There are many days when we women run on an empty tank, rushing around to take care of errands, a family, work, meals, and, on seldom occasion, a pedicure! If we’re lucky. No “Manual on Life” told us to keep the pressure on 24/7; it just kind of happened one day. It became the norm out of nowhere.
But, even with a full agenda…especially with a full agenda, it’s important to give ourselves a well-deserved break. A big part of wellness is knowing how to handle our energy. We must refuel and be “selfish” at times or we will, quite literally, go crazy. Been there!!!
So, in celebration of the upcoming holiday, Labor Day, I would like to leave you with some ideas on how to create boundaries and “me time,” so that you can finally catch your breath.
Whether or not you have the day off on Labor Day is irrelevant. I went for years without standard weekday holidays off because that was when clients had time to get in the gym. People I had been trying to get on my schedule for months would finally show up! Hence, the Labor Day blog post will be a workout that you can do, should you choose to spend part of the holiday on your health. Whenever you have the opportunity to make time for yourself is great!
It may be that you have to hit the pause button in the middle of a busy time at work – in order to save your sanity – or you may have too much time on your hands one month and, as a result, you feel like you have to keep a full schedule, making every minute count. Whatever the case, if you don’t make time for you, no one else will. Showing yourself love is just as important as loving others, especially for women who tend to be hard on themselves while simultaneously being incredibly generous to others.
This past week I found myself short-fused and exhausted. I’m almost 16 weeks pregnant and I had spent the entire month working my rear end off on events for other women in my life. I was super happy to do it and very honored to have such special ladies in my life that I would bend over backwards for. Still, I reached the end of August feeling physically and emotionally vulnerable. I had depleted myself because I didn’t take the time to reenergize and focus on my needs (especially during such a sensitive time in life). So, I decided to implement the following strategies (below) to create a little personal space and time for myself. It was only one day of the week that I gave in to all of my needs, but I savored in it. I finally felt like I took care of myself.
Maybe you can use these strategies to cut out a few hours of the day for yourself, or maybe you can find a way to turn it into a whole week! Enjoy the time and remember that you are worthy of it.
Strategies for Recharging
Carve Out Time
Although an impromptu “peace out” can be extraordinarily satisfying, I find that planning your personal time in advance has some benefits. If you plan your personal hour(s), day(s), week(s) or…gasp…month(s) (PS – I envy you) ahead of time, you have the ability to be really thoughtful about how you wish to spend it. One can easily get wrapped up in an agenda of personal errands during off days instead of giving time to activities that will be emotionally rejuvenating.
I think one of the biggest things that women need to remember is that there doesn’t need to be a justification for your time off. You don’t need to make up a lame excuse about your dog’s vet appointment or a family member from out of town. Just say that you need the day off. Simple as that!
Create Boundaries with Friends/Family/Co-workers
If you need the day off and someone is making you feel bad about it, that’s their issue, not yours. I know it sounds harsh, but there are likely few needs that will collapse the world or ruin your professional reputation if left unattended to for 24 hours (unless an individual’s actual life depends on you…which may be the case for babies, handicap and elderly individuals). Thus, it’s important to identify people who you anticipate may reach out to you during your time off. Politely let them know that you care about them and their needs, but that you’re going to be off the radar for a hot second and to please hold off on communication. You can promptly pick things up again when you return.
I was really intimidated to explain to a few close friends that I needed a break from talking about baby stuff for the week. As an expectant mother, I felt overwhelmed by the constant messages and requests to chat about how I was feeling, particularly when they came multiple times a day. I appreciate the outpouring of love and concern, but I just felt that it was holding me back from getting into a rhythm of focusing on myself (and ironically, by taking care of my own needs, being able to take care of my growing baby’s needs). I’m here today to say that these friends completely understood that I needed to mentally check out for a bit. I mean, once the baby arrives I won’t have that privilege! They are still my wonderful friends and no, it wasn’t as scary or offensive to bring up as I had imagined it. Life goes on!
Do Things That REALLY Make You Happy
I recently heard about famous Japanese home organizer, Marie Kondo. She tells people to take each item in their closet or home, depending on how much decluttering you need, into their hands. While touching the item, people are encouraged to ask the thoughtful question, “Does this spark joy?” If not, it’s time to get rid of it. Thus, for your personal time, I encourage you to do the same. Does the activity (or even lack of agenda) give you joy?
Some people hate Home Depot. Some people hate the gym. I happen to LOVE both. So, on my personal day off I hit them both up. I also decided that tracking down a hidden neighborhood dog park was on my agenda because watching my little puppy sprint across a wide open space makes my heart leap. Lastly, I decided to discard my backlog of American Marketing Association magazines in favor of a book that I will allow to remain nameless, lol. Let’s just say it’s a poorly written, trashy chick-lit novel that doesn’t deserve the $30 I spent on it…except that it kind of does because it provides mindless entertainment value. Gotta love that from time to time.
What makes you really happy? Do you allow yourself time for it? If the answer is no, create time. Out of thin air, if you must. Life is too short not to enjoy yourself here and there.
Remove “Should” From Your Vocabulary
I’m the queen of using my email inbox as my “To Do” list. In other words, if your email hits my main account, I’m responding to it ASAP. On my day off, a few emails pinged in that I felt compelled to respond to right away. But, that would be breaking my own rules. If you’re truly taking time for yourself, allow the “should” tasks to wash away from the world. They’re still going to be there after you relax. In fact, they will never go away because that’s just life. So, why allow them to insert themselves into your brief hiatus? Your Zen is way more important than vacuuming, emails, cleaning your closet, and running errands. For once, your only “should” is what you genuinely want; the thing that warms your heart.
Ladies, you have certainly added to the strength, posterity and well-being of our country and, the world at large. Don’t you deserve Labor Day or another day off, just for yourself? Listen to the little voice that is saying “yeesssssssss!”
Yours in health and wellness,