As “new adults,” we have a lot of commitments, which is why the importance of taking time for yourself is something we all need to remember.
We have commitments to family, our jobs, our friends, our church, other community organizations, and/or to school. Some of these things may be brand-new to us, while other commitments are simply changing how they fit into our lives.
Either way, during this time where we are transitioning into adulthood, our commitments are changing, and so practicing self care and making time for yourself is of utmost importance.
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Learning the Importance of Taking Time for Yourself
The importance of taking time for yourself is a lesson I’ve learned in college and again starting my adult life. Even if our various commitments are well managed, it only takes a little bit of neglect of our self-care, and things are suddenly overwhelming again.
Thankfully, no matter what stage of life I’m in, self-care has come to the rescue time and time again.
By taking time for yourself, you can avoid burn-out and extra stress and gain a calmness and composure that will serve you well when tackling adult life.
But it’s something that you must learn to appreciate. So here are some of my lessons learned from when I had no time for myself…
FOMO is Not an Excuse for Not Taking Time for Yourself
Are you good at saying no? If so, teach me your ways, because I certainly am not. For me, it’s especially hard to say no when I feel like someone else is counting on me or I have a classic case of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
My freshman year of college, FOMO pretty much ruled my world. Nights staying up to 4 am were a regular occurrence. I attended a lot of events that when I look back on, I wish I could get those hours back.
When I was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, our mentors told us at orientation:
“You should always say ‘yes’ when you’re abroad. Even if you don’t understand the question being asked or what the event will be like, always accept the invitation.”
While I understand the sentiment—don’t be afraid to try new things—I think how the advice was stated placed an undue burden on me as a young professional straight out of college in a new country, ready to start teaching English. The mentors at orientation instilled in me a fear that if I didn’t say yes, I would miss out on something.
After getting rid of FOMO my freshman year of college, I had it again going into my year working abroad.
Consequences of Not Taking Time for Yourself
All of the normal stressors of transitioning from a college, academic career to the workforce were amplified while I was living and working abroad in Andorra. I wanted to take advantage of every minute of this experience, so I often sacrificed self care for another commitment or activity.
Instead of making time for myself, I expended all of my energy on new adventures.
About two months into my teaching grant, I felt the effects of my choices and not in a good way. I was waking up each morning feeling tired, even though I slept for plenty of time. My interactions with others were draining mentally. Even physically, I felt like I couldn’t give it my all at the gym.
With so much on my plate, I started mixing up dates, forgetting names, neglecting assignments and having to play a lot of catch-up.
Why Taking Time for Yourself is Better than the Alternatives
It was sad to see that I’d exhausted my mental capacity to interact with my friends, host family, co-teachers, and students. In every area of my life, I was adapting to a lot of change at once, and by month three, I realized that I had not processed much of anything. For that reason, I wasn’t actually adjusting well to any of the new or unexpected things in this new phase of life.
So FOMO didn’t work for me in college and saying “yes” to everything had left me mentally exhausted. So where did that lead me? Back to the importance of taking time for yourself.
Taking time for yourself is important for keeping your cool and enables you to be able to interact with friends, family, and coworkers, help others, and give your best to your commitments.
What does taking time for yourself really mean?
By taking time for yourself, you’re allowing your body physical rest and giving your mind time to process whatever is going on in your life. In times of transition, this is especially important because there is so much going on at once. In terms of adulting, it’s important just because adulting is hard!
Without some time set aside to process all of the changes, it’s difficult to know how you feel about the change or how you’re handling the transitions.
Trust me, you want to give yourself a break from all of the craziness before it drives you crazy.
Taking Time for Yourself As Self Care
For me, the best self care definition is very simple: taking good care of yourself. The challenge is that taking good care of yourself spans multiple dimensions: emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
In this post, I refer to taking time for yourself as being instrumental to emotional and mental self-care, but it can certainly help the other areas, too! I focus on those two areas because they have been the most difficult for me as I learn how to handle adulting.
I’ve learned that while pushing yourself and challenging yourself is important, knowing your limits and welcoming times of rest and rejuvenation are just as vital.
Why is it important to make time for yourself?
