Setting time for you


I am so grateful you decided to come over and are taking the time to read this post on setting time for you. I am excited to share this post with you because it’s all about how to incorporate mindfulness into your life.

On my food page, I wrote a recipe for polenta fries. This recipe requires 30 minutes of “setting” time in the refrigerator for the the polenta to become hard enough to cut into fry-like shape. Which brought me to this post because just like polenta needs time to set to become beautiful golden fries, you also need time to “set” to become the best possible you.

What I mean by that is this: you most likely lead a very busy life: you juggle a job, and maybe even 2 or 3 jobs; you take care of your children, a spouse, an elderly parent or your in-laws, maybe you foster animals; you take care of your home, do the laundry, dishes, meal prep and lunches for the next day; you try to keep everybody fed and clothes and clean and functioning. Everything you are, everything you have, everything you do, you give freely to everyone around you.

But what about you? When do you have time for you? Where is your “setting” time?

Taking time for yourself is not selfish. Needing to recharge your batteries is not egocentric. Allowing  yourself to slow down to love yourself, is not narcissism. It’s a necessity. I’ll actually go further and say it’s your duty. It’s your duty to yourself and to the world, to take care of yourself. You owe it to yourself and to the world, to be the best you possible and you can only achieve this if you allow yourself to see yourself as important enough.

Important enough to take the time to “set”.

I’m willing to bet, if your child needed you, your pet needed you, your co-worker needed you, someone else you love needed you, you would make yourself available, you would take the time for them. But what about making yourself available for yourself? You too, need yourself. You too, needs “you” to be there.

You’re probably reading this and wondering how do you do that, how do you show up for yourself on a daily basis with everything else you have on your plate. Well let me share with you how I got started: I woke up 30 minutes earlier in the morning. Easy said, not easily done. That meant waking up at 5am. Yes, you read that correctly, 5am. Now this may seem a bit excessive for some, you may think you could never ever in the world, wake up that early, but here’s the thing: I knew I needed to find time for myself (I was at a crossroad) and waking up earlier was literally the only time I could “find” that wasn’t filled with family or work obligations.

Let me tell you, the first few weeks were brutally hard and often times I questioned why I was doing all of this. But here’s what started happening simultaneously: I felt myself more patient throughout the day, I felt more energized, even though I slept 30 minutes less, I felt more grounded, I felt more me

And what did I do during those 30 extra minutes in the morning: I did whatever I wanted to do. Some days I sat in silence and looked at my vision board (more on that topic in a later post), some days I went for a walk, other days I rolled out my mat for a short yoga practice, other days I simply wanted to take a long, hot shower or bath. Whatever it was I was doing, it was time for me. It was my “setting” time that prepared me for the day. And eventually, it made all the difference in the world.

But here’s the thing: you need to keep doing it. Too often, when we get into the habit of doing something that makes us feel good, we think we can get away with doing it less often yet still reap the same benefits. Kind of like when you’re on a weight loss journey and you’ve finally reached your goal weight. You feel like you can “allow” yourself a few extra treats here and there, because you made it to your goal. Well just like if you eat too many treats, your weight is going to climb back up, if you stop taking the time to care for yourself, you’ll stop feeling those amazing feelings of well being.

So you need to find a moment in your day that suits your schedule. A time that, no matter what, you’ll always be able to keep for yourself. Have I needed to adjust because of unforeseen events? Yes, absolutely. There are times when I needed to wake up early for work or because my child was sick or a plethora of other reasons life threw at me but I always, always, remembered to take time for myself because I knew that was the only way I could continue giving so much of myself to others that needed me.

So what did I do: well, I adjusted. I would wake up even earlier, at 4:30am, or I would close my office door during lunch time and sit at my desk with my earphones on, listening to a meditation session on YouTube, or I waited until everyone was asleep, and I’d take a long warm bath. However I needed to adjust, I did.

I know this may be difficult for some of you at first. Taking time for ourselves is not as easy as it sounds. So I suggest you put it in your calendar, until it becomes a habit. Make it an appointment with yourself. Just like you wouldn’t miss your doctor’s or dentist’s appointment, don’t allow yourself to miss this appointment with you.

Once you’ve set your calendar reminder or alarm for your “setting” time, make a list of activities you enjoy doing for yourself. Try to make this list about you. As much fun as watching the Real Housewives of wherever is, try to focus this time on something that will generate a sense of peace and repose for you. Refer to this list of activities whenever you feel yourself slipping and finding excuses for not taking the time you need.

As you start taking more and more time for yourself, take note of how you feel. You can even start a journal (that’s what I did) and write down how you feel when you take that “setting” time for yourself. As the days go by, you’ll notice subtle changes that mount to an unbelievable sense of well being…

And don’t forget, you are important, you are a priority, you need you.

Leave me a comment and let me know how you’ve implemented your “setting” time in your daily routine and what changes you’ve noticed.

Love always,