One thing I’ve noticed after years of working in the caregiving field, is that I’ve stopped being a person anyone wants to be around if I don’t take some time for myself. In my case, “time for myself” means alone time that has nothing to do with my job. For a lot of you, this can mean time that has nothing to do with your job, family and any other responsibilities.
But here’s the thing, despite this alone time being crucial to my happiness, I will cancel this appointment with myself at the drop of a hat! Any number of things can and will come up despite the appointment I made with myself and I will bail on ME. I am vigilant about keeping plans with others. VIGILANT. But I don’t pay myself the same respect.
A couple of things that have helped me keep these “appointments” are picking a specific time and putting it my phone. For whatever reason, I am much more likely to follow through on something if it’s in my phone. It makes it more “official” in my brain. For those of you who have obstacles that are not just yourselves, such as husbands, wives, kids, or co-workers who keep you from this designated time, try a different tactic. Ask them to help you keep this designated time. If they are folks who really are rooting for you, they will appreciate your vulnerability and want you to have this time to yourself too. (If they aren’t rooting for you, stay steadfast with firm boundaries.) Remind them you are a better version of yourself, when this time is respected.
I personally like to take this time to be alone, but perhaps in your case you want a designated period of time to be with old friends, new friends etc. It really doesn’t matter if this time is with or without people because it’s all about what you WANT.
Figure out a time (at least) once a week, that is yours to do whatever you want. I’ve noticed people (specifically families and jobs) will be more respectful of your time if it’s the same day and time every week. They will get in the habit of assuming you will be “off the grid” during that time. You will also get into that habit, so when the weeks feel long, you can know there will be time for you to recharge soon enough.
Remember, the world will NOT fall apart if you take a couple hours for yourself every week. It just won’t.
Make a date. Put it in your calendar. Keep the date.
Take care of YOU.