Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take
between two deep breaths. – Etty Hillesum

We all have busy lives, and there are days when it feels like we’ll never get everything done. For most people, the first thing to fall by the wayside during busy times is time for yourself. I’ve never met a cat who says”I’m too busy to take a moment to stretch in the sun.” Why can’t we be more cat like when it comes to taking care of ourselves?

The following ten tips can help you carve out some time for yourself even when the world is screaming for your attentionime. I offer this thought to you: you can’t afford not to take the time. Your sanity, and your health, may depend on it.

  1. Say no to anything that’s not important. I’ve always liked Steven Covey’s system of sorting items on your to do list into urgent, important, not urgent, and not important categories. Surprisingly, it’s the items in the “important but not urgent” quadrant, not the things that are “urgent and important,” that should receive your greatest attention. For example, daily playtime with your cats is important but not urgent. Feeding your cats, however, is important and urgent! For a more detailed (and less cat-centric) explanation of Covey’s important/urgent matrix, visit Practice This or go straight to the source and read Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  2. Ask for help. Frequently, people who are constantly busy are actually admired by others, because they appear to be so efficient and get so much done. Our society does seem to value busyness, and some people seem to consider it a badge of honor – a very warped view, in my opinion. Admit that you can’t do it all by yourself. You may be surprised at the response you get. Most people love to help others.
  3. Meditate. Even a five minute mini meditation at the beginning of your day can set the tone for a less stressful day. Better yet, take a few mini-meditation breaks during the day.
  4. Write things down. When you’re busy, your mind is usually working overtime. Writing things down anchors them somewhere other than in your mind, which will help you remain calmer.
  5. Set limits for yourself and stick with them. Allot times to specific tasks, and stop after your allotted time is up. There are so many things in life that will never be completely “done.” Celebrate your progress, and don’t beat yourself up over what isn’t finished yet.
  6. Reward yourself. Give yourself small rewards for tasks you’ve accomplished. Whether it’s a piece of chocolate (just don’t go overboard with this), or a walk around the block, even small rewards can serve as small motivators.
  7. Unplug. Cut back on your online activities (just don’t cut back on reading this blog!). Turn off your cell phone, even just for a few hours.
  8. Make time for exercise. Even though exercise probably seems like just one more item on your overflowing to do list, this is one activity you want to make a priority.
  9. Breathe! Take deep, cleansing breaths whenever you feel yourself getting overwhelmed.
  10. Spend time with your cats, and learn from them. Just being in their presence will remind you that the things that really matter in life are right there in front of you, curled up on that cozy pillow, or sleeping in that sun puddle on the floor.

Do you have any tips for making time for yourself even when life is stressful? Share them in a comment.

11 Comments on Sunday Purrs: Take Time For Yourself

  1. I think this a very timely post. I can and do identify with it. I think #2 is the one I really need to learn to do. Perhaps I would have less tears to shed.

  2. Thanks for these great tips on how to take for yourself. I especially liked the Etty Hillesum quote. As you probably know she wrote an excellent memoir of her survival during the Holocaust called An Interrupted Life. I have the utmost respect for these survivors as I have studied this period of History most of my life. I wonder if she has owned cats?

  3. Thank you for these important reminders!!! I just did #2….believe it or not…my husband wrote a book review for Dakota’s blog that will be appearing tomorrow. I was just too burnt out and he was more interested in the premise of the book than I was 🙂 I have NEVER done that before, this will be a first!

    Since the onset of the New Year I have been instituting “unplugging” nearly every night! Some nights as early as 7pm and believe me it is helping!

    One I STILL have to work on is “making time for exercise” Oh how I need it but I haven’t started. I was exercising regularly til my kidney stone woes last summer and it has fallen by the wayside since. I MUST start again!

    • I love that you asked your husband for help with the review, Caren! I started unplugging earlier in the evenings, too, and it’s making a big difference for me, too.

      • thank you Ingrid! I do foresee two problems with my having asked him:

        1) People will like HIS reviews better because he is much more brilliant than I am (wink)

        2) They will start to think HE has written my reviews and he NEVER HAS…he never will on Cat chat there are no worries about that. But…on Dakota’s blog I just may put him to work more 🙂

        Glad you are “unplugging” too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *