Make the time for YOU: How to prioritise your self-care
I never used to take my self-care very seriously at all, but that all changed back when I was going through a severe patch of anxiety and depression. It taught me the merits of slowing down and making time for my self-care and more importantly it taught me HOW to make time for myself and what constitutes as self-care for me. Spoiler alert: it’s not all spa days and yoga. And why did I have that onset of anxiety and depression anyway, yup, because I wasn’t giving any value to taking time for me.
In many ways this period of anxiety and depressions was the catalyst that led me to taking my side-hustle full-time, because it cecame more of a need than just a want to create a slower and more meaningful lifestyle. I needed a way of living and working that worked for me and my health. But there’s also lots I learned from that period of time, particularly when I was signed off work, that I’ve implemented into my lifestyle now.
Now I can get out for a walk in daylight during the winter months, or take a day slowly when I’m feeling anxious, I can work to the ebb and flow of my energy levels rather than be bound to a 9-5 and I can have spontaneous afternoons off if I want to. But that’s not to say I always honour that freedom and make choices around what’s best for my health, both mental and physical.
I don’t know about you but taking time out, resting, doing nothing are all things that come easily right? Nope, no they’re not are they. Especially when you’re growing a business and even more especially when you’re growing a business on the side of other commitments. There’s so much at play when it comes to taking time out for YOU.
Just a few of the attitudes, biases and emotions at play when it comes to making time for YOU:
In our culture busyness is often worn as a badge of honour. We collect busy-points to stroke our egos and reassure ourselves that we’re not lazy.
On the flip side of the coin, society has also taught us that we mustn’t be ‘lazy’, because that’s a bad thing and a very undesirable trait.
Because self-care often feels like an unnecessary inconvenience, another time-suck to take us away from doing our work.
It’s also hard to resist the lure of an unfinished to-do list and the need to feel ‘busy’ – because, well, busy points.
We tie up our self-worth with how busy we are. If we’re busy, we feel like we’re needed and important, if we’re not busy we feel unwanted and lazy; worthless.
We don’t want to be judged for taking time out, especially if that’s between the hours of 9-5 and doing it often makes us feel guilty.
It feels self-indulgent – which we’re taught is a bad thing. We musn’t be too interested in ourselves, that’s not a desirable trait either.
No wonder making the time for our self-care is like pushing water up hill, with a fork. Right?
To shift our mindsets around self-care, perhaps it would help to share a few reasons why making time for YOU is a great thing.
On a very basic level it’s good for your mental and physical wellbeing.
When we take time out for ourselves, that’s when we have the best ideas and solve our trickiest problems. We need to give our brains a chance to switch off to free-up and allow the subconscious part of our brain to solve problems.
Making time for YOU makes you more productive and more creative. Boom. Do you need any more reason than that? Contrary to what we might assume, taking regular breaks from our work helps to re-ignite the creative part of our brain and helps us refocus when we get back to our work.
Unless you’re new here you’ll have heard me go on about how productivity isn’t about being busy and getting lots done, it’s about doing less and focussing on the stuff that makes a difference. In other words, it’s not the amount of time each day you’ve got your eyes on a screen and your bum in a swivel chair, that makes you productive. Productivity isn’t really about output, it’s about the quality of your work, and just working on the stuff that has a positive impact on your business. This philosophy ties in seamlessly with the need to make the time for YOU.
Taking time out for ourselves is something that should be easy right? How easy is it to take some time out and do, well, nothing? Well, actually it’s crazy hard. It’s not easy at all. It’s something you have to be intentional about and consciously work to creating time for.
To help you make more time for YOU I’ve created a free workbook called just that, Make The Time For YOU - to share with you some ways that you can start making more time for YOU and your self-care.
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