Like sands through the hourglass so are the days of our lives.”
~ Ed Prentiss, 1965
Sand in an hour glass is a fitting representation of time isn't it? Flowing ever so smoothly right through our fingertips as we hopelessly try to grasp just a bit more. We never have enough and yet, when we do we often flounder under the weight of an endless list of duties and projects.
No matter your mom status (working, stay-at-home, work-at-home, single, not) I know you need more time. In a ‘lil survey I did on my Facebook page the majority of you wish you had more time. Sadly, many of you also said you don't make time for yourself all that often.
As I battle to find balance between VA work, blogging, writing, homeschool, home managing, and being a wife and mother, I'm exhausted. Last month I logged an average of 37 hours a week of VA work. It was a terribly busy time for me.
And with all of those responsibilities I still have to make time for myself.
How does one make time? There are only 24 hours in a day and last I checked there's no app for that. The truth is, making time has more to do with focusing in, straightening up, and slimming down than it does squeezing the schedule full.
You can't add hours to your day but you an choose what you do with the hours you have. By prioritizing what you do and when you do it you can add margin to your day and margin can be used to care for yourself.
13 Ways to Care For Yourself Throughout The Day
- Grocery Shopping – this might seem odd but it's a chance be alone and think, pray, or just be quiet. Trade sitting with a friend or use a grocery store that offers childcare (like Wegmans).
- Make devotions a priority – Maybe you can't do devos every morning but can you do it every day? Get a ereader app to study on the go.
- eReaders – Speaking of ereaders, while you're waiting for practice or lessons to be over, spend some time reading your favorite books. Even a few paragraphs gives you forward progress.
- Staying organized – I almost labeled the shelves on the refrigerator doors but my husband told me I have too much time on my hands. Ha! But in all seriousness, being organized means you'll spend less time managing your things later. I love List Planit for creating specific lists. The Well Planned Day planner is great for daily life.
- Write something – a letter to a friend (and actually mail it), a poem, a short story. Get creative!
- Getting Up Early or Stay Up Late – decide which works best for your family. For us, staying up after Wyatt goes to bed is not an option. I'm exhausted and my brain is mush. But at 5am I'm ready to tackle the day!
- Drop the guilt – Stop feeling guilty for wanting some time alone. A few hours a week of peace and rest for you away from the kids does your whole family good.
- Limit technology – too much of a good thing is a time-sucking vortex. I love Pinterest and other social media outlets but if your “me time” is spent being bombarded by commercial messages, filtered images, and the best snippets of everyone else's life it will weigh you down.
- Exercise – Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on your mood. It relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better. That's all self-care!
- Take a nature walk – getting outdoors for a few minutes to walk or run or just sit is refreshing
- Indulge in a nourishing snack – what better way to care for yourself than with an indulgent snack. Make it a healthy one and you've doubled up on the self-care. These No-Bake Salted Caramel Cookie Dough Bites are one of my favorites.
- Watch the birds – put a feeder outside a window where you can sit and watch the birds.
- Take a break – now that my son is old enough to be alone for 15 minutes I will sometimes take a quick nap or just rest. I set the time in the kitchen so he knows to come “wake” me. This is a great way for him to feel a sense of responsibility. I also set my cell phone alarm just in case.
“The keys to maximizing those hours are being prepared, learning to multitask, and eliminating waste.”
~ Jessica Turner, The Fringe Hours
Change Your Perspective
Did you read that list and think, “grocery shopping is a duty, not a luxury experience, get real”? Yes, it's a task you must do. Maybe you find it a daunting chore. Can a change in perspective make grocery shopping a better experience for you?
An attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving can go along way to boost your spirit and refresh you. When you're folding laundry, pray for your family. While washing the dishes, think of something you're thankful for about each member of your home.
I have read the negative, snarky posts about how “me time” is an illusion (or worse descriptions).
Self-care or “me time” should not be a selfish act of hours out of the house away from the “brats” or trying to find any way you can to be away from your husband and your kids. God meets us where we are, in the midst of diapers, dishes, and deadlines. When you spend your day being led by the Spirit you will see moments you can make your own that others find mundane or mandatory.