This post is about the importance of making time just for you. For your mind and body, your health and wellbeing, to help keep you energized, present and happy. We live such busy, sometimes hectic and full lives, with many other things often coming first – family, children, work, friends, cooking, eating, sleeping, commuting, cleaning, striving, planning, organizing, more work, cooking and cleaning, etc. Making time for yourself may feel totally impossible, perhaps especially if you’re a parent. When juggling children and work, having regular ‘you time’ may even feel a little self- indulgent..? It’s crazy isn’t it, but many do feel this way. The truth is – it’s extremely important, for all of us, for survival.
The idea of ‘self-care’ and ‘me time’ or ‘you time’ is currently quite a talked about topic. Perhaps because so many other things come first.. or have we just forgotten how to be ‘self-caring’? For many it just isn’t a priority, there isn’t the time or the space. Life is full, fast paced and we juggle so much. It amazes me how much people juggle. Our days, weeks and months are full and we’re constantly bombarded by the media – social media is everywhere, it can be addictive and consuming, and while scrolling through instagram or facebook at night can provide to be nice switch-off ‘you time’ it can also be consuming and not necessarily ‘self-caring’.
Our bodies and minds are not designed to keep going, going and going without any real pause. And by pause I don’t mean sleeping – I mean stopping, relaxing, being present and doing something that makes you feel good, and enables you to re-set, something you love.
Even just 10-15mins here and there can help you to sustain the energy you need on an ongoing basis, to be productive, to focus well, to be inspired, to have new ideas, to have clarity and feel calm, to sleep well, manage and reduce stress, to maintain a healthy immune system, be more present and mindful in all that you do and to feel happy in yourself.
Self-care is a responsibility of ours – there’s making time just for ourselves (to stop, switch off, relax and re-set) but we can also take a ‘self-caring’ approach to life. It’s something that can transcend all that we do, from the way we prepare meals, the way we pack our lunch, the way we approach our day at work, the way we dress, the way we behave towards ourselves and others. Wikipedia defines self-care as ‘any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated.’ While this makes complete sense and is nothing new, have a think here – do you practice self-care well, in your eyes? Do you make enough time for yourself? And I mean real ‘you time’. What relaxes you and enables you to switch off? Do you do this often enough? Do you feel well, balanced, and happy in your mind and body?
Unless we’re good at setting aside time for ourselves on a regular basis it’s easy to reach a point where we suddenly really, really, really need it.
No wonder the rise and boom in yoga, meditation and mindfulness.. we now even have apps that help us to stop and pause! I mean, honestly. What happened to just sitting in the park and listening to the birds? Some of us do things like this, but many of us don’t, or perhaps just not enough.
Time and space for oneself is gold.
If you feel in need of more ‘you time’, but just struggle to find the time it may help to consciously slot in time and make it a ‘non-negotiable’ activity in your week (if you can), or even in your day (5-10mins of sitting on your lounge, with a coffee to enjoy some silence and stillness, for example). I’ve discussed this with clients, it’s interesting, it seems such a simple thing – to pencil in 20mins a week– but it’s not always this easy. Things can come up or plans may change.. your child falls unwell or work’s just too busy. And this is all ok, it’s life. But, if we try to allow time just for ourselves (and if need, shift or re-plan it rather than cancel it), we feel so so so good for it.
I’m a strong believer of the idea that there’s always time, it’s just about taking charge and prioritizing.
So, just for some inspiration, below are a few ideas. I’ve also included my favourite which is to have a bath.. with Epson salts.. with music.. with a herbal tea or glass of wine beside me.. and yes, with candles. Because it’s heaven. Something that goes way back to my early teenage years is the use of homemade body scrubs. They’re so easy to make and often work much better than store bought commercial scrubs. Lately I’ve been using an almond oil based chocolate body scrub, for which I’ve included the recipe below. It’s just divine and leaves me glowing and feeling totally re-invigorated. You may like to try making this or your own variation prior to an ‘at-home luxury bath’ too, or shower.
I hope I’ve inspired or sparked a little new energy in you – to allow more ‘you time’ and/or to practice, enjoy or even just be more aware of self-care.
If you have any thoughts or would like to share a particular way that you love to spend your ‘you time’ please do comment below! I’d love to hear from you. Lara xx
‘You time’ ideas
While at home:
- Have a bath
A bath with salts, bath oil or bubble bath soap accompanied by a cup of tea or glass of wine feels so luxurious. Throughout winter I’ve made time for a bath almost once a week. I might only spend 15mins soaking but gosh it’s quality ‘me-time’. If you have sore muscles, adding Epson salts to a warm bath and soaking for 10mins will significantly relax your muscles and make you feel better all over. You do however need to add quite a bit – I recommend adding at least a good heaped cupful to a full bath.
- Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in bed: Wake up a little earlier, make a cup of tea or coffee, and take it back to bed, it’s such a nice thing to do.
- Just make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and just relax and just be, somewhere comfortable and calming.
- Read a book, magazine or the paper in bed or at home somewhere comfortable, or in your garden and with a coffee/tea/beverage of choice too if you like.
- Enjoy a long warm shower.
- Make a wholesome delicious meal for yourself, and take the time to enjoy it slowly. This could be a slow breakfast or simple dinner.
- If you love to bake, make time to bake something you love, perhaps with your favourite relaxing music playing.
- Practice yoga at home or some gentle stretching, in your own space, with calming music playing.
- Watch and lose yourself in a movie, a movie that you want to watch, on your own.
- Make time to create or do something you love – drawing, making something, sewing, gardening (eg. pot a little herb patch), cooking, reading, etc.
Taking yourself out:
- Find a ‘sitting spot’ somewhere calming, this could be a park, by the river, a quite café with a nice view, wherever you like and just sit and be for a moment. You might decide to regularly visit this spot.
- Take yourself to a café for a coffee, snack, meal or perhaps a nice bar for a drink
- Go for a walk in nature or along a strip of shops
- Find a nice grass spot and just lie there, watching trees or clouds above.
- Take yourself to the movies.
- Go for a wander and explore – in the city, your neighbourhood or in an area that you don’t know. Be a tourist and be open to discover anything.
- Walk along the beach or go for a swim.
- Do a yoga class, meditation class or another class that you love than helps you to stop and relax
- Treat yourself to a massage or facial
Homemade chocolate body scrub
This recipe is flexible so you can make it the way you like it. I love using almond oil as it’s very easily absorbed by our skin and is incredibly nourishing without being heavy. (It’s natural and medicinal too – when pure almond is applied to skin it helps to heal and reduce eczema and other dry skin conditions. I’ve recommend it to so many clients with eczema to use as a body moisturizer and it really really helps, every single time).
This scrub can be applied to wet or dry skin – when applied to dry skin and used all over (before rinsing under a warm shower) it’s the most amazing exfoliating, invigorating and reviving scrub, not to mention delicious (yes, you can eat it too). If you do have eczema, I suggest using this scrub only on areas where no eczema is present. Then, after showering apply almond oil all over, it will help to reduce or may be even clear your eczema. (A note here: eczema can be caused by all sorts of things. Dietary factors can often play a role.. if you have eczema or you find that it comes and goes or your child has eczema feel free to contact me, I’d love to help.
For this scrub, you will need:
- A jar or container
- 1 1/4 cup of sugar (raw, white or brown)
- 1 Tbsp. cocoa or cacao powder (or a few drops of an essential oil if you prefer (see below)
- 1/2 cup almond oil, olive oil or coconut oil (melted)
Tip: If using an essential oil, a few recommendations are: Lavender –relaxing, Lemongrass – invigorating and refreshing, Rose – warming and soothing.
Another tip: Coconut oil is beautiful in this however it will solidify at room temperate so the scrub can become rather thick and hard. It’s still lovely however using olive or almond oil makes the scrub easier to use.
If using coconut oil: warm the coconut oil (in a saucepan or in your microwave) until it’s in a liquid state but not boiling. Pour your almond, olive or coconut oil into a small mixing bowl; add sugar, cocoa and stir until all is combined. Place into a jar or a little container. Depending on the room temperature the coconut oil will either set into it’s solid state or it may stay a little liquid (such as during summer), either way it doesn’t matter.
Before showering, take a small handful of scrub and gently apply to legs, body, arms, neck, scrubbing gently. I tend to start at my ankles and work up towards the heart, which is good for circulation (something I’ve learnt from friends who work in the beauty industry). I also tend to do my feet last as if I do them first it’s just a little slippery. Or, you may like to scrub your feet separately using a foot-bath.
For the ultimate exfoliation it’s best to apply when your skin’s dry. This also enables your skin to absorb more oil. I suggest standing in the shower or bath, scrubbing all over well, so that you’re all coated and feeling tingly, then rinsing off. This way you also won’t have sugar crystals all over your bathroom floor. After rinsing with warm water your skin will feel smooth, invigorated and moisturised. Also, you may find that some scrub and oil drops on the shower floor – be careful that you don’t slip!