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I’ve always been a firm believer in the importance of taking time for yourself, but as a working mom I also know it can be really challenging to find that time for yourself and with lockdown and home schooling thrown into the mix it can feel almost impossible. However, just because you have gotten into a habit of not doing things for yourself and not sticking to plans you made for yourself doesn’t mean it’s right.

A great place to start is shifting your perspective away from thinking that taking time for yourself is in any way a luxury, being selfish or will have a negative impact on your family. We are all only human, we all have our breaking points and we all need to recharge. Again, just because you haven’t been making or taking the time to recharge your batteries doesn’t mean it’s sustainable.

Over the last year as we have moved from one lockdown to another we have been tested in ways we could have never anticipated, this has put huge strain and stress on relationships, brought with it an overwhelming sense of anxiety and has left many of us feeling broken with daily rollercoasters of emotions. It has never been more important to prioritise yourself, invest in yourself and to not feel one bit guilty for it.

So here are a few of my top tips to help you not just make the time for yourself in your day and your week, but to stick to it.

Show up for yourself – you wouldn’t cancel a work meeting or just not bother giving your kids their lunch right? So why do we so easily cancel on ourselves. When you make a commitment to yourself to do something just for you don’t move it, if you have to move it make sure you reschedule it in your week in the moment and don’t put it off saying you will do it later. I find it helps to block out time in my calendar so I see it and it reminds me that I have made that commitment to myself.
Keep it simple – I know life can be crazy busy at the best of times and you might feel like there are not enough hours in the day already so how can you find extra time for yourself? My advice…. Start small and keep it simple. Every day you should have some sort of time for yourself, this may be a 15minute walk, 10minutes to sit down and listen to some relaxing music, reading a few chapters of a book… whatever helps you to switch off and find that reset button. That great old saying ‘Little & Often’ – if you find you have more time that’s great but I know for most of us time is a challenge so by starting with small pockets of time we can slowly start to build a new habit and making it a key part of our daily routine.
Be Present – So you’ve made the commitment to yourself and stuck to it, you carved out those 15mins to switch off from everything else and plug into you, just before you do it- turn off your phone. Most of us are guilty of wasting so much time each day aimlessly scrolling through social media. This is where we can get a lot of time back but it will also help to free up some headspace. So turn off any distractions and let yourself focus on whatever it is you have chosen to do for you.
Quality Time – Pick at least one day in your week where you take at least an hour for yourself. If you can make more time definitely take it and if you can do this a few days a week even better. This may be where you take an online yoga class, do a home facial kit and take a bath, go for a long walk on your own and listen to your favourite podcast. If you have a partner and kids maybe you can each pick a day at the weekend where one of you the kids for an hour or two and the other gets that precious ‘Me Time’.
Get Giggling – I’ve heard so many people refer to life at the moment as Groundhog Day. We can’t change the situation we find ourselves in but we can change how we react to it. When you are planning out your time for yourself each week make sure you factor in time to do some thing that really makes you happy, that makes you smile and laugh. We could all do with more laughter right now- so maybe it’s watching a comedy with your other half or listening to a funny podcast or playing a game at home. It can be as simple or silly as you like once it gets you giggling.

So, start small… maybe for the next few days make time to check in on yourself. We spend so much time asking everyone else how they are and very rarely ask ourselves the same question. A simple ‘How am I?’ in the morning when you are making your coffee or brushing your teeth is a great way to start recognising that you matter too. I’d also start making a list of things you like to do for yourself so you have lots of ideas at the ready when you do make that time for yourself.

It will take time to make these new habits but little changes each day will make a huge difference in time.