As I mentioned in my post about maintaining work-life balance, we are limited beings—we have limited energy, time, and resources. If you’re anything like me, you also have a lot that you want to accomplish and a lot of commitments.
It may be tempting to not make time for yourself, so that you can fit in one more thing. But the truth is, that taking time for yourself is necessary to ensure that you can follow through on your commitments and do them well.
So, is it okay to take time for yourself?
My answer is simple. 100% yes!
It is most definitely okay to take time for yourself. If you’re feeling guilty or unsure for making time for yourself, remember that God rested on the seventh day and commands us to rest. (Genesis 2:3 and Exodus 20:8-11).
We should never feel ashamed for taking care of ourselves, even if it means having to turn down another “adventure.” Accept rest for yourself.
Don’t buy into the lie that you’re doing it wrong if you swap out a commitment for taking time for yourself.
How to Make Time for Yourself
If you’ve finally hopped aboard the ship for the importance of taking time for yourself, you may be wondering now, how to make time for yourself. Great question!
A goal without a plan is just a wish, right?By Unknown
Well, here’s the how for making time for yourself.
Related: Personal Goals Every Woman in their 20s Needs, including Self Care!
1. Schedule Taking Time for Yourself
How do you find time for self care? Schedule it!
Scheduling time for self care is the first step in taking time for yourself. In every month, try to set aside at least an evening on the weekend dedicated to “Me time.”
Pencil it into your calendar or block the time off on your phone calendar. When other people ask you to do things during that time, don’t relent!
I’ve found the most success by choosing a whole weekend as self-declared “quality time with myself” and “self care.” As that weekend approaches, I still accept invitations to do things with friends, but make myself leave at least one evening free. That way, it’s easy to see which evening I don’t have plans and schedule quality time with myself then.
2. Prioritize Taking Time for Yourself
Making time for yourself is not something that you do after you’ve completed all of your adulting checklists. It’s not the last thing on your list after making grocery lists, going shopping, managing finances, cleaning the bathroom, cooking dinner…etc.
All of these things are important, of course, but self care is something that you do alongside those things. In other words, you don’t have to have your checklist checked off in order to dedicate an hour to spending quality time with yourself.
In the world of adulting, there will always be something else that you could be doing. Something else will always try to fill up your free time.
But more importantly, that something will always be there after you finish taking time for yourself.
So prioritize taking time for yourself, too. It’s okay if there are some other grown up things that are left “not done” in the meantime. I promise they will still be there when you get back. 🙂
3. Self Care Night Ideas to Try
Planning a fun activity is always a great way to motivate yourself to make time for yourself! Here are some self care night ideas and other things to do by yourself during your scheduled, prioritized quality time with yourself:
- Self Care Activities:
- Paint your nails and/or do a face mask while watching your favorite chick-flick
- Bake your favorite dessert, sugary breakfast food (waffles with whipped cream anyone), or other favorite treat
- Cook your favorite meal or order in from your favorite restaurant
- Make a dance playlist and dance around your room to the songs
- Do some yoga and/or stretching or go for a nice, relaxed walk
- Write in your journal or diary about anything and everything (This post of 35 thoughtful reflection questions and journal prompts will get you started!)
- Spend time in prayer and/or reading your Bible
- Lay on the floor (or your bed) and take a nap (or two)
- What’s your favorite hobby? Spend time doing those activities, like:
- Writing Music
- Playing Guitar
- Reading a book
Spending Time with Yourself, Taking Time for Yourself
As you spend time with yourself, take time to process everything in your life that feels new or may be changing. Think about your goals, your relationships, your work, your faith, and anything else that comes to mind. Process. Wonder. Breathe.
And above all, know that your heavenly father is with you, watching over you, and strengthening you.
“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.”Psalm 46:1 (NIV)
What are some other examples of self care? What self care activities do you do when spending quality time with yourself?
Leave me a comment below!
More posts from the Living & Adulting Categories:
- 35 Thoughtful Reflection Questions and Journal Prompts
- Personal Goals Every Woman in Her 20s Should Consider
- How to Handle Adulting with Flair and Faith
- Truths About Adulting Life — Because Adulting is Hard
Featured Images: Burcu Koleli from Pexels, created with Canva (1); Plush Design Studio from Pexels, created with Canva (2).
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