The other day I took part in my first ever Twitter chat.
The #LightenYourLoad Twitter chat - hosted by Chivon John - was centered around the following topic: The New Normal – Have We Forgotten How To Relax? Considering the fact that the focus on my blog this month is “Practice Good Self-Care”, I thought this was a very timely and relevant topic.
The Sad Truth…
According to a survey conducted by Women’s Health and The Doctors…
- nearly 63% of women said they rarely prioritize daily downtime
- 55% of women surveyed said they felt guilty scheduling time to relax
- 91 percent of all millennials (people born between 1980-2000s) blow off the concept of relaxation altogether
- 42% of women today considered a high-paying career extremely important (compared to 25 percent 15 years ago)
- Women spend less time on R&R than men do
This belief about what it means to "have it all," is fuelling an unhealthy mindset (especially in women) that every moment you take to shut down/decompress/relax is a moment you could be using to get ahead.
Not to mention it's also kicking our body's natural fight-or-flight response into overdrive and putting us at risk for health issues such as exhaustion, depression, anxiety, digestive problems, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease (source) - to name a few.
So what does that mean for self-care?
In today’s keep-up-or-else world where being “on” 24/7/365 is considered the new normal, when is it acceptable to press pause and take a breather? And if/when we do stop to catch our breath, can we do it without being ridden with guilt?
Here are 5 ways to sneak in some well deserved “YOU” time guilt-free:
Create a daily ritual. Whether it is a morning routine like dry body brushing or drinking lemon water, or a nightly routine like watching your favourite TV show or meditating, find something that you enjoy doing and do it daily. If you look forward to it, you are more likely to stick with it and the more consistent you are, chances are it will become a well-ingrained habit.
Recognize that you deserve some time to yourself each day. When you are tired, stressed out and being pulled in a million different directions, it is virtually impossible to give your best to all you must accomplish. Commit to just 15-20 minutes a day and let yourself reboot. I promise you'll be better for it.
Decide how to best spend “me” time. If yoga is your thing, do that. Into meditation? Fabulous. How about an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians? Splendid. How each of us chooses to spend free time is as individualized as we all are. Make a list of the things you would do if you had just one extra hour in your day – and make it happen. Schedule it into your smartphone if you have to!
Pay attention to the things that are wasting your time. Do you check your emails every time your phone vibrates? Press the refresh button of Facebook every 15 minutes? Go to the grocery store multiple times a week to buy lunch and dinner rather than doing one major grocery shop and batch cooking? Set out specific times each day or week to attend to these kinds of tasks, it saves so much time in the long run. Or better yet, pick up The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris and learn from the master.
Be gentle on yourself. There may be days when you just can’t seem to keep your head above water and the thought of a 30 second break let alone 20 minutes fills you with dread. Resist the urge to beat yourself up. Instead, give yourself a hug, whisper a quiet “I know this sucks right now, but you’re doing your best” and get back to it. Tomorrow is a new day and another opportunity to try again.
Remember, self-time is not selfish—it's a necessary dimension of self-care!
Do you find it difficult to fully disconnect? What do you do to help yourself shut off?