There are countless aphorisms about self-care, ranging from the pithy to the profound. Many of these boil down to insufficient available time with the result being that, when it comes to self-care, many of us can’t seem to find the time. It’s understandable; there are always other priorities, urgent matters, other people’s needs, etc. There are only so many hours in a day. And so it goes, each day blending into the next until it doesn’t work anymore.
In those rare moments when we get an opportunity to catch our breath, perhaps we realize that we can’t continue to run ourselves at full throttle forever, that there should be some time for us as well. And then another urgent matter, phone call, text message, or email sends us off and running again.
It isn’t easy to find time for ourselves. In this scenario, thoughts of self-care amount to mere wishful thinking.
There is a better way. It begins with an acknowledgment that we’ll never “find time” for self-care. Instead, we must choose to make time for self-care—we must prioritize it. Each of us has twenty-four hours each day; we can’t make more time, but we can allocate our time more intentionally.
While instantaneous changes rarely work, when we make small, incremental changes, we often find success. Rather than zealously blocking out an hour a day for meditation, only to see one’s commitment to that change wither on the vine, resolve to start small. Some have found success by starting with one-tenth of an hour—six minutes—during which they focus on deep breathing, a short brisk walk, or other calming activity.
Making room for ourselves in our busy schedules begins with a choice to make our self-care a priority. The good news is that each new day gives us a fresh opportunity to make that choice.
Check out episode 33 of The Incrementalist for helpful tips on making time your ally.