Put yourself first — make the time!

January 7, 2023

Do you ever feel like you have too much to do with a ton of responsibilities? Like you have a zillion things on your plate? It might be school, working, family, girlfriend, or boyfriend — regardless, sometimes you get a bit overwhelmed.

Yes, balancing life can be incredibly hard. And that balance shifts over time; sometimes you’re more in balance, sometimes less. There is nothing wrong with that, as you will work through it as best as possible. A limited amount of hours are in the day and week, and there’s often more to get done than you can reasonably fit within those limits. Part of balance becomes figuring out what to sacrifice versus prioritize. Time is NOT something you have; you prioritize it. Decide for yourself what’s important to you.

We work hard and give our all to be there for the people we love and those who depend on us. And we do that willingly. But if we beat ourselves until our breaking point, we can no longer do all that effectively. Look after yourself, not because you’re selfish, but because you care and know you’ll do an even better job if your own needs can also be met, even if only in some small way.

I personally need 29 hours in a day – and even then, I probably still wouldn’t have enough time to finish everything I want to do. Sometimes I just need some time for myself. And this is something that I think ALL men need as well. We are trying to be happier and healthier, and taking time for ourselves is part of that equation.

It’s wise to dedicate about an hour a week to yourself – calm down, stop, and relax. As men, we get so bogged down and focused on responsibilities that we rarely take time to breathe. Taking time for myself is something that I am always working on because I have to force myself to do it. I have to actually schedule when I am taking time for myself in my week because if not, I’ll work all the time.

Maybe your ‘me time’ happens on a macro scale (something weekly or monthly— what do you have to negotiate or give up to make that happen?) or a micro scale (even 10-15 minutes each day to learn something, review some thinking, journal, etc… it adds up over time.)

Now, I know you are saying you don’t have any time free – that you’re busy AF. Here’s how you can carve out some time for yourself, even an hour a week. And remember, you don’t have to do everything every day (except eat right and exercise). You do some of the things, some of the days. Nobody has the time for all of it, all the time. You prioritize. Think of all of it as being on a rotisserie. You pluck individual sections off selectively when needed. The tricky thing is being mindful of what you need at the moment and keeping it all going at a regular pace.

If you seek, you shall find the time because your success depends on it. If you put yourself first, everything else will fall into place because being mentally healthy will boost your ability to accomplish everything else in your life. Figure out the most important thing you want to do, and spend what little free time you have planning how to get that time. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

Schedule and prioritize your free time on a calendar, as I do, so you’ll be less likely to cancel on yourself. Put in times for everything so you can see where your time is spent, like tracking your money in a bank account. Then, wake up an hour before you typically would by going to bed earlier and waking earlier for distraction-free mornings. You’ll feel rejuvenated, which will help you be more productive since you took care of el numero uno. I love my morning time!

Don’t feel bad about taking ‘me’ time. It’s not selfish – it’s a NECESSITY. As I have mentioned countless times before: it’s okay to say ‘no.’ Don’t fear conflict or disappointing others; you need time to recharge. And bottom line, stop trying to control everything and just let go. Bidding farewell to that uneasiness will help you find more free time for yourself.

Find your happy spot, a place that is peaceful for your soul. I have this water fountain in Marietta that makes me happy. Spending some time there once a week is soothing, dedicating the occasion just for me. I don’t work, but I may journal. And I definitely leave my phone behind. It’s a time to decompress and not worry about other responsibilities other than me.

Finding a new hobby also is a great way to spend some ‘me time.’ It’s never too late to pick up something new or try something you’ve wanted to try – perhaps golf, a musical instrument, painting, or pickleball. A hobby can be fun, freeing, and something to let your mind wander away from the stresses of everyday life. You don’t have to worry about your family, money, or whatever else may be troubling you. I love perusing art festivals and antique shops.

Stress will kill you; you need time in your week just for yourself without an agenda. Sometimes you must slow down – life will be there after you’ve had time. If you think something is important, you’ll find a way — and if not, you’ll find an excuse. Take that time and unwind. Grab your ‘me time’ and run with it!

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