David and I took Saturday through Wednesday off of work last week. Many asked where we were traveling on vacation and what we had planned for our days away from the office and store, and I think we confused some people when we said we weren’t doing anything.
When we were curled up on the couch talking one night a few weeks ago, we were both feeling burnt out and really needed a break. Just a few days to catch up and de-stress, really. Since opening our retail store about two years ago, we haven’t taken much time off. We haven’t traveled anywhere very far away, mostly because of our budget but also because we haven’t had a lot of consecutive days off. David has odd times off during the week, so there’s rarely an entire day when we’re both free at the same time.
Home projects felt like they were compounding, we were craving some of our favorite restaurants over an hour away and we wanted a mental health day where we could stay in our PJs and veg out on Netflix and video games. So, we did something totally unlike us and carved out a few days for a short vacation.
This wasn’t the usual vacation where we were scrambling to reserve hotel rooms and pack bags and sit in the car all day. You know how after a typical vacation, you always feel like you need a vacation just to relax from being gone? Well, I feel like we skipped right over the traveling part and went straight to the awesome relaxing-at-home part (with no luggage to unpack!).
> > Note: This post got pretty long! If you would rather skip the personal story and get to the good stuff, keep scrolling down to the list of 25 relaxing ways to unwind and destress.
I am normally an extremely productive person. I work really hard at my job, and then come home and work just as hard on this blog, my latest home project or one of many side projects. I give up some of my weekends to help my hubby out at our video game store. I take on the bulk of the bill-paying, cooking and cleaning at home. I can go pretty much non-stop for weeks on end, and those are all things I truly enjoy. It takes quite a while for me to finally run my tank down to empty. And then I tend to crash for a few days and accomplish nothing while I recharge.
Taking a few days off of work with no plan was me giving myself permission to slow down and refuel. It gave me some time to catch my breath and play a little catch-up so I no longer felt quite so behind on everything. Even though I spent about half of the time doing chores and yard work and paperwork, I still had plenty of time to unwind. We went on a few walks, we binge-watched a show, I sat on the living room floor with my coloring book and I took a bubble bath (something I never do). Those five days were incredibly rejuvenating.
By taking a few days off of work just for me, I had made myself a priority. And I think I need to do more of that.
Making Yourself A Priority
We all lead crazy, busy lives. And the one thing that usually falls to the very bottom of the list is ourselves. We have too many other responsibilities, too many other people relying on us to help them. There are simply not enough hours in the day, right?
The personal health days I took last week were very much needed and helped me come back to my other commitments with more focus and energy than I had prior. I realized I need to set aside regular, uninterrupted, completely relaxing “me” time.
I think we all need that time to ourselves, that time to de-stress and escape the overwhelm. I am committing to giving myself 20-30 minutes of “me” time every day. And I encourage you to do the same.
Not only do you need that personal time to refuel, but you deserve it. You do so much for so many people, but don’t forget to do something for yourself. Find one thing you can do for YOU every single day.
You may feel like you just don’t have the time, but I think everyone can find 20 minutes in their day if they try.
You may feel guilty for prioritizing yourself, selfish even. But remember that YOU are your greatest asset, so take care of yourself. Allow yourself that time to relax and recharge. We as women tend to give, give, give to others, and we fail to give to ourselves. When you take that personal time, you’ll come back to the rest of your commitments with greater focus and energy. Me time is essential to your wellbeing.
Schedule Your Me Time
If you are ready to commit to daily me time, your first step is to set aside time for it. Put it on your calendar and tell your family. Maybe your husband would be willing to watch the kids for a bit so you can escape to the back porch with a good book. Or maybe you can wake up a bit before everyone else so you can enjoy your coffee in peace and quiet. Or maybe you can consider your workouts your “me” time.
Whatever you need to do, designate that time. I’ve added mine to my Google Calendar using my weekly time blocking method, so it’s clearly a part of my schedule and I can easily move that block around and adjust as necessary.
Find A Me Time Activity That Relaxes And Recharges You
Now that you’ve given yourself permission to indulge in a bit of daily me time and it’s on your calendar, you’ll need to decide what to actually do with that time by yourself. I know that if I don’t have a plan, I’ll waste this time away checking social media or emails on my phone. Don’t fall into that trap! Checking your phone is not quality time with yourself. In fact, I’m going to turn my phone to airplane mode and leave it in another room during my me time.
What are a couple activities that make you feel alive? What makes you feel happy and re-energized?
Decide on a couple activities that you want to incorporate into your me time so that when the time comes, you have some quality activities in mind that will truly help you unwind.
I brainstormed the following activities as things you may enjoy doing. While this list is certainly not exhaustive, I hope it will spark an idea of something you’d love to do for a few minutes every day:
25 Things You Can Do For Me Time (Even If You Think You’re Too Busy)
- Sip coffee on your back patio
- Walk around the block
- Read a chapter of an amazing fiction book
- Free write in a journal
- Color a page in a coloring book
- Drink a glass of wine in peace and quiet
- Soak in a bubble bath
- Catch up on your favorite blogs with a cup of tea
- Sketch and doodle in a notebook
- Do a short yoga or meditation session
- Work on a puzzle
- Knit in a cozy chair
- Watch the sunrise or sunset
- Go on a solo coffee date and record your thoughts in a notebook
- Have a dance party in the living room
- Take a nap – a real one, under the covers in your bed
- Read the Bible or a devotional
- Make a simple craft
- Give yourself a pedicure
- Go for a leisurely bike ride
- Dust off your instrument and play away
- Go for a drive with no destination in mind
- Write some snail mail to loved ones
- Spend time on your favorite hobby (baking, gardening, decorating, etc.)
If you want to save this list for future reference, be sure to pin it!
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I’m a crazy planner, so my initial instinct is to spend way too long over analyzing my options, making lists of my preferred activities and assigning them to days of the week. But this is supposed to be carefree, relaxing time, so don’t stress out over the details. If you make it into a grand plan, you’re right back to being busy.
I really encourage you to slow down and break the “always busy” cycle our society praises. You deserve to indulge in at least a few minutes of relaxation every day. Remember, you are your most valuable asset. If you want to give your all to everyone else, you need to be at your best. Taking a bit of me time every day is essential to your wellbeing.
How do you unwind and relax? Do you feel like you give yourself enough me time? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!
P.S. You may want to print out a habit tracker to track your daily me time routine. You can download the free habit tracker in this post.