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Take Time for Yourself

It's the end of a long day. You feel exhausted. You spent a whole day at work or at home giving more than all you had. You are glad to reach the end of the day and feel like you have nothing left to give. All you want to do is sit down and be done with your day. Nothing else. 

When you do sit down, you have demands at home. A spouse wants to go out for dinner, go dancing, and go spend time with friends. Your kids need a ride to class. Your mother calls and wants you to help her plan your upcoming family reunion. The neighbor wants to talk to you because your lawn service has mowed over the property line again. You have a pile of bills to pay in your home office, and your own work to do at home. You feel like you spend 60 hours working at your actual job, and then another 50 working at home every week. When do you have time for yourself?

Photo by Jeanette R. Harrison, MPH

One of the keys to dealing with a busy life and addressing burnout is making time for yourself. Taking time out sounds like a simple concept, but it isn't always easy. Especially for care providers, prioritizing yourself can be challenging. Taking a walk, going to the gym, taking a bath, or even meditating can seem like one more thing you have to do in your day that you don't have time for. However, if you want to take care of yourself, you must make time for yourself. Finding the time for yourself may seem nearly impossible every day. However, here are a few tips to help you make time in your day to take care of yourself.

*Put yourself on the calendar. Schedule a time in your day that is just for you. Pick a time that you know you are least likely to be distracted or interrupted. Start off with a few minutes and then try to build up to at least an hour a day that is just for you. 

*Turn off the screens. Screens of all types, cell phones, televisions, and computers can be distracting and can increase stress. Sitting in a chair sometimes, in meditation, or in quiet reflection can do wonders for reducing stress.

*Take a nap. Naps aren't only for kids. Adults' bodies get worn out and run out of fuel during the day, too. Napping can reduce stress and also make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. The nap also gives you a mental time-out from your day.

*Walk at work. If you are able, take a short walk at work on your break, preferably outside. This is about taking time for yourself, so take a walk by yourself. Taking a walk gives you focused energy and again is a time to clear your mind or think about an issue. 

*Engage in a creative activity. Creative outlets like writing, drawing, singing, dancing, scrapbooking, baking, quilting, and beading, are great ways to spend time on yourself. The great thing about creative talents is they are specific to you and what makes you unique.