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
- 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 work day or 45 minutes in the evening to get some exercise in.
- 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.
- Post it: It doesn’t have to be rocket science. 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!”
- 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 wakeup call needed to start working in some much-needed “you time.”
- 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, start meditating, go golfing once a month, and go on a date night once a week.
- 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.
Swedish Express Care clinics, Express Care Virtual, and the Circle by Swedish app are tailor-made to meet the health needs of busy families. These in-person and virtual resources make it easy for you to see providers and find answers to your health questions. You can also book an appointment online at Swedish Primary Care.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.