Whenever I ask a friend how they have been the normal answer is busy. I feel like this has become a very common theme for our generation as we try and juggle a full time job with a side hustle and busy social life. I have certainly been one of those people for the first four months of 2017 and I’ve failed miserably at looking after myself while being busy. Rebecca from Runaway Kiwi wrote a great post about the balance between hustle and self-care which had me thinking about the things I’ve failed to do in order to look after myself, while busy this year.
As Hannah Gale has written many times particularly in this post and this post, looking after ourselves is so important when we are busy. We need to listen to our bodies and look after our minds, however, that is normally harder to when we are busy. Now that my life is slowing down a little and I’m less busy, I’ve had time to reflect on the things I didn’t do enough of during those busy months. I’m hoping by sharing this list of things I can help you to keep on top of self-care while being busy.
Five Things Every Busy Person Should Make Time For
Getting the right amount of sleep
I say getting the ‘right’ amount of sleep because some people need nine hours while other people only need seven hours. Whatever the magic number is for you make sure you plan your day so that you can be in bed ready to sleep 15 minutes before necessary. It might be that your wake up time cannot change in which case you’ll need to go to bed earlier or visa versa. As long as you can find a way to make it work for you then you won’t wake up feeling like you need a pint of coffee before you can begin functioning.
There are other small things you can do to help with this like: drinking sleepy tea to help relax in the evening or getting everything ready the night before so that you can have an extra 15 minutes in bed in the morning. Just make sure you don’t skimp on sleep, that’s probably the most important one on this list.
Eating three healthy meals a day
Having the right food is really important not only for staying healthy but for energy levels, headaches etc. Cooking meals that make you feel bloated and lethargic isn’t going to give you the energy and brain power you need to keep up with your busy lifestyle nor is skipping meals. Instead you need to ensure you are eating at least three healthy meals a day to give you the energy and brain power you need. Of course I’m not saying don’t steer clear of comfort food because everyone needs that once in a while, just make sure your diet is balanced. To be successful at this you may need to do some prior meal planning and get some things ready at the weekend.
When you are tired and have so much work to do it is hard to make time for exercise. However, when I did make time for exercise I was more creative and productive even coming up with ideas while running. Finding the time and being motivated is hard for this one but signing up for classes or having a exercise buddy can really help you to stick to your exercise goals. By planning out each week the days you’ll exercise, it will help you to plan your work load around these commitments and set your mind up mentally for the session. Of course there will be times when you just can’t face exercise but don’t start falling into that trap or you’ll end up not exercising at all.
Spending time on hobbies
When you are busy and your work load is more than your brain will let you cope with it is easy to forget what your hobbies are, let alone make time for them. Therefore, it is essential to build in time to your schedule to do something for yourself. During my super busy months of the year I genuinely needed a list of my hobbies and a reminder to make time for them. I’d try and have an evening or two where I’d finish working a bit earlier in order to spend time reading and then at the weekend I’d devote more of my time to hobbies. If you are working on a side hustle that is also a hobby then this might not be as tricky but be sure to make time for all of your hobbies not just one.
Being able to completely switch off
Do not underestimate the power of switching off. I am probably the worst person for doing this, I think constantly about the things I have going on even when I should be having down time. Then I feel guilty for having down time and don’t relax. Make sure you make time each week to completely switch off, whether that is having a bath, watching a TV show or reading. Just make sure you have something you can do that will allow you to switch off from all your busyness and relax. Trust me, the time away will make you more productive and fresh when you come back to it.
Getting the work life balance is hard and it is certainly something I will be working on during my next ‘busy period’.
What would you add to this list?