As we go through life, often times we are busy working and caring for others, with little to no time for ourselves. Then one day we wake up and realize we’re not in very good health, feel depressed, tired, and definitely not socially active; so what do we do now?
I love your column and have found it helpful on several topics. I’m caring for my mother and helping with my grandchildren and I’m having a hard time remembering to take care of myself. Do you have any suggestions on how to manage all that’s going on and still have time for me?
Many of us struggle with this type of situation and there isn’t one answer that fits all. I’ve found this method to be helpful in the past. The first step is acknowledging you need time for yourself, which you’ve already completed! Now you need to sit down with the calendar and take a look at how your day, week and month flow. Jot down your commitments, appointments and any other items that impact your time. Once you have all the information in front of you, begin to block out time for yourself. Some days it may be only 15-30 minutes free time but that’s enough time for a walk, a little exercise or a soak in the tub. On the days when you block off a few free hours, make plans with friends to go to a movie or other activity that you enjoy. If you’re not finding any free time on your calendar, you need to enlist help from family members and friends to make some free time. Once you have time blocked off for yourself, don’t let requests for help take that time away from you; learn to say no, I can’t help that day? The first time through this process will be difficult but don’t give up; it will get easier as you move forward. Please let me know how this works out for you and don’t hesitate to email me with any further questions or comments.
As I said in the response above, each situation is different and may require different tactics. Don’t be afraid to ask others for their help in this process. Don’t give up if the first thing you try doesn’t work out for you; try other ways of making time for yourself. The most important takeaways from this column are:
-Acknowledge the need to care for yourself
-Block out time for yourself
-Enlist the help of others
-Protect your time
If you have topics you’d like more information on or questions you’d like answered, please email me: DearGrace@pibarre.org or write me: Dear Grace, c/o Project Independence, 81 N. Main Street – Suite 1, Barre, VT 05641-4283