How to Enjoy Time for Yourself
Technology and society are advancing at a rapid pace, and the natural pace expected of us has progressed to a state of constant hurry. In the act of getting as much done each day, we seem to have forgotten how to relax and enjoy ourselves. To be healthy in mind and spirit, it’s important to allow some time for yourself! Follow these tips to take back the time that you have lost.
Doing What You Love
Watch a movie you’ve been meaning to see.Movies are often a group activity, whether with your friends or your loved one, meaning you probably don’t always get to see the movie you want. Scheduling some alone time is a great chance to see that weird art film that no one else wanted to see with you.
- You can also catch up on a television show that you’ve fallen behind on. Netflix and other streaming services make finishing shows a breeze.
- Catch a matinee! You can save a few dollars by watching a movie much earlier in the day than usual – an advantage to freeing up some time for yourself.
Check out a museum.Art is divisive, so finding someone who is into the style of art that interests you is not always easy. Take the opportunity to travel to a museum that you haven’t been able to drum up interest for among your friends, or haven’t been able to visit during the week because of scheduling issues.
- There are many museums hiding in plain sight that you might not have ever noticed. Search online to find the hidden gems in your area.
- Viewing art also provides inspiration, which can lead to new hobbies or passions that can have a strong impact on your life.
- If art isn't your thing, visit a different kind of museum, like a science museum or a history museum.
Go hiking.Take advantage of the free time to hike a trail you’ve always wanted to visit. Not everyone likes particularly long or strenuous hikes, so the time alone is a great chance to make the trip.
- Be careful when hiking alone. Let people know where you are going and carry enough water and supplies if you will be gone for a long period of time..
- You can also get out in nature or take a long walk. Many studies link getting out in nature with a variety of health benefits. Among them include relief for depression and dementia, a reduction in stress and PTSD, and an overall improvement in physical health and wellbeing.
- Take a trip to the beach! Sit at the ocean to watch the waves and listen to the surf.
Read a book.Alone time is a great opportunity to catch up on some reading. Even if you don't have a full day of solitude, you can make significant progress in a book with just 30 minutes of silent time a day.
- If you don't have time to sit down with a book, listen to audiobooks during your commute or when you're doing chores around the house.
Indulge in guilty pleasures.Whether devouring an entire banana split by yourself, or blasting pop music as loud as you can, indulge in those activities that you try to keep hidden from others. Not all guilty pleasures are bad, after all.Just make sure you aren't actually doing something harmful!
- A shopping trip for one of your other hobbies, such as woodworking or pipe collecting, is a great way to spend your alone time - particularly if the trip typically elicits groans from others typically forced to tag along.
Reminisce about old times.Go visit your old house or your favorite playground from your youth. Pull out your old stash of comic books or fire up some video games you enjoyed as a kid. You might even visit home and go through old photos of your family. Time alone is a great way to take stock of where you are, where you’ve been, and where you are going.
- Take some pictures or write down your thoughts about the old locations you visit. It's a great way to reflect, and you never know if they will still be there when you return next.
- Going through your old things is a great way to figure out what you want to get rid of, or what you might want to pass down to your children or sibling's children.
Plan a road trip.Going on a long drive with your windows down and the radio on is a great way to spend some time with yourself. The destination can be anywhere — a scenic spot you've always wanted to visit, a distant relative's house, or even just a faraway restaurant you've been meaning to try.
Nourishing Your Mind, Body and Soul
Meditate.Meditation can be performed nearly anywhere and fits easily into most schedules. Ten minutes of meditation is enough to clear your mind and reduce your stress.
- Meditate in silence to help focus on your feelings and thoughts.
- Sit up straight and count your breath. This can help you settle down and fall into the moment.
Get a massage.Massages feel great and help relieve stress while relaxing the body. Massage therapy also offers wider health benefits, including providing relief for anxiety, headaches, and digestive disorders.
Listen to music.Music connects with our emotions and can help boost our mood. Other studies show that music can help with fatigue and focus, as well as reduce the stress we feel. Slower music in particular can help you relax.
