How to find time for yourself in the midst of the busy-busy

Solo mum time for yourself

How do you find time for yourself in the midst of all the busy-busy? It’s all too easy to push time to replenish yourself to the bottom of the pile when you’ve got little humans depending on you.

Especially when there’s only you.

There’s so much pressure on us to constantly be there for our kids. Constantly on. Constantly paying attention.

But as the old saying goes, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’.

Don’t feel guilty for craving time for yourself

I used to feel guilty setting aside time for myself. But now I know it’s essential. If you’ve been watching my Instagram stories you’ll know that one of my ways to do this is to go for a daily walk.

Long walks in the country have literally saved me when I’ve been in a challenging mental state – angry, sad, anxious. Being outside, preferably in green spaces, is like medicine for the soul. I can feel my whole body relax as soon as I’m surrounded by grass, trees and birds singing.

Make you-time part of your daily routine

So now I’ve made it part of my routine. How I fit this in depends on what kind of day it is. On a workday, it’s usually just a 10-minute walk to and from the station. Ideally, I get a least half an hour striding out across the stunning green spaces near our home after the school run.

Recently I also joined a walking group at work so that on one of my days in the office I get outside and away from my desk for an hour.

wereSet yourself challenges

If you find it hard to stick to a daily habit I’ve found that setting myself mini-challenges helps me stay motivated. I read about this in a fantastic book I read recently, Unbound by Nicola Humber.

Nicola suggests reframing discipline as something divine, something that you do in order to serve a higher purpose and in service of being your best self. When you think of it like that it’s far easier to choose habits that truly feed your soul. She suggests choosing a life-affirming habit and trying to stick at it for 30 days.

Solo mum - get time for yourself by journalling

So in June, I challenged myself to write in my journal every day for 30 days. Earlier in the school holidays, I felt horribly lethargic and out of shape so I challenged myself to run every day for a week – 30 days would have been way too ambitious. And just last week I challenged myself to be in bed at 10pm every night.

Two things helped me stick with these challenges:

  • I made both private and public declarations about each of these challenges. Just a Facebook post or Instagram story will help you set the intention and feel like you need to stick to it. When I was running every day I posted the Strava image of my run every day.
  • I knew that each of these challenges were things that help me be my best self. There’s no point trying to do something that isn’t enjoyable on some level or doesn’t give a boost. Whether it’s of esteem, energy or endorphins, there needs to be an upside, for you.

Find time for yourself daily

So are you ready to set yourself a challenge, or simply to make time for yourself every day? Here are a few other ideas that might work for you:

  • get up early and write in a journal – downloading your thoughts and worries onto paper can be hugely therapeutic
  • meditate when you wake up, on the train, while you drink your morning coffee or before bed. I find an app like Headspace or Calm really helpful for this.
  • join a fitness class
  • take an afternoon nap on the weekends. You might have to be OK with leaving your kids in front of Netflix for this one!
  • Look up Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and find five, 10, 15 or even 30 minutes to fit in a super restorative yoga routine. I wish I’d discovered this when E was tiny, I could have been doing yoga while she napped!

What small daily action could bring you back to yourself – and your sanity?!

Tell me in the comments!

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One Comment

  1. This post resonates with me. As a solo parent of two – I’m a widow and a SMC- it’s so important to carve out time for yourself.

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