5 Ways to Start Carving Time for Yourself

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You can't give and give endlessly without refilling your own tank. Indeed, without "me" time, a caregiver risks burning out and not be able to give anything. But with all that's on your plate, how can you find 30 or 15 or even 10 minutes just to yourself?

The secret to making time for yourself, life coaches say, is to make yourself a priority. That's the critical first step if it's to happen at all. If you don't think that your needs -- that you -- are important, you can hardly expect anyone else to hand over sacred time to you on a silver platter.

These practical steps will help you wedge a little breathing room into your day:

1. Start by scheduling personal time into your planner, just the way you ink in doctors' appointments and everyone else's needs. This may feel selfish or silly, but it's a critical step.

2. Pick a time early in the day to start -- then you're more likely to stick to it. If you put off making yourself a priority until later in the day, you raise the risk that other events will seem more pressing or crises will take away your time. If you plan to exercise, put workout clothes on the minute you get out of bed. If you want to read, try keeping your reading material on your nightstand and reading a chapter before you get out of bed and greet the rest of the household.

3. Spend your break time indulging yourself: a walk, time for a craft (scrapbooking, painting), a well-made cup of tea, prayer. You may be tempted to spend the time running errands, but that's not renewing in the same way. You don't have to spend a lot of time, but it has to be for yourself.

4. Make it the same time every day. Behavior researchers say it can take three weeks to establish a habit. Carving out the same time each day will reinforce this.

5. Tune out others. Unplug electronics, ignore the phone. No one will fall apart for that brief a period. (And if they might, turn on the TV or arrange someone to relieve you during your "me time.")


about 3 years ago, said...

You've got to be kidding! I am caring for my husband 24/7.....he has been diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. I never know just how he will behave - very much a roller coaster ride. Sometime he is fairly functional mentally - then sometime he is totally lost - wandering, moving small objects around, turning on all of the lights (esp. annoying at 2 am). I do take advantage of the moments he sleeps, however , scheduling "me time" at the same time every day----that is pretty much impossible.


over 4 years ago, said...

just to reinforce the way I take care of my mother... I am lucky that I have a apartment in the basement of her home, were i can get away when I need... plus my sister comes over Tuesday afternoon, plus all day Thursday ......


over 4 years ago, said...

Absolutely true! One can only give a good care to the recipient if the caregiver is well rested and has time for herself.


over 4 years ago, said...

Excellent suggestion... making it a habit.


over 4 years ago, said...

Me time is the best time. I try to give myself at least 1 hour every day. I catch up on my emails, read the paper & turn on the TV to catch news or whatever is on. Since my husband could sleep for 12 to 14 hours, I have time every morning before I wake him up & try to get him to eat & take his pills before it's noontime. I'm not sure my husband really sleeps that long since we have separate bedrooms, but I know he doesn't get up except to go to the bathroom & he goes right back to bed & I can hear him snoring within 5 to 10 minutes. (It may take me an hour go to back to sleep) but at least I am happy that he doesn't wander or do stupid stuff during the night. That time every morning that is just for me is the best time of my day.


over 4 years ago, said...

I wish; I had this knowledge when, I was caring for my dear mother. I lost my hair from stress ;it came all the way out, till my entire top/cap of head was bald. I cried, and cried but no one would help me. After my mother passed I moved out of state and it begin to grow back and today a lot grew back and I am thankful. I still have some bald spots directly on top. But my hair grew back; but not noticeable as before. Yes, I have siblings but they would not help. My son and daughter help me so much as they where soo young back then 17/18 but they helped me; and I am thankful till this day how much time these young people gave to her and to me... I have devoted my time in trying to find caregivers in my area 30013 to give them a break and watch there love ones. I will keep seniors in my home (4) is the limit- so I and emergencies so I can devote the proper time to a senior to hang out with me for a day or week, 6am-730pm daily . [email removed] for more information. When I get more seniors I will move them from my home to a small facility. thanks so much , much love to the caregivers who just need a break!!!!