking in a few moments to yourself is something you can do in between those bigger experiences. Take that extra long trip to Target, sit in the car after your commute to finish listening to that podcast, take that book to your kid’s practice and catch up in bleachers. There are minutes in our everyday life where we spend either checking emails or scrolling social media, but if used wisely they can be just the moments of solitude to get us re-centered.
7. Let go of the concept balance. We hear this all the time from busy women. We’re always struggling to find the balance. And this is one of the main reasons we overlook time for ourselves. We’re already trying to balance so many things that making time for ourselves simply doesn’t fit into the picture. But here’s a secret: there is no such thing as balance. Some days certain things will get more of your attention than others and that’s okay. If taking a day to yourself means taking a half day of work, or means working all day and still taking an evening to yourself to get drinks with your friends, that’s okay. Work will be there and so will the kids in the morning.