As an ambitious career woman and caring Mama/Wife/Partner/Friend, it is very easy to cancel time for yourself to ensure others are taken care of first.
While this may appear honourable at first, the glitch in the system occurs when you forget to reschedule your ‘me-time’, instead deciding you’ll just leave it for another day, when you have more spare time, less to do or the kids aren’t so busy, only to keep putting it off until you’ve reached boiling point and you’ve been awarded Queen B*^h…again! Sound familiar?
Women (including me I will admit) don’t forget about finding their all-important me-time per se, but we’ve come to think of seeking solitude as selfish, so we don’t actively create time out for ourselves at all.
But why, I hear you asking, is finding solitude still important when you have 20 minutes alone in the car before and after the school run or you spend several hours at home working in your small business?
Yes, you may be physically alone in the car after the kids go to school, but you use your energy thinking about what’s next, what you have to do today, meetings, chores etc… etc…
You don’t switch off, relax, recharge or refresh and – not surprisingly – are exhausted when you collect the kids again at the end of the day.
Now add on top of that, your weekend demands, cooking, cleaning, organising, helping with homework, spending time with Hubby, seeing friends and family or catching up on the tribe online.
When do you stop to spend time alone (mentally and physically) to focus on how you feel and what you need?
How are you expected to restore your energy levels and be there for others if the one person who needs you the most is being ignored?
To help move you from needing permission for solitude to planning it without hesitation, here are four Woman Rising strategies to maximise your self-care and find comfort in solitude.
1. Develop A Self-Care Tool Kit
Whether it’s journalling, meditation, walking, swimming, listening to music, going to the farmers markets or standing barefoot on the grass in the backyard – understand what it is you need in your self-care tool kit that restores your energy and helps you connect with what’s really going underneath the surface. Then you’re more likely to dip in to your bag of tricks at short notice because you know what works.
Harnessing and protecting your energy first via an activity done in solitude, enables you to help others, stimulates creativity and kicks your positive vibes in to over drive.
2. Step Back
Ask yourself, ‘Am I the only one available that can help right now?’ In other words, is it your responsibility to be the fixer in every situation that arises? Probably not. Perhaps it’s time to let go and allow someone else to step in, or figure it out for themselves.
3. Understand Self-Care Never Ends
Self-care isn’t something you should do once-in-a-while when you’re stressed and exhausted, it should be a daily practice to ensure your energy levels don’t falter.
Now, I’m not suggesting you have to be smiley, positive Sally every day, but to take stock of how much energy you’re giving everyone else and what is left over in reserve for yourself to avoid negativity, anger or resentment to build up over time.
Doubt you can find time everyday for a little solitude? Schedule it in your day and communicate your expectations with others. Because, let’s face it, if no-one else knows your intentions, you are more likely to cancel on yourself.
Start with as little as five minutes per day and build up to 30 minutes. Once it becomes a habit, you’re less likely to find excuses not to do it.
4. Focus On The Here & Now
Yes, you have ambitions and you’re working your tail off trying to achieve goals at home and at work, but are you taking notice of where you are now, or are you too busy focused on what you’re yet to accomplish?
It’s time to train your brain to focus on what you’re doing and what you’ve got in the here and now in order to appreciate the moment you have.
When you are mentally and physically present, you learn how to appreciate the moment more, while understanding that you’re taking the steps required to accomplish what it is you desire.
Success in life comes from your attitude. If you’re happy with this moment and the knowledge you’re taking one day at a time, success (however you define it) will naturally follow.
Need more tips on self-care? Read our article on 30 ways to add more self-care to your daily routine or check out Woman Rising’s Rise and Shine DIY program for 31 days of guided self-care to help you shift from struggle to strength.
How do you like to spend your time in solitude and how has self-care made a difference to your work/life balance? Leave a comment below and share your wisdom or queries with us.