Sunday, November 6, 2011

Step 7 - Find Time for Yourself

Day 7 of the National Blog Post Month challenge where I’m writing a blog post every day along the theme of 30 Steps to Happiness and Contentment.

This has been one of the toughest lessons for me to learn.  As a busy working mother, it's very difficult to find time for myself as you can see from an earlier post A day in the life of a Mother in France.  It's not only hard to find time but also I always felt incredibly guilty and selfish doing something for myself . There are never enough hours in the day to do everything, so how could I justify wasting precious time on me!  I think this is something that many women struggle with. 

But, earlier this year I came to the realisation that I had to find some time to myself.  I had spent so many years caring for and looking after my family, working for and supporting my husband that I had neglected myself.  We were going through a very difficult period financially and the situation was making me ill.  One of the most worrying symptoms was chest pains and after ruling out a heart problem, it was diagnosed as stress. It was important for me to find some time for myself.  What use was I to my family if I had a nervous breakdown - which is where I was heading.

The real question here was not so much 'Can I afford to find the time for myself' as 'Can I afford not to?'

I started by having Monday's off - it's the quietest day at our Garden Centre where I work full time, as many shops here are closed on a Monday.  Just having time at home alone to catch up on chores was good, but that's not really proper time to myself.  I started trying to spend at least part of the day doing something I enjoyed doing - meeting a friend for lunch, shopping or even just reading a book.  It was great just to give myself a bit a time to do whatever I wanted. I also started writing a book about our experiences as a family living in France - it's something I've been meaning to do for a long time.  

Writing has changed my life.  It's really helped me to look back over the past few years and made me think about what I want and what's important to me.  It's been a distraction and I've found that because I wasn't focusing on the negatives all the time, I started to have a different perspective on things. Now I'm coping with the stress and thankfully things are improving everyday in all aspects of my life.

I know it doesn't make sense, but I've found that finding some time for myself, has actually given me more time.  Why?  Because by taking my mind off my worries, I'm able to come back a fresh and cope with things better.  I actually get more done!

So, don't feel guilty, find time for you and you'll find you'll get things done much quicker (and if you don't manage to get everything done, so what?  That washing will still be there tomorrow!).

Monday has now been renamed Meday  This morning I'm catching up on some household chores, then I'm off to the Spa with a friend for some serious me time.  Do I feel guilty?  No I don't, because I'm worth it and so are you!

You might be interested to read the other posts in this series

Step 30 - The Key to Happiness and Contentment
Step 29 -You are the master of your own destiny
Step 28 - Don't give up on a good relationship
Step 27 - Don't Judge , Live and let live
Step 26 - Don't Worry, by happy
Step 25 - Never give up
Step 24 - Get by with a little help from your friends
Step 23 - Go with the Flow
Step 22 - Enjoy the moment
Step 21 - Love what you do
Step 20 - Forgive and Forget
Step 19 - Unconditional giving
Step 18 - Smile and the world smiles with you
Step 17 - Work to live, don't live to work
Step 16 - Surround yourself with Positive People
Step 15 - Always look on the bright side of life
Step 14 - Where there's a will there's a way
Step 13 - Silence is Golden
Step 12 - Feed your Soul
Step 11 - Follow your Dreams
Step 10 - Use your time wisely
Step 9 - Don't be too hard on yourself
Step 8 - Consider what you value most
Step 7 - Find time for Yourself
Step 6 - Make time for Family and Friends
Step 5 - Don't take yourself too Seriously
Step 4 - Feel the Fear and do it Anyway
Step 3 - Love what you Hate
Step 2 - There's no such word as CAN''T
Step 1 - Find the Best in Every Day


  1. think time for yourself is so important - time to recharge.
    I call it 'stepping off time' letting everything whirl on without me while I step off and do something for me - the best recharge for me is the occasional day out, drop my son off and head off to the shops or for a walk or cafe, just quite time to myself.

  2. Yes Gemma,it is important to find time for yourself and it's something I wish I'd realised years ago.

  3. Hi Nikki - Finding a good balance as a mum or dad is one of the hardest things about parenting - It's a really good idea to section off a particular time of the day or week for a bit of "me time", and what you say about it freeing up time is so true.... there's also the realisation that some of the things that seemed so important just aren't - time out give you perspective.

  4. Course you need time to yourself, I think in many ways women with young children need "me time" even more than most because young children are so relentless about taking up both your time and emotional energy. When my eldest daughter was one she used to go to a child minder for one day a week just so I could have a breather. People used to say to me, 'I expect you use the time to catch up on the housework.' Did I? Like hell! I'd go to the library, take out a stack of books, get my hair cut, anything... Result one messy house but a sane me.

  5. I couldn't agree more with this. My 'me time' is singing with a choir once a week. I find that having my own evening off makes me a happier saner mum for the rest of the week.

    I know that for sure, because when it stops for a few weeks over the holidays, I go loopy.

    I also think its good for the children to see that I am a human being too, not just mum. Helps for them not to take me for granted.

  6. Your right Fiona - time out does give you perspective on what's important and what's not, that's why holidays are so vital too.

    That's so true Victoria - why do people expect us to use all our spare time to do housework? It's more important to do something to recharge our batteries so we can carry on!

    Hi motivatingmum, that's a good point, it does help our children to see us doing different things. I'm starting choir practice this week for the carol concert I organise at xmas, so can relate to that too :)