Woman to Woman: Finding Hidden Moments for Me-time
By Kim Atkinson
When your day is devoted to taking care of your kids, your husband, your job and the many other important things on your agenda, it can seem impossible to schedule time for yourself. But setting aside your own time is key to maintaining your physical and mental health, says Dr. Susan Newman, a social psychologist and author of The Book of No: 250 Ways to Say it and Mean it, and Stop People-Pleasing Forever.
Here are six expert ways to find hidden moments in your day and how to spend them so you feel energized and invigorated.
1. Find the time
For one day, keep a log of all your activities to see how much spare time you actually do have. Then, schedule time for yourself and stick to it. "Create an appointment with yourself and hold it every bit as sacred as an event for one of your kids, or an important work meeting," says Dave Kashen, a San Francisco-based personal and executive coach.
2. Write it down
Carry a small notebook or an electronic device that you can use to jot down what you have to do as it comes to mind, says Newman. Recording tasks in real time allows you to see the difference between what's really important and what can be postponed. The time you would have spent on nonessential to-do's can then be applied to you.
3. Be grateful
Keep a gratitude journal in which you write down a few things each day that you are grateful for, says Kashen. You can even write a thank you note to yourself, reminding yourself of the contributions that you make to your family.
4. Manage your energy
Throughout your day, think about managing energy. Make a list of the things that give you energy and the things that zap your energy, says Kashen. Try to shift your day so you do more of the tasks that energize you. When you're feeling depleted of energy, incorporate an energizing task into your schedule.
5. Work it out
Bursts of movement are a great way to focus on your well-being, says Newman. "While you are waiting in the car or somewhere else, do ankle flexing, or neck exercises and arm rotations," she says. Or try to incorporate movement into your daily routine. "You can do deep knee bends while you brush your teeth," adds Newman.
6. Think about it
Meditation is a great way to recharge your energy and can be done almost anywhere and anytime you find yourself on pause. "Close your eyes and think about lying on a beach or being in your favorite place," says Kashen. "Whether or not you are into meditating, a few minutes of downtime can be energizing."
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Woman to Woman: "Finding Hidden Moments for Me-time"