Building time for you

It’s actually ok for you to go away and get a break from them and you come back refreshed

One of the most important ways of looking after yourself is to try and keep doing things that are important to you. This can be very difficult because:

  • practical barriers can get in the way, like a lack of time or opportunities (especially at the moment);  

  • we feel less able and motivated to take time for ourselves when feeling stressed or experiencing emotional difficulties. 

But something powerful happens if and when you do manage to spend even a little time doing things that:

  • give a moments relaxation;

  • make you laugh / bring you joy;

  • are important to you.

These do not have to be big things. Often doing small, cheap and even free things makes all the difference – even if just sometimes. It might simply be listening to something you enjoy whilst you are doing a task that you have to do e.g. preparing food. ​

 

It might be doing something like a brief relaxation or mindfulness exercise or a bit of time for a hobby or physical exercise. Often it is just about a couple of minutes for you to have (and perhaps even finish!) a hot drink, going for a short walk, watch some TV, read a few pages of a magazine…this is a very personal thing.  ​

 

It’s not easy and there will be times when it is not possible, but trying to find ways to plan time for you is key. 

When it just feels impossible, sometimes I think I will treat myself to …. when this is over

  

usually if I had 2 minutes I’d tidy up and maybe I think I’d get the table ready for dinner and one day, well quite a few, I’ve just gone and I’ve just watched TV I’ve just sat there and I’ve just relaxed and I’ve had a coffee and I have just something that I wanted to do

 

If you are lucky enough to live with another person it can really help to plan breaks for each other. At weekends we try to structure some thing a bit like shifts and make ourselves take the time properly off. The “shifts” are usually 2-3 hours long and we get one each per weekend, it’s nice. As mum I have found it hard to not be on duty in the home, I have to make sure I don't interfere. It has helped with the tiredness, though I have had to practice not feeling guilty.

I normally work long hours including evenings and weekends. Having been placed on furlough, I found myself rushing from job to job trying to fill my time and take some pressure off my wife. I felt as though tasks around the house still needed to be done immediately and ran myself in the ground trying to achieve this.  Now my wife and I take turns teaching the kids, cooking and cleaning and I’ve put all the other non-essential jobs on the back burner. Having some downtime has been hugely beneficial.

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