VIP Q+A: How to Create More Time for Self-Care When Life is Jam Packed

“What are some ideas for quick, small things you can do for self-care when you're tired or stressed or both but can't take a lot of time to really take care of yourself?”

Good-morning!

Today I am here with a new VIP Q+A post where I answer questions that readers – YOU! – have sent in. Thank you so much for asking! You guys make these posts possible for me.

Q: “What are some ideas for quick, small things you can do for self-care when you’re tired or stressed or both but can’t take a lot of time to really take care of yourself?”

A: What a great question!

I was listening to Present Over Perfect this morning and Shauna Niequist said that each morning she lays in bed for 2-3 minutes to allow Gods love to wash over her before she starts her day.

I share this with you not to say that THIS is the way or the only way you can practice self-care, but to share that sometimes self-care is simply taking a few moments to let an intention wash over you, to start your day, or to pause in your day.

To check in with yourself and ask how you’re doing.

Literally, “How are you doing, self? What do you need?” through your day.

In fact, I had a client who mentioned that she needed help with this to get herself into the habit, and so she downloaded an app called “Daylio.” This app checks in with you and asks “How are you doing?” You take 30-seconds to write about your day and rate it.

I’ve been using it as well, and it’s been wonderful! It really does help you to be more intentional about your day.

It’s helped me to notice what I’ve done on my best days and see clearly what’s missing on my not-so-feel-good days. It’s VERY helpful.

That’s a very practical answer to this question, let me know if you have follow up questions to this in the comments and I will gladly answer!

Q: “When life is jam packed with work and kids activities, how do you carve out time for yourself and create balance in life?”

A: Reduce, reduce, reduce is the first thought that comes to my mind.

YOU have to carve out space. WE have to carve out space.

I actually have a question for YOU.

How can you CLEAR SPACE in your life so that it’s not as jam packed?

Think both in your schedule and in your physical environment.

What are the things that you identify as “jam-packing” your life?

Are you always picking up? Can you give some of your things away so that you have less stuff to clean up?

Are you doing too much on your own? Trying to be everything for everyone? Can you ask for help? Say no to some things?

You do not need to be superwoman. You are not superwoman. I am not superwoman.

Are there any commitments that you can CLEAR from your schedule?

When I used to nanny, here are a few things that I saw moms doing to make space for themselves using a sitter:

  • They’d have me come over an hour early so they could shower and get ready in peace
  • They’d have me stay an hour extra so that after their appointments/errands they could stop and have a coffee, alone
  • They’d have me stay through nap time (even though the kids were sleeping and they “could have” had downtime at home) so they could go out for some solo exercise – they knew if they stayed home they’d end up doing chores. Smart mama’s!

I have clients who have their kids stay at daycare until they close (like 5:00 or 6:00), even if they’re off work at 4:00 so they can have an hour alone – I fully respect and admire this choice. They’ve already paid for the time and bottom line, it’s OK to spend time on your own.

The last thing I’ll say here is to choose to make empty space a priority.

So often we see empty space on our calendar and think to FILL it. Let’s just leave it empty and see where life takes us. Let’s leave some room.

Instead of planning a play date, watch a show on the couch with your little ones.

Or let them watch a show and go do something for you!

Something else Shauna N. shared in her Present Over Perfect video series was this moment where she asked her son what he wanted more of… She expected him to say “more soccer!” or “more trips!” and instead he replied, as they were sitting on the floor playing lego’s: “more this!” 

Meaning… more down time at home, having nowhere to go, just hanging out with the family. No big plans, just downtime…

So I wonder? It sounds like you’re also craving “more this!” 

How can you make “more this” a priority?

I’m not a mama and I KNOW being a mama makes you busier than I am (for sure), however, thinking about this won’t help you be less busy. So again, with the focus on you, I ask… What do YOU want to experience more of? How can you clear even just a little bit of space to make time for THIS?

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in my next VIP Q+A please do so in the comments! (I’ve only got three questions left on my “roster” so, please, send the new ones in so I can keep doing posts like this!)

Love, Paige
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