7 Strategies for Carving Out Me Time

(Note to the men reading this article: it’s geared for women, since we seen to have this problem more than you. Feel feel to keep reading and/or pass along to the special women in your life)

Have you ever stopped to think about where you fit on your priority list? If you’re like most women, you’re probably at, or near, the bottom of your list.

Spouse, kids, work, cooking, cleaning, driving kids to their activities, volunteering, etc etc all come before you take time for you. Somehow all these things end up ranking higher on our list. Often, it doesn’t happen right away, but things slowly creep their way up and all of a sudden you realize you’re at the bottom.

me time priorities

Before we get more into this, don’t think I have it all together. I’m just as much like this as anyone; maybe even worse than you. For example, I was chatting about this a while ago and realized cleaning my bathroom was more of a priority than me-time. What the heck?!!

Making time for yourself is hard. I get it. For whatever reason (I’m sure there are many) we put others and doing things for others ahead of ourselves.

Here’s the thing, we aren’t doing ourselves or those around us any favors. Sure, in the short-term it’s manageable, but what’s the cost? Are you as happy as you could be? Are you as fit or healthy as you could be? What example are you setting for your kids, if you have them?

It’s not about being selfish. Not by any means. It’s about taking time for YOU to relax and rejuvenate. We give of ourselves so much, it’s important to take time to “refuel”.

Here are 7 strategies for making me-time:

1. Schedule it in. Just like scheduling your workout (maybe your workout *is* me-time), carving out time for you means it’s more likely to happen. Actually book the time in your calendar. If it means making an appointment with a fictitious person, go for it!!

time for me2. Find an activity you enjoy that’s relaxing.

Reading, taking a bath, knitting, drawing, yoga…there are many options of what you can do to spend some time on yourself. I’ve chosen painting my nails as something I do. It’s fun to choose different colors and do fun patterns. And since nail polish chips, I’m “forced” to do a touch up or change once or twice a week!

3. Wake up earlier. Facebook fan Jennifer gets up an hour earlier than she needs to in order to get her workout in. I realize getting up earlier can be tough, but if you go to bed a little bit earlier you can still get in the same amount of sleep.

4. Make yourself accountable. It’s always easier to do something when you’re accountable to someone else for it. Talk to a friend or two and make a deal with them that you’ll both keep “tabs” to ensure the other is getting their me time. Perhaps some me time is hanging out with your friends.

5. Start small. Let’s be honest. Moving yourself higher up your priority list won’t happen overnight. So don’t set yourself up for failure; start small. Say 30 min a day, 3x a week. Pick your days, choose your activity and make it happen. As you are able to consistency maintain me time, add more days or lengthen the time.

6. Learn how to say no. In The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes Harvard professor William Ury suggests a strategy that doesn’t require us to sacrifice the relationship or our own priorities. He calls this a positive no.

“In contrast to an ordinary No which begins with a No and ends with a No, a positive No begins with a Yes and ends with a Yes (p. 16).”

A positive No has three parts:

  1. Yes: It begins by saying Yes to yourself and protecting what is important to you.
  2. No: It continues with a matter-of-fact No that sets clear boundaries.
  3. Yes: A positive No ends with a Yes that affirms the relationship and offers another solution to the person’s request.

The next time someone asks you to do something that you really shouldn’t take on, try using this strategy.

7. Delegate and get others to help. I think an essential part of making me time is admitting we can’t do it all. This is a hard one (for me too!). But, handing some tasks over to others will free up some time. If you’re working overtime at your job is there a way you can delegate some work to a junior member of your team? You may actually be helping them out by giving them opportunity to have more responsibility. What about at home? If you have kids, get them involved with chores. I started doing chores (dishes, laundry, etc) before I was a teenager. Getting your kids  to help not only teaches them valuable skills, but maybe they’ll appreciate the work you do for them more (here’s hoping!).

There you have it! 7 strategies for carving out more me time. Conveniently, one for each day of the week! :) Try one or two out and let me know how it goes.

YOUR TURN: What other strategies would you add? What works for you? Share in the comments!

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Lydia Di Francesco is the Founder of Fit & Healthy 365 and Creator of the 15 Minute Workout Club, an online workout membership site. As a Certified Personal Trainer, Lydia educates clients and the public that healthy living doesn’t need to be complicated. She promotes simple, fun, exercise, self-care, and creating a healthy mindset with a long-term approach to wellness.

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