The school year and soccer has begun. While it is still very warm outside, the lazy days of summer is gone. If your family is like mine, you are likely adjusting to the new schedule of drop-off lines, homework and sports practice — and if your kids haven't started school yet, they will be soon.
For many women, fall can be an especially challenging season to make time for themselves. I know I have had to be especially intentional lately to ensure that I am not becoming overbooked and overwhelmed.
If you find yourself getting too busy to practice self-care, here are a few tips to finding fringe hours for you:
- Track your time: This next week, download a free time tracker and track how you spend your time. Write down everything – the school pick-up line, laundry, work meetings. Then at the end of the week, carefully evaluate where your time was spent. What could you do differently? Where could you make time for you?
- Say no: Do not feel guilty about saying no – as often as necessary to protect your time. In my research for The Fringe Hours, I found that 37% of women were out 3 or more nights a week. For many of those women, at least one of those commitments could have been eliminated, giving them more space to practice self-care.
- Use times of waiting: This is a big one. On average, Americans wait 45-60 minutes a day. All too often, that time is wasted scrolling through social media or doing nothing at all. Leverage that time for you. Read a book on a kindle app. Write a thank you card. Knit a scarf. Do something that you love during that time.
- Ask for help: Consider an area that you could get help in, which would in turn free you up to pursue a passion project. Maybe it would be a good use of resources to have someone come in and clean twice a month. Or maybe you and your spouse can split chores differently. People are usually willing to help – you just have to ask.
- Remember you are worth it: Moms are really good at pushing their own needs aside to take care of everyone and everything else in their lives. This servant spirit is a gift to their families and friends. That said, you cannot indefinitely leave yourself out of the equation. Doing so will eventually cause you to run on empty and negatively impact you and others in your life. Take care of yourself. You are worth it.
As a mother, I want my children to remember that their mom was healthy, happy and gifted. It is important for them to see me taking care of myself. And it is important for your kids to see you doing the same.
For more on the importance of self-care, read my book The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You.