As I’m writing this it’s the Christmas holidays, the much-needed breather between the end of one year and the start of a new one. The holiday period generally means I’m a bit more relaxed, try to move at a less frantic pace and make more time to do the things I love to do.
The last six months have been extremely stressful for me – I’ve moved house, juggled full-time work with part-time study and exams, and have had endless social occasions to wrap up the end of the year (which is a bit of a sensory overload for my INFJ personality).
Having so much going on has made me realise the importance of self-care – the practise of putting my needs first– so I value (instead of resent) the time and energy I give to others.
So here’s my top three ways I take time out for myself to avoid feeling ‘drained’ or ‘spent’. They’re nothing drastic, just simple, effective things anyone can add in their daily routine.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” – Rumi
1. Do one thing you love every day
Deadlines, commitments and chores can get in the way of what we love to do. Sure, we’d all love to take a holiday, watch a movie or get a massage, but doing one thing that raises your happiness levels doesn’t need to cost money. It can be as simple as reading your favourite magazine or having lunch in the sunshine, catching up with a friend over tea/coffee/juice or going for a run.
2. Learn to say no
It’s taken me a long time to do this, but it’s okay to say no to invitations or things that you just don’t have the energy to do. It’s one thing to go because you enjoy the company of others, or because you want to be there for someone, but another just for the sake of going because everyone else is (or some other reason you give yourself). The same goes for taking on more tasks that sap too much of your time. As much as you’d like to do them, ask yourself why you’re doing it and know your limitations. Just remember: when you say yes to someone else, make sure you’re not saying no to yourself 🙂
3. Take a bath
Or meditate. Or go for a walk. Setting up a solid amount of solitary time with yourself allows you to get in tune with you. When you aren’t fazed by the pace life throws at you, or aren’t overwhelmed by your to-do list, you’re more in control and empowered to make decisions that help you along your path. A friend once told me that all you need is some time-out to sometimes come to life changing conclusions or to gain more clarity to situation.