I don’t know about you but if Rachel doesn’t get to spend quality time with Rachel, she gets pretty cranky. As a result I suffer from chronic moodiness, impatience, and a lack of interest in most things I have to do. So, it’s obvious that keeping time to and with myself needs to be a priority. As a kindergartner, one of the requirements was that I bring a mat with me to participate in daily nap times. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t go to sleep, but just having some time to calm down, relax, and reflect on a picture I just painted did wonders for my disposition. Since nap times were apart of most kindergarten classrooms, teachers must have discovered that it helped keep the classroom day running smoothly while giving them a much needed break. Whenever a child is cranky, one of the first things someone says is “they must be sleepy”. If having time to ourselves and resting is so important when we are younger with barely any responsibilities, then why do we think it is less needed when we have more of them? “Me” time is a must.
Without having a spouse or children, finding time to relax can be daunting, because there are so many task that keep us preoccupied in our day until it’s time to go bed. Add a spouse and kids to that and it can seem almost impossible. I recently vowed that since life isn’t going to give me any more hours, I have no choice but to cheat the system and essentially “cheat my chores” to get the extra time I need. Simply put “cheating your chores” is figuring out a way to quickly get done the things you can’t get around, that will allow you to have more time to focus on yourself or the things you find important. You will have more time in the mornings and in the evenings to relax, exercise, read, create, or do whatever else adds to your personal happiness. Are you really going to wait until you have the extra cash to do a spa day or plan a vacation to relax? No, that’s crazy. You have to find a way to let the little moments you steal for yourself feel like the bigger ones.
To do this effectively, I also had to learn to make a schedule and stick to it. I find the easiest way to do this is to use the daily calendar on my phone that reminds me of every major and minor “to do” so I won’t forget. Time Management isn’t a practice that only the best students need to learn to master, but productive adults also need to use it to live their most fruitful life. Being a creative person, I once rebelled against this kind of organization and felt it was too controlling. I now realize the anxiety and stress caused by disorganization and chaos isn’t worth it, and a poor alternative to the calmness and order that organization can bring.
This has been a huge challenge for me, because I certainly wasn’t raised this way. I can vividly remember a night before the first day of school, digging through unopened mail with my mother, searching for school issued bus cards that came over the summer. I remember thinking, “What if they don’t let me on the bus, am I gonna have to walk to school?” I was already scared to death of the first day of class since I was entering the seventh grade, now my nerves were already shot before I got there. Just imagine how peaceful my night would have been if I already had my bus card packed away in my book bag. Instead of frantically looking for a school addressed envelope, I could have been in my bed sleeping peacefully or having “me” time.
Most of us dread having to do things immediately, letting procrastination trick us into thinking we are getting our “me” time now. Unfortunately, “me” time riddled with guilt because you know you should be taking care of other things is ultimately no fun at all. To increase your opportunities of having more time to spend with yourself while taking care of your responsibilities, try beginning the following :
- First, iron your clothes for the upcoming work week in advance. Don’t just iron the night before for the next day, take an hour or two and iron for the entire work week. This gives you a much calmer morning because you’re not figuring out what to wear and hurrying to iron it. Your clothes also look much better when you are ironing them to look good until you wear them, instead of ironing them to hurry and put them on. I like finding a weekday night to do this so I am not performing this boring chore on the weekend. And, there is nothing like coming home trying to think of what to wear and remembering, it’s already done. Leaving room for “me” time.
- Secondly, cook items that last for atleast two days or that you can get multiple meals out of so you’re not constantly thinking of what to make. For example, if using ground beef or ground turkey some meals you could make together are spaghetti and meat balls, sloppy joe, tacos, meat loaf, or hamburgers. And, deciding to use left overs is not just cost effective , but there is nothing like the feeling of coming home trying to figure out what to cook, and remembering that dinner is already done. Leaving room for “me” time.
- Thirdly, don’t under estimate what you can do in 10 or 15 minutes. It doesn’t take long to throw some clothes in the wash machine and dryer or do a quick mopping of a kitchen floor. Before you know it all of your laundry is done, freeing up more time for you to relax.
- And lastly, take advantage of lunch breaks to spend time with yourself and clear your head by meditating or praying. If you have an hour, consider using 30 minutes to eat and the remainder to take a walk. If you have the option to eat at your desk while working, consider taking the full hour to walk. This way you are able to have “me” time and get in exercise.
I am sure there are other tricks you will learn on your own that will help you on your journey to finding more “me” time. But these simple ones have allowed me to enjoy my days so much more and I hope it will do the same for you.
Remember…. Stay a Busy Bee and share with a Bride to Be
Rachel Bryant Lundy