Do you ever feel like you are a perpetual caregiver? Like you’re constantly trying to meet the needs of others, and your own needs are left behind in the dust?

In the workplace, we spend our time focused on everyone else – our clients, our bosses, our employees. At home we take care of our children and check in with our significant other, and we make sure that household tasks are complete and daily routines are running smoothly. Some of us may also find ourselves needing to spend more time assisting our aging parents with tasks like running errands, going grocery shopping, or going to and from doctor’s appointments. More and more people are also taking on the role of being a personal caregiver for a family member or spouse which can be a 24/7 responsibility.

No wonder you feel tired and drained at the end of the day! And although you know that you need it, every day you’re thinking – is there any “ME” time left? If you don’t want to end up crabby, resentful, burned-out and miserable, then it’s time to make that “ME” time MANDATORY! (No matter how impossible it seems!)

Start by giving yourself the care and attention you give to others. Show yourself some LOVE! Spend some time thinking about what you enjoy.  What activities do you really miss doing since you became so busy and focused on meeting the needs of others? What do you like to do for fun? Sometimes we actually become so disconnected from our own wants and needs that we forget about the little things that bring pleasure and joy to our own lives. 

So, how can we make things better and give ourselves some love this Valentine’s Day?

How about making a list of “ME” time activities you LOVE and schedule them in! Spend a little time each day just for you – 10 to 30 minutes a day is all it takes. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Rest – Lie down. Take a break. Have a nap. This will give you a chance to re-charge your batteries and will leave you feeling refreshed so you can take on the next phase of your day. Get off the hamster wheel for a while and rest.

 

  1. Move your body – This might be a bit contradictory since it was just suggested that you rest, but moving your body is a great way to relieve stress and maintain health, and is a perfect “ME” time activity. HOW you choose to move your body is up to you – there are plenty of ways! Go for a walk, do a few of your favourite Yoga poses to stretch your muscles, or put on some music and dance – anything goes!

 

  1. Get together with friends – When was the last time you got together with a friend for coffee or a few drinks? “ME” time doesn’t necessarily mean time alone.  Talking out your feelings and frustrations with a good friend, or just sharing a laugh helps us feel connected and gives us a little lift!
     
  2. Spend time outside – Getting outside to enjoy the crisp morning air or the warm sunshine is a wonderful way to slow down the pace and catch some “ME” time. Stop and listen to the sound of the leaves rustling in a breeze, or the birds singing in the trees. Taking a short break to re-connect with nature is good for the soul.

 

  1. Read a good book – Curling up with a good book is a great way to escape and give yourself some “ME” time. Reading can also be a vehicle for new learning as well. The bottom line is to enjoy whatever it is you are reading because you are doing it for pleasure, not because you MUST!

 

  1. Sit in silence, meditate or pray – Do you ever feel like you have a million thoughts racing through your head all the time? Sometimes taking a mental break is just as necessary as a physical break. There are many great resources and tools available on the Internet to help you get started with simple guided meditation or relaxation techniques. Taking the time to re-connect with our spiritual side is a wonderful “ME” time activity.

 

  1. Do what you LOVE – The options are endless! Take a hot bath, light some candles, enjoy a nice glass of wine, watch a movie or TV show on Netflix, do some window shopping, keep a gratitude journal, do a craft or hobby, do a puzzle, or play your favourite music and SING! The choice is yours!

 

As you can see, making “ME” time mandatory is about re-connecting with yourself and rewarding yourself for all amazing things you do for the people around you. So, show yourself some love and schedule in some “ME” time!