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You've survived the calamity of the holiday season buying gifts for others, gatherings with family and friends, and now you're probably feeling burned out and low on energy. Now that the holidays are behind us and the 2020 New Year is a week underway, it's time to give yourself a bit of me-time.
Most likely, you are returning to your regular daily routines. Going back to work after the holidays means that you are once again faced with deadlines and long workdays, and if you have a family, then you're consumed with making sure that they're all good. But when do you have time yourself? As a father of an active three ½-year-old boy and a six-month-old baby boy that thinks sleeping is overrated, coupled with my fun, but busy job, I find little time for myself, and less time for my sweet wife, unless it's to take out the trash. If your routine is anything like this, finding a moment to yourself while juggling your work-life balance can be mind-boggling and seemingly impossible.
If one more person says, "New Year, New Me," I will go deaf, but hey, go with what works. If you're generally into making New Year's Resolutions, then perhaps avoid making resolutions that will quickly become tedious to live up to, leaving you with the feeling that you can't complete what you set out to do. This year, I decided not to make any resolutions and try my luck with random inspirations to make any extreme changes in my life.
Getting in shape is usually part of the New Year's Resolution starter package, which seems to work until it doesn't. Everyone wants to look their best. At this point, I'm going for the classic dad's body because I'm too tired at the end of my day to hit the gym. Anyway, you should make 2020 about feeling good on the inside, and no, this isn't going to be another self-help blog while I'm confident that you've heard some pop-psych person telling you to get in touch with your inner self. The takeaway from self-help advice is that allowing yourself some personal time means that you are prioritizing yourself for a moment, and that's something you should do guilt-free, especially if your spirits need a little revitalization.
Unless you are incarcerated, planning your escape shouldn't be that difficult, especially if you schedule it. In this beautiful digital age in which we live where everyone is facepalming their mobile device, there are some great tools to keep you on a scheduled chill-at least until you get the hang of it. Before you make haste to download an organizer app, try what you already have on your mobile device, like your to-do list, or your calendar. My wife and I have synced our calendars on our mobile devices. A notification comes in, and if there is a scheduling conflict, or she doesn't approve of an outing with friends, it can all be coordinated there - apologies to my wife. By scheduling moments out of your day to treat yourself, you can create a positive routine around your self-care.
More often than not, if I make a 'to-do' list, I will complete it. It gives me the structure I need to not drift off into space, wandering through my mind, maybe they can work for you. I have compiled a list of things you can do during your me-time that are sure to help you clear your mind or help you to relax:
A good night's sleep
In my household, sleep is hard to come by, as I am sure that my boys are conspiring against my wife and I, to keep us awake, so when I am not getting enough sleep, I have to set my alarm to make sure that I go to bed earlier than I usually would. We all know the benefits of creating good sleep patterns, so no need to sleep on it.
Take yourself on a date
Never mind people staring at you because you go to the movies, theatre, or a concert alone. Enjoy that you don't have to share your popcorn or explain plot twists.
Taking a brisk, 30-minute walk is considered exercise and a great way to clear your mind, so if you can't make it to your local fitness center, count those steps!
Keep a journal
Keeping a journal doesn't mean that you have to write your dirty secrets into it. How about keeping a record of significant events in your life - a memoir you say? I have begun writing about my children's significant moments so that they can read about them when I am too old to remember them.
Start a hobby
If you don't have one already, now's a good time to try your hand with painting a canvas, or building something from scratch.
Read a book
This one is self-explanatory. Find a subject that you like reading about and read.
Relax and breathe
Sometimes after a long day when my little ones and wife are finally asleep, I turn off the television and my phone and sit on the sofa to relax and concentrate on breathing. Within this time, I reflect upon my day or empty my thoughts. Either way, I am even if only for a moment, free from any obligations that I may have to anyone else.
Laughter is healing. There is so much on the internet from memes to funny clips that you can laugh about.
You don't have to spend loads on some fancy spa treatment. Pampering yourself could be taking a long hot shower or spending a little longer time grooming yourself than you have during the workweek.
You don't have to 'leave the country' to go traveling. You could take a drive a few hours away to a neighboring city, or take a train and leave the driving to someone else.
Don't stress if your me-time is random. Remain open-minded for those unexpected moments that can mean the difference between you stressing out and being in your mind to take on more challenges in your day. The most important thing to remember is that your me-time is precisely that and should be a time when you focus on rejuvenating yourself for the year ahead. Treat yourself.
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