The Importance of Taking Time for You

Who is the Most Important Person You Know? You Are!

Life can be a juggling act that requires a lot of practice. Everything is vying for your time—job, friends, family, social commitments, etc. The more you add to your plate, the more likely you are to “drop the ball” when it comes to remembering to make time for YOU in the midst of it all.

The Cat in the Hat Syndrome

Whenever I think of time management, I always think of Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat. At one particular point in the book, the cat is showing off his incredible balancing skills:

I can hold up the cup
And the milk and the cake!
I can hold up these books!
And the fish on the rake!
I can hold the toy ship
And a little toy man!
And look! With my tail
I can hold a red fan!
I can fan with the fan
As I hop on the ball!
But that is not all.
Oh, no.
That is not all….
That is what the cat said…
Then he fell on his head!

If this sounds like you, if you are trying to juggle everything while proving to the world that you can do everything, then you have forgotten two very important things. The first is that you are not capable of being everything to everybody. The second is that you will certainly fail if you don’t take time for yourself. And think about it….how can you be there for anyone else if you are on your head?!

Include Yourself in Your Balancing Act

Taking time for you is essential to your health and happiness. You will never be able to keep juggling everything in your life if you put yourself at the bottom of the list. Eventually, you will come crashing down, just like the cat. The better you take care of you, the better you will be able to be there to help someone else as well.

How long has it been since you had any “me time”? If you had to pause for more than a moment or two to come up with the answer, then it has been too long! In an ideal world, everyone would have at least one hour per day to themselves. However, in the real world, any amount of time is better than no time!

Here are a few tips to help make time for yourself more likely to happen:

  1. Keep a diary of your daily activities and then evaluate what you do, when you do it, and how long it takes. You may be surprised to find ways to consolidate your activities so that “me time” is available.
  2. Create a “space” in your home that is just for you and just for relaxation. In this “me space” you may not bring in work or worries. This is your space for reading, listening to music, meditating, yoga, or other relaxing activities.
  3. Learn to say NO! Remember, you can’t be all things to all people. Give yourself permission to say no to someone else as a way to be able to also say “yes” to yourself.

Want Some “Me Time” But Don’t Know What To Do?

If you are struggling with “me time” ideas, here are a few things to get you started:

  • Go for a quiet walk. Or a jog, if that is more your style
  • Soak in the tub
  • Read a good book. If you don’t have time for the whole book, try reading one chapter every day. Or even listen to a book on tape while driving in your car
  • Chat with a friend
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Meditate
  • Take a yoga class
  • Paint, draw, journal, explore your creativity

This is just a partial list. The point is to find something you enjoy and make time to do it.

In the midst of balancing your cake and books and fans while bouncing on a ball, be sure that you remember to find time for yourself. You are, after all, the most important person you know.

Kimberly Krueger, MSW, LCSW is a therapist and the founder and director of Southlake Counseling and The Center for Self Discovery in Davidson, NC. Kimberly may be reached at kkrueger@centerforselfdiscovey.com. This article may be used but original content must be kept in tact and full credit must be given to author, including contact information.

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