16 Ways to Carve Out “Me Time” in 2016
I have always loved the New Year. For some reason it feels easier and more freeing to start with a new beginning and a totally clean slate.
I know that I can begin a new goal, get re-focused, search for inspiration, and get myself and home organized at any time, but the New Year provides such a great opportunity to re-evaluate where I’m at. To think about what I want to change – or even to reinstitute some great habits that I had last year before things got so busy with the holidays.
One of the biggest things that I want to do differently this year is to deliberately carve out “me time” for myself. I’m no martyr. I don’t take care of everyone but myself. I don’t run myself ragged trying to do it all for everyone and nothing for me. But, I haven’t always been very intentional or deliberate about how I take care of me.
Rather than haphazardly squeezing in “me time” here are there, I decided that this year I am going to be making a point to develop routines about how, why, and when I do this. The first step was to come up with some ideas for the “how” part of “me time.”
As for the “why,” me time and setting goals for myself isn’t about taking a break from my kids, but about taking care of myself so I can be the best mom I can be for them – and so I can be happy while I’m doing that.
I came up with 16 ways that I want to deliberately carve out “me time” this year. Some of these are simple, and others take more time and effort or a little bit of planning. Either way, I think they’re all a great starting point for me to discover new ideas and feel refreshed for things to come this year.
For the “when” I do these things – a lot of that happens during the specific weekends when the kids are gone at their dad’s, but I’m s-l-o-w-l-y setting my alarm a little earlier each day so I can get in the habit of getting up a little bit earlier. Some of the things on this list, like reading, exercising, or journaling, are habits that I’d like to start doing on a regular basis in the morning during breakfast.
16 Ways to Carve Out “Me Time” in 2016
As part of my New Year thought process, I came up with 16 ways that I want to deliberately carve out “me time” this year. Some of these are simple, and others take more time and effort or a little bit of planning. Either way, I think they’re all a great starting point for me to discover new ideas and feel refreshed for things to come this year.
- Read your favorite magazine. I recently picked up Real Simple® and Sunset® Magazines at Safeway. I haven’t bought a magazine in a while – but it was really relaxing to sit in a chair and flip through these on a quiet morning after the kids went to school. Magazines can be a great source of inspiration. Take advantage of $1.00 off participating titles (PEOPLE®, InStyle®, People StyleWatch®, Real Simple®, and Sunset®) with this digital offer until 2/15/16 while supplies last!
- Plan a girls night. Last year I hosted a couple of cheese tasting parties for a group of girlfriends at my house. That was a ton of fun to do. I also enjoy just going out to dinner with friends, or having a girls night in movie night – we did that recently and watch Pitch Perfect 1 and 2. There was great food and some much needed laughter! As a single parent – and the only adult in my house – the opportunity to connect with another adult for some conversation is priceless!
- Make a point to have down time before bed. Don’t spend the entire evening after the kids are in bed running around doing chores or wasting time on social media. Spend some quality, quiet time to yourself before you head to bed
- Give yourself a home facial, manicure, or pedicure. I love getting a mani/pedi, but I hate spending the money on it. So, I’ve taken to giving myself pedicures every few weeks. I soak my feet in a tub of epsom salt, buff off all the dry skin, moisturize my feet, and polish my toes. My feet feel and look great afterwards!
- Learn how to do something new! This is especially great to do when you’re under a lot of stress. The issue of Real Simple that I picked up had an article all about stress and how to make stress work for you: “stress helps the procedural-learning area of your brain – the part you use to hone skills that require repetitive practice.” says Shawn W. Ell, Ph.D. I guess that’s why I tend to sit down at the piano and pick my way through a new song when I need some “me time.” If you don’t have anything you’re currently working on learning, take some time to think about a new skill or hobby you’d like to start. Aside from getting better at the piano (which was one of my goals from last year that I do feel like I succeeded at, even though I’m still learning), I think it would be fun to learn how to salsa dance.
