How do I carve out some 'Me-Time' in my busy schedule?

[tm_pb_section admin_label="section"][tm_pb_row admin_label="row"][tm_pb_column type="4_4"][tm_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/tm_pb_image][tm_pb_text admin_label="Text" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]   Are you struggling to find time for yourself, to do what you enjoy? You're feeling overwhelmed and like you're beholden to your calendar appointments and schedule. It's got to a point where you now feel exhausted, frustrated and depleted because everyone else seems to be getting the best of you but you're left with nothing for yourself. Or maybe you feel guilty about taking some time out and not spending it with the kids. Well remember, that having 'me time' isn't you being selfish; it's about making your 'self-full'. So, before you run yourself into the ground, here are some quick things you can do to carve out some 'me time'.  

Step 1: Schedule 'Me-Time'!

The same way you entered all of those outside commitments into your calendar, is the same way you need to make time for yourself and your inner needs. Most women want to feel happier, more fulfilled, relaxed and focused because they know they’re much more pleasant women, wives, friends, colleagues and mothers, when they are meeting their own needs first. When your own cup is filled, you are happy to share some of the overflow with others. When it's not filled with self-love, attention and nurturing, you'll resent those people and activities which want to drink from your cup, because you already feel limited in what you can give. Remember, what you value, gets done. So if you value yourself, then enjoy your own company and schedule some 'me time'.  

Step 2: Clarify what it is you want to feel and how you’ll benefit from it.

Saying you want ‘me-time' sometimes isn’t enough. I've seen women get some time to themselves and then have absolutely no idea what to do with it and they end up spending 2 hours going down a social media wormhole and not feeling restored, nourished, loved or content, at the end of it. It's important to clarify what you need from today's or this week's me time, so you can choose an activity which is appropriate to fulfilling that need. For eg, if you feel like you want to escape from the every day doldrums, routine and monotony and you want to feel some excitement and variety because it'll give you some inspiration and get up and go again, you might go and see a movie for a bit of escapism or try a brand new class, which is different to your routine. Or if you feel like you need to relax, you might plan a luxurious bath, with music and candles or book in a massage, so that your body can unwind, rest and restore itself and you once again feel grounded and whole. This would be very different 'me time' to someone who wants to jump start their body after a week of lazing around and they want to regain their zest for life and their energy, so they can be more driven and productive, and they decide to go for a scenic run, a challenging hike or join a salsa class. Clarify the emotional state you want to feel and then choose an activity appropriate to creating that state. Do you want the time to play a team sport every week, go to the gym, read a book in a quiet space, socialise and have coffee with friends? Write down what you want to have more of and why you want it or need it. My focus this year is to be more grounded at home and spend time enjoying my home and garden with family and friends. This decision came about after a year of ongoing travel, neglecting the house, not enjoying time in our space and not seeing friends as much, because we were on the road most weekends. We've now scheduled in social visits, play dates, gardening days, reno days and time to just chill out and relax in our home. We're all the better for it.  

Step 3: Get Support

If you have the support and encouragement of your family, organising 'me time' becomes 10x easier. I know I’ve got the support of my family, which I need, in order to juggle tasks, duties, work, kids etc. Hubby and I have set nights for our own hobbies and interests, whilst the other is home with the kids. When we plan dates, the grandparents, aunt and friends are on call. The reality is that you may need some help and support to go and do what you want to do, so ask for it. You're not being selfish or imposing or annoying, in doing this for yourself. In fact, if you constantly see it as being selfish, are you stuck in a 'victim' mindset? Are you enabling the situation by creating a 'woe is me' scenario, 'no-one will help me' belief, which allows you to become a bit of a Mama Martyr? This is 'victim' based thinking and you will struggle to create any change in your life from this level of thinking. Families weren't meant to be raised in isolation of everyone else around them, so use your village for support. You know that creating moments and a space where you can fulfil your own needs and do other things outside of the family, that make you happy, will result in a much happier and calmer mum and more settled, fulfilled and content family, home and work environment. Your energy flows on to others.   Remember, things won’t change unless you do! Value your own needs and make time to meet them accordingly. Ask for help, voice what you desire and why you need it. There are countless benefits to you and your family, in you making time for your own interests and pursuits. The more you say yes to what you need and show yourself respect and value your time, the more others will respect the boundaries you are creating and will respect your needs too. Sometimes all it takes is to start small and create one change. This week think about how you can make ‘me time' a priority and do something just for you, that will bring a smile to your face.  

