Skip the guilt when it comes to doing what you like to do. A little bit of me-time can make a lot of difference to a whole lot of things.
What activities make you feel good, what activities make you smile?
Do you do these things often? If not, why not? If it’s because you put the needs of friends and family before your own, or because you think doing things for yourself is selfish, consider this: You will be a more effective friend, partner, parent and even worker when you’re strong and happy rather than rundown and cranky.
A sensible survival tactic. It’s the oxygen mask principle. You know how before take-off, as part of the flight safety briefing, we’re told something like: “In the event of an emergency, please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” The reason is simple: if we can’t breathe, we’re no help to anyone. Taking care of ourselves is simply a sensible survival act, not a selfish one.
So if guilt is stopping you from putting yourself on your list of priorities, let it go. Start taking real care of you.
Beyond the basics
Self-care basics include eating well, thinking well, moving well and sleeping well. We hope you’re already on top of most of these. But a real self-care effort means taking “me-time” as well, and doing the things that you enjoy doing.
Try this little exercise
List the things you love to do. BT Team favourites include date night, drinks with friends, watching a scary movie, getting cosy with a great book and a cup of tea, travelling, a lazy walk along a beach, a mani/pedi and even a yoga class.
Next to each of your favourite activities, rate the achievement factor – is it:
- Easy – could you slip it into your schedule with little effort, for example, 15 minutes on the couch with a great book.
- Achievable – date night or dinner with favourite friends slips into this category because you need to make small effort to organise.
- Complicated – holidays to exotic destinations drop into this category, because even more planning is required.
Now aim to do an “easy” activity every day, an “achievable” one at least every fortnight and a “complicated” every few months.
If this seems too difficult, add an extra column to your list, and against each of your joys, note what specifically blocks you from doing them. Then logically plan how you can get beyond these barriers. For example, babysitter or partner availability may challenge a dinner with friends, but planning ahead will probably make it easier to achieve.
Why me-time works
Wondering how ‘me-time” can help with weight loss and management… glad you asked: Taking care of you means appreciating and nurturing your body and mind. When you pay attention to you, and how different meals, movements and actions make you feel, you’re more likely to choose nourishing foods that you truly enjoy rather than foods that simply fill a gap. And you’re more likely to be motivated to move because you’re tuned in to the feeling of goodness it gives you.
As Lucille Ball said: “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.”