You start your weekday early, rush around in the morning to make sure everyone and everything is running on schedule. Whether you work or are a stay at home parent or both…you run errands, complete a “to do” list that is probably bigger than it should be, you try to squeeze in a couple healthy meals and if you are lucky maybe even a little exercise and now your day is just beginning! Your kids come home from school and they want this, need that, don’t want to do this, don’t care about that and on and on. All the while, as they go through the house they leave their shoes in the living room, backpacks in the kitchen, an empty glass on the counter and they can’t understand why their favorite sweat shirt that they lived in all weekend is not washed and ready for them to wear to school tomorrow. They want to know what is for dinner, when you can sign them up for drivers ed and if they can have a friend come over after school tomorrow all while you are trying to get through your own email which you have not gotten to in a few days. Sound familiar????? Any parent in their right mind should be on overload at this point…but my guess is that you just keep going. You keep tending to others and put your own needs and relaxation on the back burner while your stress builds and builds. That is what you ACTUALLY DO…but what you NEED TO DO is to HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON.
Pause…breath…take a moment for you – it’s OK. Everyone else can wait for a little bit while you have some “you time”. It is not healthy to continue to be on auto pilot – you lose focus, miss important things and lose your ability to appreciate the moments throughout the day that are worth appreciating. You are a better person, a better parent, a better partner, a better employee and you FEEL better when you have time just for you. The reality is that nobody is going to build in this time for you. Your teen is not going to say to you, “Hey you know what, I want to make sure that you relax and take time for yourself…why don’t you go in the other room, grab a cup of coffee or tea and read while I sit quietly out here and do my homework so that I get an “A” on my test tomorrow”. If that happened you would likely think you had been zapped off into outer space and wonder where you kid went. So…it’s on you to do AND it’s on you to do without feeling guilty (potentially your biggest challenge!).
What I would suggest is that each day you start with just 15 minutes and build upon it. Take 15 minutes that are just for you to do something you want to do just for you. Tell your family you are going into your room, office or any other quite place and reading emails, surfing the web, reading a book or calling a friend. Or let people know that you are going to exercise and let them know you will not be available until you are done. Do you have a favorite show you like? Let you family know that during that 1/2 hour or hour each week you cannot be interrupted. Do you wish you could join a local sports league or start playing golf again? Then do it! Do you love to bake? Let your family know that on Saturday afternoon you will be baking so you will not be available to be the family taxi driver or for other things during that block of time. You have to change your behavior in order to change the behavior of others (this is a powerful and true statement so go back, read it again and really digest it). If you start respecting your time…and making it clear to others that you are respecting your time…they will start to respect it to. You deserve this! What can you start with – what will you do with your 15 minutes of time that is just for you tomorrow?