NO TIME FOR SELF CARE – Tips on Prioritizing Yourself

Let's challenge this idea that there's "no time." I'll ask you if there is no time or an issue with making time?

Self-care does not come easy to everyone. Sparing time to focus on yourself in a busy world with limited resources is not necessarily everyone's cup of tea. Often, self focused acts evoke guilt or a sense of selfishness. However, self-care is an important, primary concern for everyone. Despite this there are some typical challenges that prevent us from caring for ourselves on a regular basis. 

It's easy to become caught up in what's happening on social media and the fear of missing out (FOMO) that makes us feel compelled to keep up. Add to that the demands of everyday life and the requests of others and you have a recipe for overextending yourself to the point of exhaustion. It literally never stops. 

Simply put, you must take some time for yourself if you're feeling overwhelmed, but I'd honestly prefer that you MAKE the time BEFORE the overwhelm happens. I know it’s easier said than done, but we all need a pause to breathe, arrange our thoughts, and sort things out.

Let’s explore what may hold you back and how to make sure it no longer does.

Challenges to Self-Care

      • Believing you don’t have the time  
      • Feeling like you are undeserving of the care and attention you are awarding yourself.
      •  Misinterpreting self-care as doing something extravagant or grand
      • Living for the approval of others and invalidating your needs and wants for their acceptance
      • Social pressures that prevent you from tending to their essential needs. 
      • Using self-care as a justification to indulge in whatever feels good. It can be a maladaptive behavior that is far more poisonous and does not bring lasting satisfaction.
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The self in self-care doesn't mean solo?

Perhaps the largest challenge to self-care time is thinking it’s only self-care when done alone. The self in self-care can be misleading as self care is about how YOU benefit from an action rather than who is present when the action takes place. 

is about finding time to attend to your physiological, emotional, and physical needs.Whether that be by yourself or with others. 

But since we’re talking about it, let's explore some benefits of going it alone.

Benefits of solo self-care

Spending time with oneself entails paying attention to your wants and thoughts. Without being influenced by others, you have more liberty to notice how you think, what you enjoy, and what you dislike. There’s an increased opportunity to appreciate life from your point of view without the urge to cater to someone else’s preferences. You spend plenty of time doing that already.

You have complete freedom to do whatever you choose. No one will disturb you if you binge-watch Netflix, eat ice cream for supper, or have a solo karaoke/dance party. Have a movie night alone and you get to choose which one you want to see. Go shopping and try on anything you want, even if you know you won't be able to buy it — no one will mind if you take your time. Explore a nearby town; you get to choose what to see and where to eat! While it's fantastic to have someone there to share those special moments with, going it alone may be just as exhilarating.

How To Make The Time for Self-Care

With the responsibilities of work and family life, finding time to focus on self-care can be challenging. Scheduling time ahead of time can often be an excellent method to guarantee you don't miss vital personal time. Here are a few simple strategies to give yourself some alone time.

Evenings With Yourself

Make a point of reserving a few weeknights for the activities that recharge you and/or bring you joy. If somebody asks you to do something on certain nights, say no. Use the time to garden, read, exercise, ponder, or indulge in the ultimate indulgence of doing nothing.

Build Self-Care into Your Routine

Set time for yourself in your daily routine to recharge, heal, and find your bearing. Just the same as scheduling a doctor's appointment, you can schedule time for yourself. Block off an hour or two each week just for something that brings you joy. 

Pro Tip: Change up how you spend your time. Today, use some of your free time to think and fantasize. On other days, listen to encouraging audio, and on days when you need a boost, play your favorite music.

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Schedule Monthly Retreats

Once a month, plan a time based reward for yourself. It could happen during your lunch break, on the weekend, or when you leave work early. Maybe you go to a spa, see a movie, play golf, chill on the couch, or do something else you've wanted to do but haven’t made time for..

Schedule it at least a month ahead of time to ensure that nothing interferes with it.

For example, I have a monthly lunch date scheduled with a therapist friend. We talk business, pick on our husbands, and any other randomness that arises. “Lunch” ends up being hours of gabbing and may or may not include shopping. Although the exact date may change, we make a point to connect each month AND we don’t place restrictions on our time. How do we make it happen? We reserve time on or calendars at the end of each meetup and we honor the time scheduled.

Why Does Self-Care Matter?

Taking time for yourself is sometimes perceived as selfish or useless in today's fast-paced environment. You have a job to do, children to look after, meals to prepare, bills to pay, and so on. Without feeling guilty, how can you justify taking time for self-care?

The truth is that if you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to offer your all in every element of your life. You'll find yourself burned out and struggling in everyday life if you don't take care of your personal needs first.

Focusing on work or others needs while not taking the time to care for yourself leads to compassion fatigue, anxiety, resentment, burnout, and/or mismanaged relationships.

Take good care of yourself, and don't feel bad about it. It's helpful for you since it allows you to quit doing all the things and focus on your own needs. It in no way implies that you are self-centered. You are valuable and deserving of that time.

What is the most exciting part of taking time for yourself?

Raye Chin Trans

Rayvéne is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Master Addiction Counselor in Atlanta, GA.

Empowering you to remove the mask of other people’s expectations and have the Audacity to be themselves.

Note: While the information above is intended to provide insight as you begin your journey they are not intended to replace the guidance of a trained professional. Exploring these concerns in the presence of a licensed counselor or other licensed professional may provide deeper insight and assist in managing more multifaceted concerns that may arise.

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