Do you ever find yourself longing for some time for yourself? Many of us are so busy with work, school, and home life that often there is no time left over to do something that you enjoy. What follows are some ways to carve out that essential time you need to slow down, enjoy life, and rejuvenate yourself.
Scheduling Time with Yourself
1. Evenings with Yourself. Try to save certain weeknights just for you. If others ask you to do things those nights, just tell them you have plans. Use the time for gardening, reading, exercise, thinking, or the ultimate luxury of doing nothing!
2. Monthly Treat. Schedule a treat for yourself once a month. It could be on your lunch break, a weekend, or it could be leaving work early. Maybe you get a spa treatment, go see a movie, a haircut, play golf, or whatever treat you’re always thinking about but rarely get to. Schedule it in and it will happen!
3. Buy Tickets in Advance. Sports, theater, concerts, or any other event you would enjoy. Schedule the plans with a friend later. Having the tickets already in hand will force you to make it happen!
4. Leave Work on Time. Huh? Yes, many of us stay at work late on a regular basis. If this is you, make it a point to leave work exactly on time at least once a week, if not more. And then enjoy that time! Leave work at work.
5. Join a Group. Here are some ideas of groups that can allow you some time away from work and home: singing group, gardening group, astronomy society, book club, quilting (or any other craft) circle, biking/walking/running/etc clubs, ski club, etc. What are you interested in? Strike while the iron is hot. Look up a club in your area today and join! If you can’t find a club, consider starting one yourself!
6. Take an Adult Education Class. Take a fun class. If accounting is fun for you, then go ahead. If not, then think about some of these ideas: foreign language, photography, art, creative writing, or sports (kayaking, archery, golf, yoga). Belly-dancing anyone?
7. Exercise. For busy people it can be difficult to make time for this. But, you know what? You can do it!! All you have to do is decide today and then make it a reality tomorrow. A new habit is started with just one step. Take that first step tomorrow. Walk for 20 minutes in the morning. And then build on that success daily. Vary how you spend that time. On some days use the time for thinking and daydreaming. Other days listen to motivational audio and on days you want a real boost, listen to your favorite music! Here are a couple travel audio books you could borrow from your local library that will take you on a journey to a foreign land while you are walking or jogging: “Holy Cow:An Indian Adventure” by Sarah MacDonald or “The Places in Between” by Rory Stewart. If you’ve been exercising for a while and you usually listen to music, try go without any input for a change. Instead, let your mind wander and expand.
On the Go
1. Commute Via Public Transportation. If you can, ditch your car, and let someone else do the driving. Use that time to plan your day, do some reading, writing, creative thinking, or even meditation.
2. Driving in Your Car. Make the most of this time. Vary how you spend that time. If you always listen to music, perhaps also try: educational radio (NPR), positive audio tapes (suggestion: “Follow Your Heart” by Andrew Matthews) or even totally quiet time. Use that quiet time for brain storming. Either think in your head or even talk your ideas out loud. Bring a voice recorder. You could write a book via voice recorder over time.
3. Waiting in the Car. If you find that you have a certain amount of “waiting time” in your life, change how you perceive it. Instead of “waiting time” you can instantly change it into “me time” by bringing along reading, writing, or entertainment items. Or if you find yourself waiting and you don’t have any of these things use the time for creative thinking about your life or try some meditation.
1. 2 Birds, One Stone. Look for ideas where you can fit in time for you within things you need to do already or that will have multiple benefits. See the ideas below to give you an idea.
2. Walk to Work. This is a a great one because you’re accomplishing many things at once. You’re getting exercise, you have time to think or enjoy music/audio, and you’re helping to save the environment.
3. Arrive Early. Any appointment that you have, plan to arrive 15-30 minutes early. Then use this time for you: reading, writing, meditation, relaxation, thinking, whatever.
4. Volunteering. There are so many benefits with this. You make a difference for others, you escape work and personal worries, and you grow as a person. If you could help one organization or group, which would it be? OK, now go ahead and Google them and find out how you can help – even if it’s just once a year.
5. Side Job. Find a side job at which you can make money, but that will also allow you to do something you love. Some ideas: coaching, teaching a class (art, writing, sport, hobby, anything else you know well), or training others (what special skills do you have that you could share with others? singing, windsurfing, math?)
6. Lunch Alone. Try sneaking away for a quiet lunch alone on a park bench or even in your car. Enjoy some quiet time with no one to talk to and no audio inputs.
Time Away from Kids
1. Organize “Mom’s Morning Out” Circle. If you have a friend or group of friends, you could arrange to share babysitting services a few times a month so that others in the group get some time alone.
2. Babysitters. Make a plan to have a babysitter that you trust watch your children once a month or once a week so that you can get some time for yourself. The key here is to take action and make it happen. If you want more time for yourself, you can get it. Just don’t be afraid to ask.
3. Gym with Babysitting Service. Find a gym that offers childcare so that you can take a yoga class, do some strength training, or even work with a personal trainer. Make sure you fully research the safety of their childcare program first though. Get some references.
What are your secrets for finding time for yourself? Please share in the comments below!
K. Stone is author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. A few of her most popular articles are 25 Tips to Become More Productive and Happy at Work, How to Write a Book in 60 Days or Less, Should You Start Your Own Work at Home Business?, and 5 Big Secrets “They” Don’t Want You to Know About Investing.