5 Ways to Carve Out Some Down Time

OregonBeach

Last week we took a mini-vacation to the Oregon Coast. You would not believe how hard it was to carve out five days for my family of two busy teenagers and two busy business-owner adults. But we did it! It was gorgeous there and I can’t tell you how relaxing it was to walk on the beach, play cards and read books all day. We laughed a lot and connected with each other. We have returned refreshed after just a few days away.

Also known as self-care, the importance of down time was a lesson I learned in my cancer journey and one I wrote about in my book, WTF?! I Have Cancer? Being a type A, over-achiever, who gained her self-worth from her level of productivity, I have been challenged by putting myself first and making my self-care a priority. Aside from eating healthfully which I had down, I have tended to squeeze in taking care of the other aspects of the health of my body and mind in the leftover bits of time after everyone and everything else was taken care of. Sound familiar?

This is epidemic in the United States. We often work 60+ hours a week and don’t use our vacation time (if we even have it). But taking time off has been shown to be vitally important for staying healthy. If we push our bodies to the limit, they have a tendency to force us to rest by getting sick.

My illness was extreme but other people might get the flu or whatever latest bug is going around. The important point is that chronic stress taxes your immune system and you need your immune system strong!

So how to break away from the grind and get some me-time? It’s a matter of a few different factors. Here are 5 ways to make it happen:

  1. Make requests. I know you take care of your kids best and no one cleans or folds the laundry as well as you do. But if you’re trying to carve out an hour or two these household tasks are good places to look. Ask your spouse or partner (if you have one) for help. If no spouse, ask for help from friends and family. No more martyrs!
  2. Plan it. Book the girls/guys getaway, the movie date, the yoga class. One thing that I noticed was that my husband was great at planning his self-care. He informed me of when he would be off wind-surfing/hunting/mountain biking. It was expected that I would accommodate it. I usually didn’t have a problem with that, I wanted him to have down time. I just didn’t feel as comfortable scheduling mine.
  3. Own how hard you work. Sometimes, women in particular downplay the insane juggle that is working motherhood. I was juggling at least eight different roles and was exhausted most of the time. You work hard and DESERVE A BREAK!
  4. Make a date with yourself. One good friend asked me, when I was sharing that I blow off self-care for other more important events, would you blow off a date with your best friend? I needed to make friends with myself.
  5. Get that it’s important. Our bodies go through herculean efforts to keep all systems go when we are often abusing them on a daily basis. How many of you feed your body the fuel it truly needs? How many of you don’t get enough sleep? This is a recipe for disaster and I hope it doesn’t turn out for you as it did for me.

Let me know which of these tips you’re going to take on and how you’re going to accommodate more me-time into your day in the comments below!

In good health,

Laren_sig

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