- Faster music is excellent for when you are working out or are getting work done. Try out a variety of music during different activities to see what inspires you!
Relax.Relax with a coffee at an outdoor cafe, or have lunch at a new and inviting restaurant. If a local park has benches or hills, go lay down for a while. Get away from the hustle and bustle of others to reduce stress and improve your mood.
- Be sure to choose a place that has a calm and low-noise atmosphere. Loud restaurants with fast turnover are rarely relaxing.
- Bring a blanket or hammock to the park to open up a variety of relaxation areas without needing to lay directly on the ground.
Make a nutritious meal.A nutritious meal can help improve your mood and boost your energy, particularly when you focus on nutritious regularly. Choose organic whole foods with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and grains to reap the benefits of healthy eating.
- Other foods to work into your diet include certain meats and beans, milk and dairy, and foods high in oils and solid fats, such as nuts, olives, and fish.
Take a bath.Pamper yourself by adding bath salts or bubbles. Turn on some soft relaxing music, lie back and let your mind wander.
- Put on some relaxing music or natural sounds while you lay back to really unwind. Just be careful not to fall asleep.
Do some exercising.Regular exercise can release endorphins and make you healthier overall. If you have some free time, take 15 minutes or so to get in some light exercise.
- Walking, playing sports, and even tending to your garden are all forms of exercise.
Managing Your Priorities
Make yourself a priority.Enjoying time for yourself will be difficult if you feel guilty every time you take some time for yourself. Place your happiness and well-being ahead of other lesser priorities.
- Work on your self-confidence and sense of worth. If you find it difficult to make yourself a priority, you might need to reexamine how you feel about yourself versus those around you.
Assess your responsibilities.Review your schedule and responsibilities. Figure out how much time you spend on each of your current obligations and ask whether the time you spend on each is appropriate. Does your current schedule reflect your priorities in life?
- A certain amount of time for certain activities such as work is required, but are you spending additional time beyond that which is necessary? Ask yourself if there is a way to reduce the extra time spent on work.
Restructure your schedule.Based on your list of priorities and responsibilities, restructure your schedule. Each priority should receive an amount of time consistent with where it ranks on your priority list. The higher on the list, the more time it should receive.
- When creating time for yourself, get creative. You don’t necessarily need to block out an entire day to yourself each week. Blocking out a half-hour or hour each day for yourself is a great start to enjoying time for yourself.
- Schedule small breaks such as sitting on the porch, taking a walk, or reading a book. Putting it in your schedule makes you less likely to forget to give yourself some free time.
Make appointments with yourself.Once you’ve started including yourself in your schedule, expand the time you make for yourself. Set up appointments for yourself in particular that take up a day or more. Depending on your schedule, arranging a full day off might take some preparation. This may be why you found it difficult to spontaneously enjoy time for yourself.
- Find a babysitter. A babysitter can take your children off your hands for a while to let you take that time you need. If you can’t find a babysitter that can work for the schedule you need, check with your family members to see if they can watch your kids for a spell.
- Check the schedules of the other people in your household. If you plan on spending your time indoors, find a day where no one is home to make sure you get peace and quiet.
Learn to say “No.” Saying “yes” to every person who asks for your help will fill your schedule up with activities that often have no place on your priority list. These eat into the time you can spend on more important activities, including yourself.
- If you have trouble saying no directly, come up with a few easy-to-use excuses.
- For example, you might say: “I’d love to, but it’s been a long day, and I really have to go home and get some rest.”
- You might also say: “I have a few errands to take care of then. Maybe we could reschedule for another time?”
Turn off the tech.There are fewer easier ways of removing distraction from your life than by turning off the tech. Stay away from the Internet, turn off your phone, and unplug the television to remove several big sources of distraction from your day.
- Let others know when you intend on unplugging. You don't want to worry anyone if you suddenly stop responding to text messages.
- Unless there's an emergency, wait until after your time of relaxation has passed before talking on the phone.
- Do not tell anyone where you are going to prevent interruption.
- Have a "no technology day." Turn your cell phone off and stay away from the computer.
Sources and Citations
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