Make time for you 

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Today I’m writing to all of you who never have enough time to take care of yourselves. You’re always so busy worrying about the many others in your life who need or depend on you that you put yourself at the bottom of the list. You are important too! You need to care about yourself and make time for your needs as well. Since you’re the one others are turning to for help, are you helping and caring for yourself? 

So, how are you doing?  

No, really.  

How are you actually doing?  

Before you plaster on your smile, tell me, “I’m fine!” or “I’m great” what are you actually thinking and feeling? Are you exhausted and tired? Maybe worn down, overworked or lonely? I hope you actually are doing great but for the purpose of this informal chat; and in the privacy of your own mind and heart, really, how are you actually doing? Maybe you need to sit for a little while and think about all the different areas of your life and mind and body. Notice if anything is tight, feels not quite right or if immediately things pop to mind.  

Think about your mind. Are you feeling anxious, overstressed, sad or alone? What are the areas of your life you’ve been neglecting lately? Usually, those things will pop right up to the surface if we still ourselves and reflect.  Finally, think about your heart. Is your heart full and ready to live, engage with the world and be present? Maybe your heart is drained, tired, or won out. Sit quietly, calm, and still your mind and thoughts and ask your mind, body, and heart what they need or what they are missing. 

So, now that you’ve checked in with yourself to see what you need, are you ready to do it? If you’ve been honest with yourself there might be quite a few things on your list that need time and attention. At this point you have a choice to make. One of my clients had expressed it this way “Choose your hard”. I love this way of thinking about it. Realizing that you need to put time, work, and attention into yourself leaves you with this choice. Will you change your schedule, your obligations or some of your expectations of yourself? Or, will you choose the hard of being burnt out, unhappy and struggling to hang on because you are not caring for your needs. It’s empowering to have a choice and to know that you get to control the circumstances. So, are you ready? Take your list of things that your mind, body and heart need and then choose your hard. 

The last step in making time for you is making sure that you include play and creativity in your time for you. Creativity, joy, and play are necessary at every age. Adults need creativity and play just as much as children. Do something that makes you laugh. Spend time with those you love. If you have a pet, spend time playing with your pet. Animals are naturally playful, and it can feel a little more comfortable to be silly and play with an animal. Play helps us be resilient as well as build a resilient coping and nervous system. 

Creativity helps us calm our intense emotions as well as grounds us and helps reset our thinking. Even if you’re not an artsy person there are many ways to use creativity. This could include arts and crafts, plants, and gardening, singing or music as well as cooking, building, or decorating. Don’t confine yourself to thinking of creativity as fine art. Creativity can include inventing new rules to play an old or familiar game. 

My hope is that you will value yourself enough to make time to care for yourself and meet your own needs. Truly, the essence of self-care is being aware of your needs including mental, physical, and emotional and then making sure you are meeting your own needs. Take time to check in with yourself, choose your hard and finally make time for play! 

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