Updated: Oct 27, 2020
I remember a time in my life when I wasn’t a parent, in my 20s, young, free and loving life with plenty of time on my hands and when you become a parent, time is the one thing very few of us can afford and you then start to appreciate what a luxury it is.
Being a parent often means putting your children’s needs first and sometimes that means we often completely disregard our own needs. Most parents know what it feels like when you end the day looking a little bit, erm dishevelled and maybe a bit smelly. For some of us, that's just normal, especially during the formative years of parenting which I'm sure most of you can empathise with.
"Think about putting 10 minutes aside every day for yourself and go from there. Just like exercise, you’ll get stronger"
I absolutely disagree with anyone saying that putting time aside for ourselves is selfish because I feel it’s so important for our mental health & wellbeing. I strongly feel that when I’m happy and comfortable that positive energy is transmitted into our relationships with loved ones, partners, kids and people around us.
We should stop making excuses to prevent ourselves from making "me time".
Here’s a few tips of what you can do to start prioritising your free time.
Take Little Steps - You’re more likely to start taking yourself seriously if you start small. It’s just like getting back into your exercise routine. We all deserve a few minutes a day to focus on ourselves. Think about putting 10 minutes aside every day for yourself and go from there. Just like exercise, you’ll get stronger.
"As you start to transform your approach to life, keep in mind that you are the one in charge of your decisions."
Put Time in Your Calendar - This tip is especially useful to those who have to have a to-do list and need to stick to a schedule. You can pat yourself on the back every day when you tick it off the list.
Focus on What Is Happening In The Moment. Free time can be difficult to enjoy in the beginning because it might be hard to ignore the household chores piling up in the background. Try to notice how much more relaxed you feel when you focus on one thing at a time. You’ll appreciate doing something good for yourself, so when you’ve got a few minutes, just shut everything out for that moment and enjoy it.
Don’t be Afraid To Let Go - Ask for help! Some of us feel like we have to manage every aspect of our children and household schedule, because it may reflect badly on the type of parent you are if you don’t. Asking for help is not a weakness. It does not mean that you are unable to do something, it just means you are choosing not to do something at that time. So that cheerful, friendly neighbour that offered to babysit while you nip out to the shops, maybe it’s time you accepted the offer. I think it’s so important to permit those around you to share in some of our responsibilities to help bring a little bit of joy to ourselves.
It’s Okay To Say No - You are allowed to take control and do what’s in your best interest. Only you have the authority to make decisions about how you spend your time. It’s so easy to simply neglect yourself, but you can do better. You get to say what it means to take care of yourself. As you start to transform your approach to life, keep in mind that you are the one in charge of your decisions. We all deserve happiness.
No matter how exhausting parenting can be at times, it’s important to put time aside for yourself and hold on to the things that make you happy. Kids and partners need to understand this very early on.
How do you intend to spend your free time?