Maria Owens has three children and bakes cakes on order. She admits she never makes any time just for herself and cannot even remember the last time she went for a manicure and pedicure. She tells, “I drive my kids to school and pick them up as well. In between I do cake baking and purchase supplies. My husband also expects me to throw three to four lavish dinner parties for his colleagues a month. By the end of the day, I am so tired that I don’t even have five minutes to read a book!”
Many women are in the same boat as Maria; when they do manage a moment of time for themselves, be it a work-out, a salon visit or even just spending a few precious moments with a dear friend, they feel guilty. Lisa Laws at Lisa Laws Coaching reinforces that with a job, children, family, friends, and husband –many women have a hard time saying no, often postponing or giving up on their lives completely in order to ‘be there’ for the people in their lives that need them. “Yet over time, women who don’t take time out for themselves, may find themselves not looking forward to anything, it’s just about ticking off everything on the list and falling exhausted into bed,” she says. “The passion and excitement of living gives way to a ‘hamster-wheel’ type existence – running at a million miles an hour and not really getting anywhere.” And sometimes, women who don’t take time out for themselves may compensate for their lack of balance and self nurture with some quick fixes which in time may turn into habits or addictions such as drinking to unwind, overeating or smoking.
According to Laws, many of us have fallen into “martyr/victim” thinking and the only person who can get us out of it is us. “If we don’t, eventually our bodies will get fed up of us, ignoring all those little thoughts that we ought to take care of ourselves better, eat better, rest more and eat less or more healthily,” she says. “We may suffer more from colds and flu, back problems, neck problems, insomnia, anxiety, bowel and digestive problems.” And this, she says, could escalate into an ulcer, serious heart problems, diabetes and if all that fails, a nervous breakdown, which is really just the body calling an all out system shutdown.
Change needs to be gradual, explains Laws, otherwise we are in danger of quitting quickly. “It takes time for the brain and body to adapt, so make it gradual and make it committed,” she says, it’s better to start slowly and do it than to do everything for a week and abandon it. “Start with breathing exercises and if you can afford to, get some help – it’s worth giving up the expensive holiday/new dress/car upgrade,” she says as our lives are what counts now. “It’s all about believing you are worth spending time on and deserving of being cared for,” she says and when all is said and done, no one else is responsible for our well being but us.
Tips to Make More Time for Yourself:
- Believe you are worth giving time to
- If we believe we deserve it then we’ll give it to ourselves. If we are not, then we don’t believe we are worth it.
- Start today, not tomorrow, next week, next month when things will slow down. Things never slow down. We have to slow them down.
- Be a role model for your children – it’s good to have me time
- Set a goal, look at your schedule, make a plan, get a friend on board, support from family and go for it.
Change can be hard and we may want to sacrifice me time because we just can’t cope with the guilt. Relax. The guilt won’t last. People will stop getting grumpy at your no’s and you will feel fantastic.
Areas Where Women Need To Make More Time:
Women should take time to take care of their bodies – feed them healthy foods, exercise regularly and go for a massage as we need our bodies to be in good condition since we demand so much from them.
- We also need to take time to nurture our mental, emotional and spiritual beings.
- Women need to connect with other people – take time to have a laugh and some fun;
but also if you are having a hard time, share your load with a supportive friend or get some counseling or life coaching.
- Have pampering sessions – shopping, trips to the salon to get your nails done, hair cut. If we feel good about ourselves, we’ll smile more and the stress will be reduced.
- Take time for self-development. Life can be so boring and mundane if we are just treading water day in, day out. Forgotten hobbies; new hobbies, read that book you’ve been meaning to. Knitting and even ironing done in the right mood can be very calming.
- Leave the phone, computer alone – do a detox for at least an hour a day. Just switch off.