Alex Ridley


PS: Do you need to carve out some 'me-time' for self-reflection and to rediscover the amazing woman within (Remember her? The lady who has been in hibernation since you had kids?) Then get my FREE guide here, which will walk you through the self-discovery process. [/tm_pb_text][/tm_pb_column][/tm_pb_row][/tm_pb_section][tm_pb_section admin_label="Section" fullwidth="off" specialty="off"][tm_pb_row admin_label="Row"][/tm_pb_row][/tm_pb_section]

Can't focus? Overwhelmed? Have you got Scrambled Brain Effect?

[tm_pb_section admin_label="section"][tm_pb_row admin_label="row"][tm_pb_column type="4_4"][tm_pb_image admin_label="Scrambled Brain Header" src="" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="on" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/tm_pb_image][tm_pb_text admin_label="Text" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]   You’re juggling everything and you can’t stop for a second because you're trying to pay attention to work, kids, chores, your health, appointments, relationships, study, finances….and everything else…is constantly swirling through your brain. Until one day, you collapse in exhaustion. Or maybe you pick a fight. Do you break down in tears? Do you curl up in bed? Or do you down that bottle of wine? Before you get sucked into this emotional vortex though, it’s important to understand:

  1. why you feel this way
  2. why it’s a problem for you
  3. and what you can do to get out of it
  What is Scrambled Brain Effect? Scrambled brain happens when you feel confused, flustered, disconnected, anxious and stressed. You can’t respond to simple everyday things the way you want to or know you can.   Why do I feel this way? In times of stress, the hormone cortisol is released into your system. Too much cortisol can damage and kill cells in the hippocampus, which monitors your memories and ordered thought. It also raises blood pressure, you sweat, you get the stomach churning and your senses are on alert. So yeah, stress makes you forget stuff and screw up commitments and hinders how effectively you can do things. (Check out my FB video story here, where I talk about scrambled brain effect, how the body reacts to it and what happened to me when my toddler put himself in danger and by brain scrambled.)   Why can’t I just manage my stress? Well, you can but maybe you’re not heeding the warning signals. Are you so busy running around being ‘busy’ that you rarely take time out to reflect, to reconnect and to rebalance your thoughts and body? If you’re living in a constant state of emotional burden and mental overwhelm, it will start interfering with the simple things you need to do. So if this is your life right now, read on to get my 5 Tips to Combat Scrambled Brain Syndrome     Important Note: If you feel like life is just too much to handle right now and you can’t cope alone, see your Doctor, call a friend or call Lifeline asap. Get the support you need. Please have courage and have faith in yourself. If you feel like you can change your situation yourself, here are 5 things to work on now. These helped me create a sense of freedom in my life and got me out of stressed, scrambled brain syndrome.   What can I do now?
  1. Start saying No! No to things you don’t want to do, people you don’t want to see, projects you have no interest in, commitments which will overwhelm you, events that will overflow your calendar, actions that don’t align with your values. If you can’t say no or change things, then change your attitude towards it.
  2. Nurture your body. The moment I stopped eating so much crap and junk food, my mood elevated immediately (after the initial ‘give me a chocolate or I’ll punch you phase’). Everything you put into your body is impacting it physically and you, mentally and emotionally. Think about the food fuels you put into your body. Also, nurture your body and increase levels of brain-boosting chemicals by getting physical exercise. Whatever you choose, make it fun and just move.
  3. Have a daily time out. Time out means a period of quiet, stillness, no distractions or ‘doing’ things. Even just 5 mins a day, where you can be mindful and observe your surroundings, meditate, pray, breathe deeply, think about the things you’re grateful for or remembering a happy memory, will help you reset.
  4. Express love. Love will shoot happy endorphins through your body. Say thank you to someone you appreciate, send a card or letter, have a cuddle, hold hands, kiss your partner for at least 10 seconds, play with your kids, tell yourself 10 reasons you’re awesome and just create a connection.
  5. Early to bed. It’s during sleep that the brain consolidates memories, grows new cells and it’s when your body can restore itself and rest. Switch off. Don’t sacrifice sleep for alone time, watching TV or folding the laundry.
  Stress and scrambled brain effect may seem like they’re part of your life now but they don’t have to be. Look after yourself, ask for help, give and receive love and compassion, take time out, sleep and nurture your body. It’s time to rebalance your life and get some stability, energy and focus back. Let me know which of the 5 tips you’ll start doing this week.

Alex Ridley


PS: Has family life consumed your time and energy and part of your stress comes from the fact that you don’t even know who you are anymore or what you want? Then grab my FREE guide ‘5 Ways to Rediscover Who You Were (before marriage and kids)’ here [/tm_pb_text][/tm_pb_column][/tm_pb_row][/tm_pb_section]