According to the American Psychological Association, 77 percent of people polled in 2012 reported experiencing physical stress symptoms on a regular basis. Participants reported that job pressure, money, relationships and media were causes of stress. If you are experiencing this type of stress, then you may need to find time for yourself before physical symptoms become serious health problems.
How do you find time for yourself between career, relationship, family and other demands? It can be difficult, but here are six ways to carve out a little me-time in a busy schedule.
1. Give Up Some Sleep
You don’t want to sacrifice sleep if you are already at a minimum. However, if you can afford to lose 30 minutes, consider waking up before everyone else or staying up after everyone else retires. Some quiet time with a good book, relaxing in front of the television, or watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee are great ways to get some time for yourself daily.
2. Quality over Quantity
Can’t steal half an hour for yourself? Quality is better than quantity when it comes to me-time. Find ten minutes during your day and seek a quiet space.
You can walk outside at the office, sit on your deck at home or lock yourself in the bathroom for a hot shower. Whatever you do, use the time to unwind. Take deep breaths and clear your mind. Try not to think of anything important or urgent for at least five minutes.
3. Make an Appointment
If you live by your planner, then you might need to pencil yourself in. Choose an hour each week and make an appointment with yourself. It doesn’t matter what you do during that time, as long as you don’t double book the slot for someone else. You wouldn’t double book a client, friend or family member. Treat yourself with the same respect.
4. Have a Heart to Heart
When you are in a relationship or have a family, finding time for yourself often involves dealing with others. Explain your need for me-time to your friends and family. You may find that others need their own time and you can work out a trade or schedule to ensure everyone has some downtime each week.
5. Learn to Say No
You are usually getting in the way of your own personal time.
It may seem like everyone else is always honing in on your relaxation time, but how often do you say no? Turn down a social date every once in a while or pass up an opportunity to volunteer. Instead of worrying about what people will think, consider how little you will be able to do if stress reduces your health.
6. Learn to Breathe
Obviously, you breathe without thinking about it. How often do you take a few minutes to really breathe, though? Make it a point to stop at least twice a day, no matter what is going on, and just breathe. Set a timer for two minutes, close your eyes and relax. If you can add a small indulgence, like a cup of coffee or piece of chocolate, even better.
Learning to relax and carve out time for yourself certainly won’t solve all your problems. However, it will definitely provide some reduction in stress. Taking a break is even likely to enhance your production and performance throughout all areas of your life.
Make sure you add some extra-long personal time on occasion to savor a good book or play a game of golf. If you could find time for an entire hour today, how would you spend it?