How many times do you come home from work and just want to crash on the couch and stay there for the rest of the night? Or do you ever feel like there is no “me time” and all you do is get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, and go to bed? Well, there are times that I often feel that way too. I can tell you from personal experience, and in working with my clients, that not only is it important to have that work/life balance, but you feel so much better when you mindfully etch out “me time.” I have 5 helpful tips in showing you how to fit that time in.
5 Helpful Tips
Set Realistic Expectations
Make sure that you are able to set realistic expectations for your self-care. If you come up with some lofty goals of running 5 miles, going to yoga, and taking a nap all in the same day when you only have an hour, you are setting yourself up for failure from the start. So make sure that what you set up is something that you think is doable.
Write Out Your Schedule
I know you’re next going to say “but I don’t have any time at all!” Yep, I’ve been there before. When I started working with clients on work/life balance, it made me realize that I have been neglecting my own work/life balance. Sometimes it might mean getting up 30 minutes earlier to exercise, meditate, or whatever your goal is. Maybe take a walk at lunch time? Make time for a manicure or pedicure. Take a look at your daily schedule by writing it out. Often times this helps you actually see where you might be able to pencil some down time in.
Disconnect from Technology and Social Media
Disconnect from technology and social media. I never realized how much time I was spending surfing the web, or checking out my social media pages, until I decided to take a day on the weekend to unplug. At first it felt really weird not checking Facebook, or constantly looking at my emails. After a couple of hours, I was finally starting to relax. What about going to your child’s sporting event and fully pay attention by not texting or going on social media? If you can do it for a whole day, try it for a few hours and you will see how much more you get done, or are just able to relax.
Meditation or Mindfulness
In tip number two, I mentioned making time to meditate. Often times, people think of meditation as this complicated process. The best way to start is put aside 5 minutes. During that time, sit with your back straight, and just breathe. Focus on your breath. It is natural for your mind to wander off, but as soon as you notice this, bring your attention back to your breath. As you do this regularly, you will find that you can do this for longer and longer periods of time. The best part of this, is that you can also do this while at work. 5 minutes is all it takes.
Socializing or Being A Couch Potato?
This is really up to you, and depends which you prefer. Maybe it is a combination of both. If you have a jammed packed month with very few free nights, maybe you will decide you want to stay home and do nothing. That’s often what the doctor ordered. Don’t feel like you have to fill every moment of your day or evening. Give yourself permission to do absolutely nothing! On the other hand, setting a regularly scheduled dinner date with a friend, spouse, or relative is what might be helpful for you. The choice is ultimately up to you, but either way, give yourself permission to have that “me time.”
In the end, your mental and physical well-being depend upon your being able to have a good balance in your life. Take the time to see what will work for you and give it a try!
If you’re having a hard time with work/life balance and are looking for some support in this area, please feel free to give me a call and set up an appointment. Therapy is also great self-care!
Norine Vander Hooven is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been in practice for 30 years. Norine views the decision to enter therapy as displaying strength and courage. For 5 years Norine supervised a mobile crisis response team for youth and specializes in suicide prevention, depression, anxiety, and life transitions. Norine is also EMDR trained and uses this to work with people with PTSD and severe anxiety. Norine works with youth, adolescents, adults, and families.