How To Make Time For Yourself: It's time to unplug!
You feel how overwhelming the world can be. Between the news, social media chatter, keeping up with work, and getting time in with friends and family, you ask yourself, “When will I get a break?”
At this point, you’ve accepted the chaos of your schedule and having what feels like hundreds of browser tabs open in your brain.
Full stop. You deserve to take time for yourself. The issue really is that you haven’t taken the steps to make time for yourself. It’s time to unplug!
We know that feels seemingly impossible, but it’s absolutely doable. You can start by slowly adding daily small acts of self care into your day - every day - and eventually move on to the bigger acts of self care (e.g. staycation, vacation, projects, etc).
How do you get started? Here’s a quick guide on making time for yourself.
PHASE ONE: Baby Steps
This phase is about stability. You can’t take time off last-minute without preparation and it’s hard to prepare without the energy to do so. So in phase one, your goal is to work in more relief through acts of self care so that you can pull off Phase Two without a hitch.
- Map out your weekly schedule. Use a planner to get a lay of what your normal week looks like. Be as detailed as possible.
- Assess the days of the week. Do Mondays look busier than Wednesdays? Are Saturdays wide open? Review your weekly schedule and use two different colored highlighters to mark which days are “light days” and which ones are “heavy days”.
Grab your Self Care Planner. Plan your daily acts of self care based on what you know about your weekly schedule.
For “light days”, you have room for bigger acts of self care like an at-home spa day or happy hour with friends over a Zoom call for several hours.
For “heavy days”, you are more likely to get overwhelmed so additional “plans” might not help. Plan for smaller acts of self care (or acts that don’t require too much effort) on these days like taking a hot bath, listening to music while enjoying a hot cup of tea, or watching your favorite movies before bed.
Note: While some planners can hold a lot of information, we advise against keeping your self care plans in your weekly planner. By keeping your plans separate in a Self Care Planner, you’re not bothered by upcoming plans or stressful plans written in your regular weekly planner.
PHASE TWO: Prepare For Launch
This phase is about making sure that you’re not setting yourself up for more stress in the name of self care. The concept of self care is supposed to be preventative and reduce the potential amount of stress you could take on. In that same vein, when you prepare for larger acts of self care like staycations or vacations, you have to consider what things will look like when you return.
- Submit a time-off request (if applicable). Think of submitting a time-off request like an abundance check. It’s set for a date in the future and you’re working to manifest that.
- Set up ‘out of office’ auto-replies. Operations ongoing through email? Don’t leave your contacts in the dark. Set up an auto-responder for when you’re out of the office. Go the extra mile and include your “office hours” in your email signature, including the expected date you’ll be away.
- Reschedule plans if needed. If you had phone calls, Zoom calls, or plans with friends and family, coordinate with them to move the date and set a different time before or after you’re expected to be away.
- Map out your work plans. If you’re planning to take time off for days or weeks, etc, you may want to get a jump start on work. Don’t pile on your workload too heavy, but carefully plan how you’re going to complete tasks and projects. This also includes briefing anyone who is assisting while you’re away and providing them everything they need like access to files, access to an inbox, etc. In work from home or stay at home settings, this means planning on shifting responsibilities to another person in the household so that you can take the time you need.
PHASE THREE: The Big Leap
At this phase, you’ve done it! Well-done! You can now enjoy the time you need for yourself, but there are a few more housekeeping suggestions to follow while you’re at home relaxing in bed with movie marathons or out on an adventure in the woods.
- Set your phone to Do Not Disturb. You deserve this moment (these moments) free from distractions or obligations to answer a phone call or reply to a text. You can follow up later. Enjoy your time!
- Don’t push your sleeping schedule’s boundaries. The purpose of this time is to allow your mind and body to reset and relax. If you stay up until 3 AM every day you have off, you’re going to exhaust yourself which defeats the purpose of this self care action.
- Continue your self care plans. You have all this time now to make sure you’re getting the self care you need. How will you self care during your time?
Don’t forget to take your Self Care Planner with you and enjoy the time you deserve!
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