Today’s society is fast paced and full of high expectations for how you spend your time. You most likely have many responsibilities pulling you in different directions, never leaving any time for yourself. Your job, church, family, pets, household – all of it takes a toll on your time. At the end of the day, you’re probably lucky to have had more than five uninterrupted minutes of “you time.” Leading a busy life is no simple task, but you can relieve stress and improve your mental and physical health with a few quick tips.
Create Daily Goals
It’s great to have a major end-goal in sight, such as achieving a promotion at work or raising your kids to be functioning adults. But these far-reaching goals won’t help you in your day-to-day life. Instead of trying to take on everything at once, take a few moments at the beginning of the day to set goals for the next 24 hours. Focus only on the day in front of you, not the rest of your life. Taking things one day at a time can make your to-do list more manageable and relieve stress.
Write down a list of everything you need to get done today, and then a wishlist of things you would like to get done. Things you have to do might be attend a prayer group, while something you would like to do might include cleaning up the house or getting in a workout. Rank the items on your list in order of importance, and then start from the top and work your way down. Make sure to include at least one thing that makes you happy or relaxed on your must-do list. Make it a top priority to ensure you get it done every day, instead of consistently pushing it to the bottom of the list.
Many hard-working modern women take care of everything but themselves. Lots of household tasks take the mantra, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Yet taking on all the responsibilities of a career woman, mother, wife, sister, and friend can be exhausting. Learn to delegate the tasks you can to take some of the burden off yourself. After all, you can’t help others without first taking care of yourself. Look at the tasks you complete every day and see which ones family members or your spouse can take over, such as loading the dishwasher or vacuuming the carpet.
Take a similar strategy at work. If you have anyone working under you, or junior staff members, see if you can delegate tedious tasks such as stocking the printer or running memos back and forth across the office. Learning when to let others help can free up precious minutes throughout your day – adding up to more time you get to yourself at the end of each evening. It is possible to get everything done and take time to yourself with a bit of prioritizing and delegating.
Create a “You” List
Once you’ve nailed down how to create more time in a day, you have the luxury of taking a few minutes to yourself. What you do with this time is important. Even if you only manage an extra few minutes between work and running errands, you can do a lot of relaxing in a short amount of time with the right mindset. Think about things you love and that make you happy. It might be reading for pleasure, flipping through a gossip magazine, drawing or coloring, getting a delicious cup of frozen yogurt, writing in a journal, or engaging in personal prayer. Then, put this item at the top of your daily priority list.
Keep a go-to list of things you can do for yourself every day. Organize them by how long each item would take. For example, a relaxing bath might take half an hour, but reading a few pages from your favorite book might only take five minutes. When you find you have some time for yourself, choose an activity that fits your timeslot. Keep a favorite book handy or a journal to jot down your thoughts. These are simple things you can do by yourself every day for inner peace and calm.
Surround Yourself with Helpful Tools
There are cheap items you can invest in to help you make the most out of your “you” time. Keep a few items in your car or at your desk at work to help you relax in short periods of time. Then, when you find you have a few moments to yourself – planned or unexpected – you have tools at your disposal to maximize stress relief. A few ideas include:
- Stress ball. Purchase a cheap stress ball or make your own using a balloon and household materials. Squeeze your stress ball and form it into shapes to help your mind relax and focus. (Bonus: this is a fun project to do if you have young kids in the house!)
- Adult coloring books. Adult coloring books are a fun trend that’s helping adults relax all over the world. Keep an adult coloring book handy with crayons or colored pencils, and go to town when you have a few moments. This exercise can take as little or as much time as you want, making it ideal to squeeze in throughout the day.
- Hot tea. If coffee is your go-to drink throughout the day, consider switching at least one cup of Joe for a stress-relief tea. You can find teas specifically for calming and stress relief, such as chamomile and honey lavender. A cup of hot tea during the day can make you feel more calm and centered, without taking up too much time.
“I’m too busy” is one of the most common phrases spoken by women these days, but it doesn’t have to be in your life. Make time for yourself between balancing a career and home life with a few simple lifestyle changes, and do small things to make the most of the time you have. Whether you allot time to take a hot bath at the end of every evening or take a few minutes a day to devote to prayer, small changes can make a world of difference. Taking more time for yourself can make you happier, healthier, and more at peace with life.