- Write down your goals. Just because January 1 has already passed us by doesn’t mean you can’t still make a goal. I like to sit down periodically and think about the goals I did make and how I’m doing on them. Maybe I want to refine them. Or maybe some of them are things I can check off the list as accomplished (if they are to-do item goals rather than long-term life change goals). It is always great to take some time to think and assess
- Listen to music. Sometimes I love to just lay on the couch or my bed and listen to my favorite songs. Other times I like to blast music loud in the kitchen and sing and dance while I’m cleaning up dishes or mopping the floor. Its all about finding silly little joys in day to day life.
- Plan your weekly meals. I go back and forth with meal planning. Sometimes I’m really great at following my plan and other times I’m terrible at it, but whether or not I stick to the plan it is nice to sit down and look through some new recipes and think about what I’d like to be eating that week. I usually get inspired to try something new and then feel refreshed for not staying in a cooking rut. I wrote down several recipes that I want to try while perusing Real Simple® and Sunset® – I love that all of them were things that were relatively easy (thus will make my day go pretty smooth), healthy recipes, and different from anything we’ve recently eaten.
- Keep a journal. I don’t keep a daily journal that consists of a recollection of what I did that day – unless it was something really important or otherwise noteworthy – but I do like to keep a journal of thoughts and ideas, inspirational quotes, ideas for my blog, even a checklist of things that I want to accomplish that week. The act of physically writing something down (vs. all the typing I do on the computer) can be really relaxing. Goal journals are great tools for tracking your progress.
- Read a book. Spend some time reading one of those books you’ve been wanting to read. It is great to get lost in another world and step away from the go, go, go and endless to-do’s we often face. Don’t have anything in mind you’d like to read? Head to your local library and browse the shelves. See my book recommendations here.
- Get organized. A couple of weekends ago when the kids were gone I went a little OCD, but in a good way. I got all of the Christmas decorations put away, I organized the pantry, cleaned out the fridge, and most of my kitchen cabinets. Did all the laundry. Cleaned the bathrooms. Sure these are just normal chores and usually not my first pick when I want some downtime to myself, but it made me feel great to get my house in order and have my kitchen organized again after the holidays. It was what I needed then, so I felt great doing it, and it set the stage for a fresh, New Year and an organized, chaos-free week. Less chaos in the end = more time for the rest of the things on this list!
- Take a bath. I think a bath is one of the best forms of relaxation. I love to relax and take a nice, long detox bath once a week – usually when my kids are gone so I’m not disrupted.I fill the tub up with really warm water, not too hot so I don’t get overheated, and add a tablespoon of coconut oil, a cup of Epsom Salts, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and some essential oils. For the essential oils I like lavender and eucalyptus – they’re relaxing and soothing for stiff, sore muscles. (see: How to Take a Detox Bath)
- Exercise. This can be as formal or informal as you want. It can be a family bike ride or a trip to the gym or even just putting on your favorite exercise video before you get started on your day. Exercise always uplifts me and makes me feel more motivated and productive the rest of my day.
- Head to bed early. It can be really nice to go to bed after I get the kids in bed and get an extra hour or two of sleep if that’s what my body is telling me that I need that day. Just because it is only 8:30 or 9:00 doesn’t mean I can’t call it a day!
- Go for a drive. Sometimes I might be driving home from doing errands and realize I don’t actually want to get out of the car yet. Maybe I’m enjoying the scenery or the song on the radio, or enjoying sitting there not really doing anything but thinking. Going for a drive can be really relaxing and there’s plenty of gorgeous scenery here in Colorado.
- Get outside. Usually it is as simple as stepping away from the work for a few minutes in the afternoon and walking to the mailbox to get the mail. Sometimes it is going for a run while the kids ride their bikes, or going on a hike with a friend. During the winter I enjoy skiing. Being outside in the sunshine is one of my favorite ways to spend “me time.” I always come away happier and more inspired.
How do you carve out time to take care of yourself?
What is your favorite “me time” activity?
This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Real Simple® and Sunset® Magazines but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #NewYearMeTime http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV