6 ways to make time for yourself when you have no time

middle-aged woman enjoying her morning coffee by the window


In this article:

  • Even in today’s busy world, it’s critical to make time for yourself.

  • There is scientific evidence that chronic stress can affect your health.

  • Visit a Swedish clinician if you are having trouble coping with stress.

It’s something today’s adults seem to share universally — a lack of time to do it all. Between the craziness of the holidays, school, work, kids, grocery shopping, marriage and a semblance of a social life, how is an ordinary person expected to pursue the little and big dreams that got lost along the way of everyday life? How are people supposed to enjoy the moments of silence with a quiet cup of coffee before the day begins?

The time-honored answer is: They must make the time.

If that recommendation sounds easy to say but hard to do — hold on. We are going to tell you how to make the time and why it’s beneficial to your overall health.

Why should you make time for yourself?

Because it’s scientifically proven to improve your health. For example, taking time to exercise improves mental health by “reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function,” in addition to the physical benefits like improving heart health. And there is evidence that chronic stress can make people more vulnerable to developing mental health problems such as anxiety and mood disorders.  

So how can you ensure good physical and mental health through “you time?” It all starts with balance. Try these tips to help you make time.

Six easy ways to help you make time in your busy schedule

So how can you ensure good physical and mental health through “you time”? It all starts with balance. Try these tips to help you make time.

  1. Calendar invite: Raise your hand if you’re a fellow calendar nerd. Many people live by their calendars, so if scheduling “you time” is what it takes to make it happen, then go for it. Block 20 minutes of time in the morning to disconnect from your devices before a busy workday or 45 minutes in the evening to get some exercise in.
  2. Delegate: It’s completely normal to take responsibility for it all, but it’s not necessarily the healthiest or most effective use of your time. Take a look at your to-do list and identify action items that could easily be delegated to someone else, whether that’s a colleague, partner or even one of your children.
  3. Post it: Leave sticky notes around your house or office to remind you to take the “you time” you need. Put them on the bathroom mirror, your computer desktop or the refrigerator. Write a simple message along the lines of “Don’t forget to make time for you today!”
  4. Work to live, don’t live to work: It’s wonderful to identify strongly with your career, and you should! It’s important to love what you do. But it’s equally important to recognize the end game. You work to live a better, happier life. Sometimes this little reminder is just the wake-up call needed to start working in some much-needed “you time.”
  5. Set real goals: Identify some clear, defined, realistic goals that will make you feel good about yourself. Some examples might be reading a good book, getting back to the gym three times a week, meditating, golfing once a month and going on a date night once a week.
  6. Health comes first: Sometimes, it seems like putting your health on the backburner is the only option, but you need to be diligent about preventive care — for example, having regular checkups and getting your flu shot at the start of every flu season.

Find a doctor

If you have questions about coping with stress, contact Behavioral Health and Wellbeing at Swedish. We can accommodate both in-person and virtual visits.

Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory.

Join our Patient and Family Advisory Council.

Additional resources 

Don’t let working from home wear you down

10 natural remedies for anxiety that really work

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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About the Author

Our philosophy for well being is looking at the holistic human experience. As such, the Swedish Wellness & Lifestyle Team is committed to shining a light on health-related topics that help you live your healthiest life. From nutrition to mindfulness to annual screenings, our team offers clinically-backed advice and tips to help you and your loved ones live life to the fullest.

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