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21 Things You Should Start Making Time For

21 Things You Should Start Making Time For

You wonder where time goes. It’s easy to think that “tomorrow” will be a better day to do things that will lead to a better life. Somehow there will be more money, a better relationship, a move, and only then will you have the time to stop and smell the roses.

Here are some things that you should start making time for. And little by little, you will see that by doing so, your life is richer, and your relationships, both with yourself and others, improve.

1. Take better care of yourself.

Start with the little things. Get a haircut before you really need one. Go to sleep a little earlier. Eat your veggies. Pick one thing at a time, like drinking more water one week, and the next have an extra fruit for breakfast.

2. Indulge in passions and hobbies.

Do what you love, even if it’s just checking out a website about a passion or hobby. Go to a specialty shop during your lunch break or on your way home from work one day just to look around.

3. Initiate long and intimate conversations with loved ones.

Instead of waiting for the perfect moment, go ahead and start a deeper conversation with a loved ones, even if you’re in the middle of the kitchen. Don’t wait for them to be the one to start; make time to go for it in the moment. It will feel awesome.

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4. Listen to others without judgment.

This takes intention rather than a lot of time. Next time someone that you usually pass judgment on or have expectations of speaks, just take the time to listen instead of speaking.

5. Read great books.

It may seem like it’s going to leave you with less time to read through the latest gossip magazine or website, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to fit in reading a classic piece of literature. Check one out and leave it on your counter top or bedside table for a few nights.

6. Write things by hand.

Instead of sending an email to a co-worker, boss, employee, child or partner, write a handwritten note. It takes a short amount of time and the intimacy of a handwritten note is valued in this time-crunched life.

7. Sing.

Your thoughts keep you really busy while driving, walking, doing handiwork or housework. Raising your voice in song slows down time a little bit and gets your physical body moving in a different way. It’s joyful and energizes you, so take the time to do it even if you’re no American Idol.

8. Take a train somewhere.

If you ride the subway to work, skip this one! Otherwise, taking a train on a short little excursion is relaxing, meditative and gives you a break that’s a bit different than your regular day. You can take kids, a partner or friend and make it fun.

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9. Celebrate.

Stop and celebrate silly things other than birthdays and anniversaries. Find a reason to buy balloons and a cake and invite some friends to celebrate a little milestone in your life.

10. Just sit and listen to music.

Listen to music without multitasking. Sit and put on some music that you enjoy, perhaps the type of music you don’t usually listen to. Try some violin music, something in another language, or music the teens are listening to. Ask your parents what their favorite music was as teens and sit and listen to that!

11. Putting personal health first.

For some reason we get busy and don’t make the time at the top of the list to put our health first. Take the time to do this. What do you need for your health? Write it on a list at the top and post it.

12. Love.

Take the time for love. Sometimes, we take the people we love for granted. Look around at the people in your life and show them that you love them. Or take the time to tell them in a longer way that you may usually do. Describe what you love about them.

13. Make an animal friend.

Adopt a pet. If you cannot, visit a zoo, an animal shelter or a friend with a pet and make the time to spend with them. An animal can give you a feeling of calm that you cannot get anywhere else.

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14. Paint something.

You don’t have to paint a room or be Picasso. Just go into the local arts and crafts shop and get some basic acrylic paints, some brushes and a canvas. You don’t have to be artistic to dip a brush into some colors and spread it on the canvas. It’s worth the time it takes and is loads of fun and relaxing.

15. Record a video.

Use your phone, your computer or a friend’s and talk about your life into a video. Years later you will be glad you did. You can keep this just for yourself or share it with others. It’s worth the few minuets it takes now to watch yourself on camera.

16. Movement.

Take the time to move your body. It doesn’t have to be a full exercise regimen. Just put on some music and move around. Move your elbows, your fingers, your knees and ankles. Every part of you that can move, move it! It heals the mind and the body when you take the time your physical body needs in movement.

17. Write your own bucket list.

Do you have a list of things to do before you die? It’s a great thing to take the time to do. You are more likely to do the things you want to do if it’s written down.

18. Deep breathing.

Take the time daily to pause and take a few deep breaths. It fills your lungs with oxygen and relaxes you. Sometimes we go on, racing around and barely breathe.

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19. Look into your eyes in the mirror.

Stop in front of the mirror every day for an extra 3 seconds, lock eyes with yourself and say, “I love you” to yourself. This is an exercise Louise Hay speaks of that helped her heal her life.

20. Tech-free time.

Taking tech free time, even if only for an hour a day frees your mind and helps you realize that you can have ‘time off’ every day. Try it and see how it feels. You may want more than an hour. Perhaps a half day once a week.

21. Sit in nature.

All the great artists, writers and creatives speak of how sitting or walking in nature daily for a short time has been the key to their success. No matter the weather, make time for this one daily even just for a few moments.

This may seem like a long list, yet if you pick a few that you know won’t take much time and go for it, your life energy will shift. You get so busy, and there seems to be this big rush to the finish line. Just remember that on the way to the finish line there is a beautiful view.

Don’t miss it.

Featured photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/itsallaboutmich via flickr.com

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Esther Litchfield-Fink

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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