Do you give of your time to everyone else, leaving only scraps of minutes for yourself?
Becoming a parent has shown me the preciousness of time for myself, and the importance of being deliberate in carving out that time on a daily basis.
This importance was amplified on a recent trip back home to Singapore, where for two months I was either in some kind of gathering, engaged in the company of another person, taking care of Little Hurry, or a combination of these.
I had expected that this would be the nature of such a trip, and as much as I enjoyed spending time with loved ones and amazing people, I was missing spending time with me.
I missed sitting in meditation, in silence.
I missed writing.
I missed being in nature breathing crisp fresh air, without the sound of traffic and only the songs of birds.
I missed the freedom and relaxation of mind, where I know that I don’t need to be somewhere else or doing something else for someone else at that moment.
I missed connecting and listening to myself.
I thought about the people who are parents to multiple kids, or leaders and managers who have dozens or hundreds of others counting on them. How do they find that time for themselves!
As your life circumstances change, it is an ongoing review to balance and reallocate resources to the difference slices of your life, isn’t it?
Here are some practices for you to explore.
1. Wake up earlier.
Take the mornings to nourish yourself first before everyone else gets to you. Use this time to do what revitalizes you. For me, that would be a yoga stretch and meditation.
2. Do each task with attention and mindfulness.
As you walk, walk. As you eat, eat. On days when I have barely any me-time, adopting such a meditative approach towards the daily tasks enables me to feel more connected and present with myself.
3. Put yourself on your calendar.
If you are just as important, if not more important, than any other person in your life, don’t you deserve a committed appointment too?
Mr Hurry and I established the idea of a DND-time (do not disturb) for me, where we both know that during this time, Little Hurry is fully in his charge even if I am at home.
4. Put away your digital gadgets.
One day when I was taking the metro in Singapore, I looked around me and to my horror/amusement, every single person in that cabin was on their phone or tablet. I will not even talk about those who walk into you on the streets because they were too busy looking into their palms.
Ironically, being on a digital gadget frequently makes one feel more disconnected from the self, even if you have been alone.
What would happen if you ignore that device for a half-hour? Unless you are on standby as a medical professional, I think that is something you or the person on the other side can live with.
5. Step out of your house or workplace.
Can’t get personal space in your office or home? Step out for a walk, whether to get the brain juices flowing, to get the heart pumping, or just to admire the landscape.
6. Beware of people-pleasing.
It is in our nature to want to be liked and we tend to say ‘yes’ to others too easily, then begrudge the consequences later on.
I have learnt that when we try too hard to please others, we end up pleasing no one and most definitely not ourselves.
7. Stop saying you are busy.
Do you get tired of people telling you just how busy they are? Have you noticed how some people almost say that with pride, as if it is a badge of honour?
In today’s world, almost everyone is busy by default, therefore it is no longer anything different or special to proclaim, and definitely not a reason for not having time for yourself. It’s not busy-ness, it’s life.
If Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey are not too busy to find time to meditate daily, I am sure we can do better.
Change your perspective. When you do so, you will begin to find a way to deal with your busy-ness and take care of yourself.
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