Making time for yourself is not selfish!
We are rapidly approaching that silly, busy time of year again. Already my diary is starting to fill up (I am such a social butterfly!) and I notice that there isn’t a lot of space left.
I don’t know about you, but I really appreciate some time all to myself. In fact, “me time” is so important to my general wellbeing that I actually consider it an essential, not a luxury, and yet despite knowing the value of having this space I am finding it really difficult at the moment to find any! So in this series of blogs I am thinking about ways we can create space for ourselves, whilst reminding myself (!) of the benefits so that I don’t allow my special time to get swallowed up.
When I ask people if they allocate time to themselves, many tell me they would love to but just can’t find the time, and I sympathise with that. I understand! We all have busy lives with lots of commitments and we don’t want to let others down. However, I firmly believe that taking time out for yourself is not a selfish thing to do. We can only give so much before our body starts to feel drained and we are running on empty. Taking time out to nurture yourself re-fuels the tank so that we can give more if we choose to do so. We are no use to anyone if we become so drained that we are ill. I know this to be true because I’ve done it!
Our body is built for survival and it gives us plenty of warning messages to tell us when it is not happy, we just don’t always listen! I’ve learnt to recognise (and believe me, I wish I’d learnt this sooner!) that if I start feeling tired all the time, irritable and I crave all the wrong foods, my body is asking me to take time out. If I don’t listen, I generally catch a cold. Then I am forced to take time out, go to bed early and look after myself. If we continue to ignore these messages, though, the body sends us stronger and stronger signals until we do listen. For me, I ignored my body’s request to slow down for a long time, eventually I broke my foot and ended up in pot for 7 weeks – that really slowed me down!
What are the messages that your body sends you? Do you listen and honour the wisdom of your soul? Have you ever ignored these messages and become ill? Did this force you to take time out?
We may have good intentions but actually finding the time can be the real challenge. This is where thinking creatively helps. It’s great if you can put a chunk of time aside but you really don’t have to, sometimes just a 5 minute relaxation or a 20 minute walk in the fresh air is enough to top up your batteries. I have a friend who likes colouring in, just 5 minutes of this right (relaxation) brain activity recharges her. Another friend treats herself to a facial once a month, whilst another friend enjoys a weekly baking session (and I enjoy the product of her baking!). I know people who have jigsaws or sewing projects on the go, that they can pick up for just 10 minutes. The easiest way for me to secure time to myself, is to work quite long hours to build up “flexitime” so that I can then have a day or a weekend off (which I actually put in my diary as an appointment to make sure I stick to it) and I top up with daily 5 minute yoga, relaxation and creativity breaks. My point here, is that it is not important what you do or when you do it, just as long as you are doing something you enjoy, regularly and it is working for you. That you come back feeling rejuvenated and re-energised. Really…you deserve it!
In my next blog, I’m going to look at ways that yoga can help us create space in our lives. Until then, I urge you to listen to your inner wisdom – what is it trying to tell you? Take care Ix