Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Importance of Taking Time for You


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Are you over-scheduled, overworked, overloaded and under appreciated? If you're a woman living in the modern world then chances are, you answered yes to all of the above. These days, mothers lead lifestyles where they are almost always traveling at warp speed from one thing to the next. The hectic, demanding way of life can take quite a toll on your physical, emotional and mental well being if you aren't taking adequate care of yourself.  If you go constantly at an unrelenting pace, juggling never ending demands and a full schedule without taking some "me" time, you will more than likely eventually become resentful, unhappy, irritable and burned out altogether.
It really is possible to take care of your family without neglecting your own well being. Not only is it possible but it is necessary if you want to stay healthy and happy. I had to learn this the hard way. I have always had poor time management skills. I was not great at prioritizing in high school or college and I nearly lost a job or two due to tardiness. In my late twenties though, I became the mother of a gorgeous baby girl - instantly my priorities were crystal clear. She came first at all times - I was a stay at home in a two parent household and while things were far from perfect, I had a system in place that worked for the most part, enabling me to take care of my daughter and our household. Then things went from not perfect to unbearable and I suddenly became a single mother. Soon after that, I was not only a single mother but I was also a live in caretaker for my father who has dementia and many other serious health problems. My daughter is still my main priority but all time management skills I'd acquired were gone. I was in a state of constant worry, stress, fear, anxiety and, quite honestly, anger. There was no time for a personal life and I was living in a constant state of emergency. I had left a traumatic relationship that was extremely unhealthy but the situation I had been thrust into was so stressful and frustrating that I began to doubt my decision to leave the lifestyle that was stable in comparison.
I began to live in what felt like a constant state of emergency. If I tried to relax or do something for myself, I felt a constant, nagging need to be doing something productive like clean the kitchen or scrub the toilet.
I completely gave up on my health, appearance and myself altogether. I felt exhausted, sad and unhealthy in general. I realized that if I didn't start taking care of myself then I wouldn't be able to take care of anyone. I realized that I needed to prioritize and simplify immediately. I still have a long way to go but there are a few things that I would like to share with you. These are a few methods I've employed to save time and energy. I hope that you will find some of the useful.

Don't Overschedule. This is self explanatory. Know your limits and your child's limits. If you are already overscheduled, determine which activities are the most important then cut out the others.

Consolidate your trips. I live in a rural area that is 35 minutes from the nearest grocery store and post office. I have learned to consolidate my errands into one trip when possible. If I need to go to the post office, I grab the grocery list and make a trip by the store while I am out. I try to do as many things as possible all in one trip which saves me hours each week.

Keep a running grocery list on your refrigerator or message board. Update it as necessary. Stick to the list when you go shopping and you'll save both time and money. Shop early in the day when it's least crowded if possible.

Simplify and De-clutter. I am still working on this one but it is probably the most important for me. Clutter is a huge waste of time and energy. Each week, I get a large garbage bag and add at least one item to it each day. Then at the end of the month, I donate the bags to the local thrift store.

Organize. Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. Put your keys in the same designated spot. Keep your(and your children's) beauty items like hairbrushes, leave in conditioner, barrettes in a designated spot. This will save you so much time if you are anything like me. I am incredibly forgetful and I spent at least an hour each week looking for items like keys and a hairbrush!

Prepare. Get everything ready the night before. Lay out clothes, shoes, underwear, books, bags, sports equipment - even the ingredients for breakfast that don't require refrigeration. For example if I am cooking pancakes, I get out the mixing bowl, spoon, ingredients, griddle and whatever else I will need and it's all ready to go in the morning.

Clean. You can save hours on cleaning time if you clean as you go. If you spill something, stop right then to wipe it up. If you wait a few days, it might take 10 times longer to clean than it would have if you'd have cleaned it right away.

What are some ways that you save time? Do you take time for yourself every day?

Remember, visit to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.